Telcos' pricing practices do not violate competition law, says IDA

Mr Phua Kok Hee asked why prepaid cards are allowed to have expiry periods ("Is telecoms market truly liberalised?"; Jan 16).

The expiry period helps to ensure the efficient management of telephone numbers, which are a limited resource.

The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) will study Mr Phua's suggestions concerning refunds for expired prepaid cards and the criteria used to determine the expiry date.

Mr Phua also raised concerns regarding similarities in the telcos' terms and conditions for prepaid cards and the pricing plans of their mobile offerings.

Such pricing practices, where one competitor chooses to price at or near the price levels of other competitors, are also common in liberalised and competitive markets in the other sectors, and do not violate competition law or regulations.

Operators are, however, prohibited from agreeing to fix prices, reduce output, or share markets. If there is any evidence to suggest collusion, the IDA will investigate and take enforcement action.

Ng Sook Fun (Ms)

Director, Corporate and Marketing Communication

Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore

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