3 Taiwan telecom companies fined by NCC for NT$499 4G deal mania

Chunghwa Telecom fined NT$2 million by NCC for NT$499 package chaos

Customers swarm around Chunghwa Telecom store.

Customers swarm around Chunghwa Telecom store. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After the dust has started to settle from the pandemonium of the NT$499 (US$16) 4G package deal that was being offered by Taiwanese telecom companies earlier this month, the National Communications Commission (NCC) yesterday (May 23) announced that it would levy fines on three telecom firms for the chaos the promotions caused.

At a press conference yesterday, the NCC announced that because of improper business practices, poor quality of service, and infringement of users' rights, it will impose a fine of NT$2 million on Chunghwa Telecom Co., which was the first company to offer the package, while Taiwan Mobile Co. and Far Eastone Telecommunications Co., who later offered similar deals, will be fined NT$600,000, reported CNA.

On May 9 Chunghwa Telecom (CHT) announced a Mother's Day special offering unlimited 4G internet for low price of NT$499 per month. As the offer was originally only in effect from May 9 to May 15, people across Taiwan flocked to their nearest Chunghwa Telecom store to grab the special deal.

Soon, Taiwan Mobile and Far Eastone offered similar deals. According to NCC statistics, within a week, Chunghwa Telecom had processed 1.44 million applications, while its two competitors had both received around 300,000 applications.

NCC deputy chief Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said that the three companies had not made adequate preparations for the massive influx of customers in terms of customer service staff planning and coordination between computer systems and marketing promotions. The result was many unanswered customer service calls, long lines at stores, and slow response times by customer service apps, which impacted users' rights and interests and caused many employees to work long hours of overtime.

In response to the fine, Chunghwa Telecom said it will take administrative remedial measures and strive to provide an opportunity for related units and senior management to explain their actions. It also said that in the wake of this "storm" it will "will more carefully plan" future short-term incentive packages.

Taiwan Mobile Co. said that after receiving the official verdict, it will further investigate a follow-up response.

Far Eastone Telecommunications Co. emphasized that after the NT$499 package was announced, as there was such a positive response by the public, the company started opening up applications on the internet on May 10, which helped relieve the upsurge in applications by customers. The company pledged that it will continue to launch promotional programs and at the same time make customer service the priority.