An increase in international direct dialling (IDD) charges from the United States to China was not in response to last month's sharp rate rise by China Telecom Corp, a telecommunications chief said yesterday. AT&T China president Arthur Kobler said some US carriers had been raising IDD charges across the board. 'There was a price war in the past, but now there has been an upward adjustment. But it is not directly related to China,' Mr Kobler said. 'We are negotiating vigorously to minimise costs to our customers.' China Telecom announced a 772 per cent increase in interconnection charges to 17 US cents per minute from November 1, which triggered a corresponding rate rise in Hong Kong. But most SAR operators went back to their old rates after a deal was struck. Mr Kobler said the China rate rise would affect AT&T's costs, and operators would not bear the costs of such increases indefinitely. 'Our position has always been that these prices are to be determined by commercial negotiations,' he said. In March, AT&T started a managed data service in Pudong through Unisiti, a Sino-foreign joint venture, serving mainly multinational corporations. Mr Kobler said the company hoped to expand the service to other parts of China. 'Our customers want us to serve outside Pudong because their operations are all over China, particularly in large cities where they want us to have a presence,' he said. 'So we are hoping the regulator will allow us to do that. Our business expansion is pretty much dependent on the regulations.' Mr Kobler declined to say whether the firm would be interested in investing in PCCW. Cable & Wireless is said to be considering selling its stake in PCCW.