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Beijing's price hike for overseas phone calls angers users

China Telecomís recent price hike came out of a decree dated October 23 from China's Ministry of Information Industry, which required a fee increase for long-distance telephone services starting November 1, 2002.

This decree requires that all incoming long-distance overseas phone calls must be charged at least 17 US cents per minute. The original rate for incoming calls from Hong Kong, Marcau, and Taiwan was 2 US cents per minute, and the new fee will be 7 to 8 times that rate.

This new service adjustment charges have further angered overseas users because calls to Mainland China were already two times more expensive than calls to other Asian countries or regions. Phone card users in the US are now unable to use those phone cards purchased earlier due to the fact that phone card services providers simply cannot sustain their businesses with this new rate in China.

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