Telecoms carriers ask for lifting of restrictions on fees

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Jan 09, 2013 - Page 4

Telecoms carriers yesterday asked the National Communications Commission (NCC) to completely lift restrictions on telecoms service fees and redefine the meaning of a “price leader” in the market.

The commission announced last year that it would continue to cap the primary tariffs of telecoms carriers offering local and long-distance network services, including monthly fees for leased local network circuits for digital subscriber line services, as well as other services. The price cap will be carried out over four consecutive years, with an adjustment coefficient of 5.1749 percent.

The commission will not regulate communication charges for mobile service networks, but will regulate mobile service networks’ monthly rental fees, as well as charges for prepaid systems.

Firms deemed market “price leaders,” namely Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan Mobile and Far EasTone Telecommunications, must submit their rates for services for which price caps are still applicable before April 1, when the policy is scheduled to take effect.

A price leader is defined as a company with more than 25 percent of the market share.

The commission also decided to gradually lower access fees among different carriers from the current NT$2.15 a minute to NT$1.84 a minute this year, NT$1.57 a minute next year, NT$1.34 a minute in 2015 and NT$1.15 a minute in 2016.

At a public hearing held by the commission yesterday, telecoms providers welcomed the gradual lowering of the intermediate cost, saying the commission should completely deregulate price leaders’ telecoms service charges and let the market decide fees.

They also said the commission should consider redefining “price leader,” raising the percentage of market share necessary to qualify as such to 40 or 50 percent.

The commission said that 75 percent of the telecoms service market is owned by the nation’s three main carriers and that it needed to regulate service rates offered by them, it said.