China launches crackdown against illegal mobile fees

Staff Writer
07 Jun 2006


(SinoCast via NewsEdge) Chinese telecom regulators have kicked off a nationwide campaign to wipe out illegal charges for mobile phone services in response to a growing wave of consumer complaints, the Ministry of Information Industry said.

Regulators ordered the nation's telecom carriers, including China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, to eliminate all illegal charges on their systems in the coming six months.

Complaints by mobile phone users rose 13% last year because of fees charged for text-message services they either didn't want or hadn't realized they were using, according to an earlier report by the China Consumer Association.

In the first quarter, the MII investigated 541 content providers and stopped 89 services, the report said.

The agency said some users were charged after sending a reply to a text message from an unknown number.

Among the other scams were messages saying, 'I am going to leave Shanghai tonight. Do you still remember me‾ Please call me immediately.'

Phone users who took the bait were charged when they called the number, and the fees were split between the third-party service provider and the telecom carriers, the MII said.

Under the new campaign, carriers are required to disclose charges for services such as downloading ring tones and songs.

In addition, the operators were ordered to check their add- on service partners in the next two months and report illegal activities to authorities by August. In the second phase of the campaign, the MII will send out special teams nationwide to supervise the enforcement of the rules.

c 2006 SinoCast

c 2006 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

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