China Mobile Communications Corp., owner of the world’s biggest phone company by subscribers, settled a lawsuit filed by a customer alleging the carrier abused its market position to charge users fees.
Zhou Ze, a lawyer with the Beijing Wentian Law Firm who sued China Mobile under the nation’s new anti-monopoly law, said today the company agreed to pay him 1,000 yuan ($146). He had originally asked for 1,200 yuan for the two years worth of 50 yuan monthly fees he was charged.
China Mobile’s lawyer, Xue Junfu, of the Beijing Jinde Law Firm said the payment was acknowledging the company’s gratitude for Zhou’s suggestions, not a reimbursement. The settlement agreement and Zhou’s withdrawal of his lawsuit was announced by Beijing’s No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court Oct. 23.
Rainie Lei, Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for China Mobile Ltd., the company’s mobile-phone unit, declined to comment on the case.
China Mobile, which had 508.4 million subscribers at the end of September, cut call fees and raised handset subsidies to attract 15.24 million users in the third quarter as it expands in lower-income rural areas to fend off mounting competition from China Telecom Corp. and China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd.
In a separate case on Oct. 23, Shanghai’s No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court dismissed an abuse of dominance case filed by Beijing Sursen Electronic Technology Co. Ltd. against Shanda Interactive Entertainment Ltd. and Shanghai Xuanting Entertainment Information Technology Ltd., according to London-based law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.