China’s operators faced the prospect of further belt-tightening as the government called for another cut in data prices, this time also targeting fees levied on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The State Council, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, told operators to reduce internet tariffs for SMEs by 15 per cent and expand gigabit connections, supported by both mobile and fixed-line networks, to more than 300 cities, Xinhua News Agency reported.
Prices of consumer mobile data services are also to be cut by at least 20 per cent, and data roaming charges between the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau by 30 per cent by the year-end.
The news agency quoted Li as saying: “We need to upgrade our internet services… Solid efforts must be made to make internet services faster and more affordable, and sharpen the country’s international competitiveness.”
More than 100 cities in the country are running gigabit internet pilot tests, data from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology showed.
A key target is for broadband networks to cover 97 per cent of primary and middle schools nationwide by year-end the news agency said.
The State Council pushed mobile operators in 2017 to eliminate domestic mobile data roaming charges by October 2018. China Unicom said a 5.2 per cent decline in mobile service turnover to CNY39.4 billion in Q1 was a result of the cancellation of the roaming fees.
In 2015 Li criticised the country’s mobile internet for being expensive and slow. The country’s three operators quickly committed to reducing data prices by as much as 35 per cent as well as improving network speeds.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back