HK phone cards to be sold in Guangdong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 September, 2009, 12:00am

Cross-border commerce between Hong Kong and Guangdong will go telephonic after October 1, when the city's pre-paid calling card suppliers will be allowed to sell their products and services in the neighbouring province.

The move, which will be on trial for two years, is sanctioned through a memorandum of understanding signed in Beijing on Monday by the three regulators: Hong Kong's Office of the Telecommunications Authority (Ofta), the national Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Guangdong Communications Administration (GCA). The accord was part of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (Cepa).

'We believe the measure will help local service providers expand their business into the mainland and better serve their customers there,' an Ofta spokesman said yesterday.

Suppliers will be able to distribute in Guangdong pre-paid fixed-telephone and mobile-telephone calling cards for use in Hong Kong only. Calling cards for satellite-based mobile-telephone service are excluded in this arrangement.

These vendors, which include the city's telecommunications network operators and various resellers, must first acquire a 'Hong Kong Service Supplier' certificate from the Trade and Industry Department and then separately notify Ofta and the GCA.

'They may operate on their own or appoint agents in Guangdong province to distribute the telephone cards,' the Ofta spokesman said.

'All the telephone cards to be distributed will be stored-value telephone cards or SIM cards issued by local fixed and mobile operators. These cards can be used to make local and external calls in Hong Kong only.'

The relevant guidelines issued by Ofta and the GCA are available from the local regulator's website.