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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. China’s mobile operators, China Mobile and China Unicom collect domestic roaming fees if the subscriber leaves the local service area.
Phone subscribers in China may reach 746 million by the end of 2005, of which handset subscribers will approach 400 million and fix-line phone users will exceed 353 million, according to xinhuanet.com. Xi Guohua, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Information Industry, revealed the data at the China Telecom Annual Work Meeting for 2006. Since the competition of handset to substitute fixed-line telephones is intensified growth of handset subscribers continues to surpass that of fixed-line telephone. By the end of 2004 nationwide handset users reached 334.