Feeds

Hong Kongers protest over end to all-you-can-eat tariffs

SmarTone on the receiving end of user fury

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Hong Kong dwellers have staged a mini-protest outside one of the stores of SmarTone against the cellco's response to new rules from the local regulator which will force all network operators to scrap unlimited data tariffs.

Local newspaper The Standard reported that the group of angry customers gathered outside a SmarTone store in the gloriously named Mong Kok district of Kowloon to protest the changes, which are due to come into effect on 13 February.

Although all operators are in the same boat and are restructuring their price plans as a result of the forthcoming rules, protesters were apparently aggrieved that SmarTone is going "too far" by cutting its unlimited package down to 2GB per month.

"Youngsters who love to invent applications will be badly hit by this new policy as customers will now think twice before downloading an application," Lau Kwok-fan, vice chairman of the Federation of New Territories Youth, told The Standard.

SmarTone released a canned statement claiming that its new “User Pays” tariff is “fair, reasonable and transparent”.

The new data allowance of 2GB is generous and will mean no additional charges for 85% of all existing data customers on the basis of current usage patterns. Importantly, all existing contracts and those entered before 13 February 2012 will continue to be honoured in full.

In meeting the challenges of continuing rise in usage and general cost inflation, ‘User Pays’ data charging is the fairest approach for all customers, and promotes greater network investment for both increasing usage and quality.

The alternative of raising prices for everyone, irrespective of usage levels, is patently unfair and is not in the best interest of the majority of customers. ‘User Pays’ data charging principle is a worldwide trend as the investment community demands an adequate return on network investment by mobile operators.

The controversial changes were announced by Hong Kong regulator the Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) in November in a bid to “enhance the transparency of service information to facilitate better informed consumer choices”.

Basically, it was getting sick of mobile customers complaints that their so-called unlimited data plans were actually subject to a fair usage policy.

While the guidelines do not explicitly ban unlimited data plans, they mandate that any operator offering such deals cannot then limit them with a fair usage policy.

“Service providers offering unlimited plans without qualifications must ensure that their networks are equipped with sufficient capacity so that they are truly capable of providing unlimited services to the relevant customers,” said an OFTA spokesperson.

“Otherwise, they may risk contravening the guidelines and section 7M of the Telecommunications Ordinance, which prohibits licensees from engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct in providing telecommunications services.” ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
Ofcom tackles complaint over Premier League footie TV rights
Virgin Media: UK fans pay the most for the fewest matches
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.