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End of era for long-distance, roaming charges

Long-distance and roaming charges will be history as China’s three major telecom carriers abolish the practice starting Sept 1.

The long-anticipated move would have remained a pipe dream had it not been for Premier Li Keqiang’s push.

In the Government Work Report he delivered in March, Premier Li demanded the cancellation of the years-long charging practice as part of the government’s move to build a stronger internet industry.

The next day, the three telecom giants — China Mobile Communications Corp, China United Network Communications Group Co and China Telecommunications Corp — said that they would make it happen starting Oct 1.

The carriers announced later in July that they will abolish the charges from Sept 1, a month ahead of their earlier pledges.

Telecom companies collected domestic roaming fees when the subscribers left their local service area. These ranged from 0.6 yuan ($0.09) to 0.8 yuan ($0.12) per minute depending on the packages they signed up for.