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Operators Divided on Roaming-Fee Reduction Issue

Sina Tech, 1/24/08

An informed source has disclosed that during the recently held hearings to reduce mobile roaming charges, China Mobile (NYSE: CHL; 0941.HK) showed support for the proposed reductions while China Unicom (NYSE: CHU; 0762.HK; 600050.SH) was clearly in disagreement.

China Unicom's assistant general marketing manager and representative at the hearings, Ding Ming, stated that the operator has a high debt-to-asset ratio and, at the same time, limited means to earn profits. Accordingly, if a large reduction were made in roaming fees, it would only create a further imbalance in the company's ability to compete with other operators. He recommended that roaming charges be adjusted gradually. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and China's three fixed-line operators also made it clear that reducing roaming charges would have a major effect on fixed network operators. Chen Bingli, director of the Bureau of Performance Assessment under the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), added that the less roaming charges are reduced, the better.

Keywords: Ding Ming Chen Bingli policy Bureau of Performance Assessment 0762.HK 0941.HK 600050.SH China Mobile China Unicom CHL CHU NDRC reduction roaming SASAC wireless

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