China's Ministry of Information Industry (MII) announced that from this month until the end of 2006 it will cooperate with the six basic telecom operators in the country to better regulate the service provider (SP) sector.

Jiang Yaoping, vice minister of MII, says SPs who are shown to have violated rules will be required to shutdown and straighten out their business within a given period of time. This is the harshest punishment that MII has ever imposed on SPs.

MII will mainly focus on bad conduct that affects consumers, including non-standard pricing, false advertising, coercive sales techniques, offering service without users' confirmations, and creating obstacles for users to un-subscribe from a service.

According to the requirements of MII, the six basic telecom operators have jointly signed a proposal on regulating mobile information services, agreeing that they should take responsibility if their SPs are involved in illegal conduct.

In the meantime, 13 SPs including Sina.com (SINA), Sohu.com (SOHU), Netease.com (NTES) and Tom.com (TOMO) have also signed a self-discipline agreement, promising that they will strengthen self-discipline and avoid profit-making by violating the existing rules.

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