Mobile phone users in China expected a pleasant surprise this month. Starting from October 1, a new policy adopted by the three giant cellphone operators - China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom - has allowed unused data from individual data packages to be carried over to the next month for use.
At the beginning, users of the three telecommunication companies hailed this policy, since they would have more free data to use in the next month and Chinese phone users' zealousness for mobile Internet is unrelenting.
However, even before Chinese users could enjoy the free extra package, inquisitive users found that since the adoption of the policy, the original data limits seem to be far more easily swallowed up, which means there wouldn't be any unused data left for the next month. One user of China Unicom claimed that it took him only nine days to use up the data package of a month.
Telecoms have become as essential a utility in modern life as water or power, and raising or lowering costs significantly affects people's lives and finances. But disputes between consumers and service providers dominate discussion.
Not long after mobile phones became popular in China about a decade ago, the country's mobile operators were blamed for their tight grip over telecoms fees. Regulators allowed cellular operators to charge both callers and receivers, and it took years for them to switch to a one-way charging scheme, among a slew of initiatives. During the process, public complaints played a major role.
It is too early to judge how long the disputes between telecommunication companies and consumers over data packages will last, since, according to media reports, the measurement of data usage is difficult to track. Companies are using "user privacy" to avoid giving out any information.
But reading through the complaints posted online by picky cellphone users, we can sense the public's distrust of State-owned enterprises (SOEs).
A survey done by the People's Tribune Research Center in 2012 found that the public's negative impression of SOEs came from the belief that they only rely on government support and their employees usually do easy jobs but get higher pay, yet their efficiency and sense of service lag far behind private and foreign enterprises.
Besides, they feel that the costs of daily life such as water, electricity and petrol are always on the rise and attribute this to the monopoly of SOEs. Even if SOEs do something positive, it doesn't help much win back public's trust.
The current spat over the data package of the three State-owned telecommunication giants reflects the extent of public dissatisfaction. Amid the country's thriving anti-corruption campaign and reforms, it shows the public's enthusiasms for deepening reforms and making SOEs benefit domestic consumers.
inquisitive [in'kwizətiv] adj. 好奇的；好问的，爱打听的
swallow ['swɔləu] vt. 忍受；吞没vi. 吞下；咽下n. 燕子；一次吞咽的量
monopoly [mə'nɔpəli] n. 垄断；垄断者；专卖权
attribute [ə'tribju:t, 'ætribju:t] n. 属性；特质vt. 归属；把…归于
lag [læɡ] n. 落后；迟延；防护套；囚犯；桶板vt. 落后于；押往监狱；加上外套vi. 滞后；缓缓而行；蹒跚adj. 最后的