BEIJING, April 3 (Xinhua) -- China Mobile has responded to reports that its service in Hong Kong is much cheaper than on the mainland by saying it's a norm for global companies to charge different prices in different regions.
The country's largest mobile telecommunications provider reaffirmed its stance on the price differentiation to Xinhua on Thursday and called for "a comprehensive and rational view" on the difference.
According to reports circulated widely this week, China Mobile's "3G Lite" service package in Hong Kong, including 1,700 minutes of local talk time, 10,000 messages and unrestricted mobile Internet data, is priced at only 68 HK dollars (about 54 yuan) a month.
A 56-yuan package in Beijing, for example, only contains 1,000 messages, free answering of local calls and 20 Mb of data service.
However, China Mobile said in an online announcement that actually the Hong Kong package has a lot restrictions.
Hong Kong subscribers have to use the package for at least a year and link their phone number to a credit card, and they are deprived of access to China Mobile's other promotions.
"If they break any of the rules, the charges will rise to 140 HK dollars a month, together with other fees," according to the announcement.
If a phone call is made outside Hong Kong, or a message sent to phones in other networks, the charges will be much higher than on the mainland, said China Mobile.
The package's highest data transmission rate is 384 Kb per second, while subscribers using China Mobile's other packages in Hong Kong can enjoy a rate of up to 42 Mb per second, said the company.
Despite China Mobile's explanations, many Internet users don't seem satisfied. A netizen with the screen name "masakibaby" said on Twitter-styled Sina Weibo, "I don't mind all these restrictions. Just give me a similar package."
The mobile telecom market on the mainland is dominated by China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, and is a frequent target of consumer complaints about high charges and poor service.
In Hong Kong, there are five major telecommunications providers and some smaller ones. The competition there is fierce.