China starts hearing on mobile roaming charges

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China on Tuesday started a public hearing to discuss lowering domestic mobile roaming charges, state media said, to address complaints from users.

Hosted by the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, the hearing discussed two proposed plans for roaming charges, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Both proposals involve cancelling the existing roaming service fee of 0.2 yuan per minute, which users have criticized as being too high, according to local media reports.

The first proposal would bring down the upper limit on roaming fees by 14.9 percent on average, while the second would lower the upper limit by 63 percent, but would raise the ceiling on charges for contract users by 0.1 yuan per minute, said the report on

The two proposals also differ on how the calling party and called party would shoulder the fees, it added.

The move is aimed at simplifying mobile roaming fees and increasing transparency, the Ministry of Information Industry said on its Web site on Tuesday.

China's mobile operators, China Mobile 0941.HK and China Unicom 0762.HK, collect domestic roaming fees if the subscriber leaves the local service area. Analysts have mixed views on whether a cut in roaming charges would affect earnings growth for the two operators.

Reporting by Sophie Taylor; Editing by Paul Bolding