HONGKONG Telecom yesterday announced its customer charter, saying it would be the first telephone company in Southeast Asia to publish performance statistics on the time taken to repair line faults and similar topics. It has selected a list of statistics which it will publish on a six-monthly basis, along with opinion on whether its performance is satisfactory. However, the company has decided not to offer cash compensation as part of the pledge. Chief executive Michael Gale said the long-awaited document was ''just the beginning, not the end, of improving quality of service for customers''. The company describes it as ''a commitment'' rather than a charter, and launched it in front of more than 100 major customers, VIPs and members of customer committees. Statistics will be collected and published every six months, probably starting from December 1. Among them will be a target for clearing faults in business lines within five hours. At present, the company says 60 per cent are cleared in this time, but it wants to reach 75 per cent by June next year and 85 per cent by the end of the year. Also, Allen Ma Kam-sing, director of personal market, the division that looks after home customers, said the company had selected 10,000 customers for a trial ''frequent caller'' programme, lasting 12 months. Modelled on airline frequent flier programmes, these have been a potent marketing tool for telephone companies in the US. Professor Edward Chen Kwan-yu, chairman of the Consumer Council, said: ''I am pleased to see an increasing number of government departments and public service companies making service commitments.'' Alex Arena, director of the Office of the Telecommunications Authority, described the pledge as ''a great initiative''. Performance charters, an element of Governor Chris Patten's policy address to the Legislative Council a year ago, and have become highly fashionable in Britain. Telecom deputy chief executive Peter Howell-Davies said the company was not offering cash refunds because it wanted to ''walk before it can run''. In May, finance director John Tonroe described the move to offer cash refunds as ''possible''. Mr Howell-Davies said talks with customers showed ''people are more interested in having a published standard of service rather than compensation for no service''. He did not rule out adding refunds to the policy at a later date, as practised by Mercury, a sister company in the Cable and Wireless empire. Mr Howell-Davies said all data collection would be done by the company, with no independent auditing. Hongkong Telecom's targets include answering enquiries about bills in three working days, and answering general enquiry calls in less than seven rings. The company also aims to install all lines when customers want them, stating that its current success rate is 95 per cent. It also pledges to clean every pay phone every day, and repair mobile phones within four working hours or lend one free while the work continues. Mobile phones connected from Hongkong Telecom CSL will be connected to the network within one hour. Customer service centres and Hongkong Telecom CSL shops will open at least nine hours a day, six days a week. Mr Howell-Davies said the targets on billing enquiries would be met by the Dragon computer system, which is now being brought into action after many delays. This will provide bills for the first time in Chinese as well as English, and is being tested on the first group of customers next month.