Telecom raises rents on residential lines by 2.8pc

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 July, 1997, 12:00am

The monthly cost of renting residential lines from Hongkong Telecom is to go up by $1.90 to $68.90, a rise of 2.8 per cent.

As of August 1, monthly business line rental charges will jump by $4.20 to $108.80 - a rise of 4.01 per cent - and $1 will be charged for every five minutes on public pay phones.

'We consider the new rental rates as most fair to our customers under the current price regulations,' Telecom's regulatory manager Michael Lam Kai-pong said after yesterday's new tariff announcement.

Since 1993, Hongkong Telecom has been forced to raise prices by formulas pegged to the Consumer Price Index. But the restriction imposed by the Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) will expire next year and the telephone company is arguing that the price cap should be scrapped in favour of market forces.

Mr Lam said since Telecom no longer had a monopoly of the local market the price restriction was no longer justified.

Hutchison Telecom, Wharf's New T&T and New World Telephone - are now competing in the same market.

An OFTA spokesman said the price control mechanism was under review and would only be scrapped if it was determined the market was no longer dominated by Hongkong Telecom.

He declined to review the market shares of the four companies, but said that Hongkong Telecom still took up a substantial share.

Under the new tariff, instead of being charged $174, customers who want to go ex-directory can do so free of charge.

A host of installation and removal fees for both business and residential lines will be lowered by 10 to 33 per cent.