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Chinese carriers allowed to set their own prices

Starting tomorrow, China's state-run carriers - China Mobile (CHL), China Unicom (CHU), and China Telecom (CHA) - will be able to set their own service prices without having to first clear them with the government (as has been the case thus far). The policy change covers voice, text, and broadband services.

Nonetheless, the carriers will still be prohibited from offering "excessive" discounts. The regulatory change is part of a broader effort by the Chinese government to let market forces determine prices.

It follows two moves from regulators that could pressure the carriers' bottom lines: The imposition of a telecom VAT, and the issuing of MVNO licenses to Alibaba and ten other firms.

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