Starting on March 1, people using public telephones to make long-distance calls will be charged NT$1 per minute, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said yesterday.
Currently, payphone users are charged NT$1 per 20 seconds if they make long-distance calls during regular hours and are charged NT$1 per 35 seconds if they call during off-peak hours.
The new scheme, which was approved by the commission yesterday, will charge payphone users NT$1 per minute, regardless of whether they are long-distance or intralocality calls. However, people calling from payphones to mobile phones will still be charged NT$10 per minute.
The commission yesterday also passed an amendment to Article 5 of the Regulations for Administration on Satellite Communication Services (衛星通信業務管理規則), allowing the nation’s telecoms carriers to offer satellite communication services on behalf of foreign operators.
Commission spokesperson Chen Jeng-chang (陳正倉) said the amendment was proposed by the mother of Chang Po-wei (張博崴), a student who died last year while climbing Baigudashan (白姑大山). Chang used his mobile phone to contact his girlfriend on Feb. 28 last year. While police and firefighters launched a rescue operation on March 1, Chang’s body was not found until April 20.
Cheng Ming-tsung (鄭明宗), chief of the commission’s satellite communication section, said: “If mountain climbers have satellite phones, rescue teams could locate them faster.”
Cheng added that customers could rent satellite phones from telecoms carriers.