Telecom pressed to compete

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 March, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 March, 1996, 12:00am

New telephone companies should be guaranteed an open and fair business environment, according to a Consumer Council competitive study released today.

The report says the three new fixed-network operators are facing difficulties competing with Hongkong Telecom, which has more than 90 per cent of the market.

It says Telecom's ability to subsidise local calls with international calls has increased those difficulties.

The report says Telecom should allow its competitors to use its network for the payment of a surcharge and any sharing of the network must be based on a non-discriminatory basis.

The consumer watchdog also says building networks in new towns and developing areas should not be limited to Telecom, and consumers must be allowed to keep their telephone number when they subscribe to different service suppliers.

The report urges the Government to force Telecom to release more information about its accounts.

Hongkong Telecom lost its 100-year-old monopoly on fixed-line telephone services last July, when three more telephone companies entered the market.

The phone companies are now negotiating over interconnection arrangements.