Study finds most prefer flat rate for local calls
A consultation paper commissioned by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority has found most respondents want flat-rate charges for local telephone calls to remain.
Secretary for Economic Services Stephen Ip Shu-kwan said most of the respondents cited in the paper were in favour of keeping the flat-rate mechanism intact.
The paper, commissioned in May to assess how to charge for local calls, will be released in a few days.
'The Government, at this stage, sees no reason why we should not listen to opinion like this. But this does not mean we will not review the charging system again in the future,' Mr Ip said.
Options specified in the consultation paper included the existing flat monthly rate, charging per call/per minute, and charging packages where customers would pay only after a certain amount of usage per month.
Mr Ip said users' opinions on the charging system might change over time as new licensed operators of fixed network services, such as New T & T, Hutchison Telecom and New World Telecom, started providing services.
Hongkong Telecom has said it was using the revenue from its international direct dialling (IDD) monopoly to subsidise its local fixed network services.
It said early termination of this monopoly should be discussed in tandem with the change in charging mechanism of local calls.
He said the Government had started talks with the company over the early termination of its IDD monopoly, which expires in 2006.