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IT watchdog promises lower Internet rates
Time:2015-5-5 8:15:17             Back 

China''s IT industry watchdog on Wednesday pledged to offer lower Internet service fees and faster Internet access, a day after Premier Li Keqiang''s call for lower cellphone data plan fees.

Currently, one gigabyte of mobile data in China costs from 50 yuan ($8.07) to 100 yuan per month. An online survey conducted by news portal sina.com.cn on Wednesday showed that 85 percent of over 124,000 respondents blamed the monopoly of Chinese telecommunication operators for the slow speed at high rates.

According to the survey, 50 yuan was the rate 75 percent of them support. Meanwhile, 66.5 percent of those surveyed believe the Internet speed is slow.

China''s telecommunication market is dominated by China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom.

"Only China Telecom and China Unicom have been officially licensed to provide an Internet backbone while all three offer wireless Internet service. More competitors should be allowed into the market," Kan Kaili, a professor at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, told the Global Times.

Xiang Ligang, a telecom expert and CEO of industry information portal cctime.com, admitted that China Mobile, which enjoys a 25 percent profit, can charge lower fees. In comparison, the other two operators had profits below 10 percent - a similar rate for their foreign counterparts.

China Mobile''s revenues reached 109.3 billion yuan in 2014 while China Telecom and China Unicom earned 17.9 billion yuan and 12.1 billion yuan, respectively, the Beijing Morning Post reported on March 20.

Xiang added that high Internet fees in major cities are also a result of shared telecommunication infrastructure costs - funded only by the operators - with less-developed regions with fewer users.

The three operators said they have no new discount packages yet, The Mirror reported.

Premier Li also urged a deeper look into reducing Internet service rates, suggesting "making more deals by gaining less profit for each." He said "it is because the rates are too high that many people seek Wi-Fi service at public venues."

"Both central and local authorities should share the responsibility with operators to invest in telecommunication infrastructure and technology, which currently suffer from inadequate support," Xiang said.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology urged telecommunication operators to increase investments in Internet infrastructure, The Beijing News reported.

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