I REFER to an article in Keeping Posted by Glenn Gale headlined 'Chen charged up over IDD change' (South China Morning Post, November 1) in which allegations have been made about our company's charging principle for international calls. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the mechanism which Hongkong Telecom is using to charge international calls. Hongkong Telecom charges for an international call once a connection is made, that is, from the moment the call is answered at the distant end until the end of the connection. This applies to both telephone and fax calls. We will only start charging when the distant network sends a 'call answered' signal back, that is when the called party picks up the receiver. There are, however, cases when the call is answered by a private answering device, phone or fax switch equipment. In these cases, a 'call answered' signal will still be sent to our network which will then trigger the charging meter at our end. Our principle has been explained to, and accepted by, members of the Consumer Council. As you may be aware, there are companies in the market offering calling card services which may not follow the same charging principle. However, I would like to reassure members of the public that Hongkong Telecom's charging principle has not changed.