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Telecommunications licence fees to be reduced

The Telecommunications (Carrier Licences) (Amendment) Regulation 2012 was published in the Gazette today (December 14). The amendment regulation seeks to reduce the annual fee payable for customer connections under unified carrier licences (UCLs) from $8 to $7 per customer connection with effect from March 1, 2013.

Telecommunications licence fees are collected by the Office of the Communications Authority Trading Fund to recover the costs in administering the licences. The customer connection fee is a component of the licence fee for the UCLs.

A spokesman for the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB) said, "In view of the continual growth of customer connections and the trend of licence administration costs, the Government considers that there is room for downward adjustment of customer connection fee of the UCLs."

As similar considerations apply to the public radiocommunications service (PRS) licences (Paging) and services-based operator (SBO) licences (Class 3), subject to the passage of the amendment regulation, the Communications Authority (CA) will also reduce the licence fee payable for mobile stations under these two licences to the same level (i.e. from $8 to $7 for each mobile station used by customers) with effect from March 1, 2013.

Apart from mobile and fixed network operators holding UCLs, paging companies holding PRS licences and mobile virtual network operators holding SBO licences will benefit from the fee reductions, the spokesman added.

The Government and the CA jointly launched a public consultation in June to seek views on the proposal to reduce the licence fees and a total of six submissions were received. The submissions are generally supportive of the proposal.

The amendment regulation will be tabled in the Legislative Council for negative vetting on December 19.

Friday, December 14, 2012