By Susan Ning, Wu Han, and Sun Yiming
On 13 March, Mr. Zhang Guangyuan, Deputy Director of the Anti-monopoly Bureau of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) spoke on the latest development of NDRC’s antitrust investigation on China Telecom and China Unicom. Mr.Zhang said that the two companies have so far completed a 100G bandwidth expansion and committed to further reduce the internet access service charges. The Anti-monopoly Bureau of the NDRC will continue to press for rectification and reform of the two companies.
This investigation was initiated last April, targeting at China Telecom and China Unicom for their alleged abuse of market dominance in the Internet access market by administering price discrimination against different Internet service providers (ISPs)1. On December 2, 2011, the two companies publicized statement on their websites saying they have submitted applications to the NRDC for suspension of the antitrust investigation and decided to correct their misconduct, but NDRC demanded more concrete pledges.
Mr. Zhang mentioned that in February 2012 the two companies each submitted an update of their rectification efforts to the NDRC. China Unicom also further clarified its commitment as popularizing the 4 MB and above rate bandwidth for at least 50% public users by the end of 2012.
Under the Anti-Monopoly Law, the NDRC is of no mandatory obligation to publicize its decisions. Based on the currently available information, it is not entirely clear whether NDRC has accepted their commitments and thereby suspended its antitrust investigations against the two giant telecoms.
1.For more detailed analysis, please refer to our earlier articles: Earlier Rumor Confirmed: China Telecom and China Unicom under Antitrust Investigation, China Telecom and China Unicom Seek to Settle Antitrust Probe, and NDRC Demands More Concrete Pledges from China Telecom.