NDRC set to rule on broadband antitrust probe

Fiona Chau
21 Feb 2014
Daily News

China’s anti-monopoly regulator said it is evaluating an anti-monopoly case against China Telecom and China Unicom and will make a ruling soon.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has been investigating the suspected monopoly of China Telecom and Unicom in the fixed broadband market for last two years.

The regulator is assessing whether the two telcos had completely fulfilled their promises to resolve the problems and whether their measures had eliminated the questionable practices, Xu Kunlin, head of the NDRC’s bureau of price supervision and anti-monopoly, said at a media briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.

The NDRC launched the probe in 2011 and found the two operators, which together account for 90% of China’s broadband market – failed to fully integrate their networks, causing a lack of competition, increased access costs and slow internet for customers.

At the end of 2011, China Telecom and Unicom asked the regulator to end the investigation, promising to take numerous measures to mend the problems, integrate their networks, stop price discrimination against ISPs, raise broadband speeds, and lower broadband costs.

At the turn of the year, both companies submitted reports to the NDRC on their solutions to the problems, Xu said.

The two operators have made significant improvement in network integration, as well as extended the direct-link bandwidth of their backbone networks, increased broadband speeds and lowered prices, Xu added.

The average broadband speed for China Telecom customers has increased to more than 6Mbps, while Unicom users’ has risen to more than 5.1Mbps, according to the NDRC. Interconnection fee has been reduced from 110 yuan per month to 80 yuan per month.

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