Sat, Dec 17, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Chunghwa Telecom chastised over fee plan announcement

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

The National Communications Commission (NCC) said it needed to approve a plan by Chunghwa Telecom to reduce ADSL service fees before the operator could implement the policy.

“We are puzzled and dissatisfied by Chunghwa’s unilateral announcement, made without having secured the council’s approval first,” commission spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said. “Chunghwa must follow administrative procedures.”

It is not the first time Chunghwa has run foul of the regulator for unveiling a promotional plan without first securing approval. Earlier this year, the carrier said it would reduce monthly fees for its 50M/3M ADSL package from NT$1,700 to NT$1,199.

However, customers were obligated to sign a one-year contract for the service.

The commission approved the plan after several weeks of review, and Chunghwa was not punished for violating the regulations.

This time, Chunghwa plans a bigger cut in ADSL service fees of an average of 20 percent. An estimated 2.1 million subscribers are expected to benefit from the plan, with monthly fees seeing reductions of between NT$56 and NT$176 per connection.

Some have interpreted the announcement as a reaction to the debate among the presidential candidates two weeks ago, when all three aspirants promised to either speed up the infrastructure needed to provide faster Internet services or to offer more reasonable rates to customers.

Article 9 of the Administrative Regulations Governing Tariffs of Type I Telecommunications Enterprises (第一類電信事業資費管理辦法) states that telecoms carriers can announce price adjustments and promotional schemes only after receiving approval from the administrative authorities.

While the commission welcomed any plan that benefits customers, Chen said the plan could not be considered final until the commission had given its approval.

“Some NCC commissioners may think the company should offer bigger discounts, so the details of the plan may be subject to change,” Chen said.

Wu Ming-ren (吳銘仁), a specialist at the commission, said it could only issue “administrative guidance” to Chunghwa because it cannot implement penalties to telecoms carriers violating Article 9 of the administrative regulations.

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