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Unicom offers more 3G freebies

2009-06-03 13:39 BJT

China Unicom will scrap roaming fees and additional charges on long distance calls in its 3G pricing offer, a move that analysts said was likely to trigger a new round of price wars in the industry.

A China Unicom staffer gives 3G services details to a customer in Shandong province.[Wang Hui] 
A China Unicom staffer gives 3G services details to a customer
in Shandong province.[Wang Hui]

The country's second biggest mobile operator will also give customers a 50 percent discount on its 3G services price until the end of August before it expands the network to 229 cities.

Under the new pricing scheme, China Unicom's 3G users will not be charged for incoming calls irrespective of where they might be, the company said.

The move effectively means that China Unicom will only have one set of fees for all of its voice call business in its 3G service. It will be the first among the three telecom carriers to do so.

The latest move, analysts said, was likely to force the other two operators China Mobile and China Telecom, to adjust their pricing for their newly launched 3G services, especially their voice communication pricing.

"The room for local fee reduction is quite limited as its level has already been very low, but there is still some sort of space in terms of the roaming fees and long distance fee charges," said Wang Jinjin, head of Asian telecom research at Swiss bank UBS.

China Unicom's move is also seen as a response to widespread customer complaint about the high 3G prices charged by the three telecom carriers.