Date
17 August 2017
Alex Arena (right), HKT group managing director, and Bruce Lam Kwok-shing, HKT chief marketing officer, wireless business, give the thumbs up to the csl. venture. Photo: HKEJ
Alex Arena (right), HKT group managing director, and Bruce Lam Kwok-shing, HKT chief marketing officer, wireless business, give the thumbs up to the csl. venture. Photo: HKEJ

HKT, CSL merger ratchets up phone plan charges

PCCW mobile phone customers will be stung with tariff increases of up to 50 percent following the completion of stage one of HKT Trust and HKT Ltd.’s (06823.HK) brand integration for PCCW-HKT and one2free, an offshoot of former rival CSL, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Tuesday.

HKT bought CSL New World Mobility Ltd. in May and is bringing PCCW-HKT and one2free under one banner called csl. Prices for the new operation have been set higher at levels similar to those of one2free.

Lawmakers are concerned that the merger will dilute competition, leading to higher prices.

Charles Peter Mok, a legislator representing the information technology industry, said the rise in demand for data services, coupled with less competition after the acquisition, will result in price increases.

The merged operation has shed 25 service plans, leaving 27 for consumers to choose from. Prices in general are higher, the report said.

New customers subscribing to service-only plans now have to pay HK$1 more each month compared with one2free subscribers and 30 percent or HK$90 (US$11.61) more to PCCW-HKT for 10GB of data.

Those subscribing to 1GB plans with purchases of a new phone will have to pay more than half as much again.

The company said it was inappropriate to compare the new charges with the old ones or with those of their counterparts because the coverage and quality of services have improved since the merger.

HKT said it will retain 1010, which caters to the higher end of the market, and New World Mobility, which targets the lower end.

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