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China Mobile sued for removing unused data traffic

It is a common practice for operators in China to remove unused monthly data traffic and talk-time at the end of the month, rather than transfer this to the next month. However, a Chinese law student doesn't think this is justifiable.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor

Law student, Xu Peng, has filed suit against the country's largest operator China Mobile, for removing unused monthly data traffic without his consent and prior notice.

Chinese law student files suit against China Mobile, alleging it should transfer unused data traffic to the following month.

The suit was held last week at a public court hearing in Chongqing, the first of such case in the Chinese city but second in the country in which consumers alleged telecom operators had illegally "misappropriated" their services, reported NetEase

Xu, who purchased a variety of Internet service packages with China Mobile, said operators never stated in their service contracts that they would clear up or reset unused monthly data traffic, rather than carry the remaining credit to the following month. He added that China Mobile removed all unused data without his prior notice, arguing that his unused traffic data should be automatically transferred to the next month.

Representatives for China Mobile said in court the Internet service packages Xu purchased already included greater benefits and discounts in comparison with other service plans, which were valid for only a specific period of time and should not be calculated separately.

It was also "an industry standard and trading habit" that unused data were removed at the end of the month, according to the operator's representatives, who argued that this was agreed between the two parties during the business transaction and therefore, should not be deemed an offense or infringement.

China Mobile's legal representatives also referred to an example in which people were allowed to pack food away in normal restaurants when there were leftovers, while people were unable to do likewise at a buffet.

The court did not give an immediate judgment after the hearing.

Liu Ming, a Chinese lawyer, in September filed a lawsuit against China Mobile in the Hunan province of Changsha, alleging the operator removed his unused monthly data traffic, China National Radio reported. Liu said it was a violation of his properties as he spent money to purchase the service and was eligible to enjoy the rights. China Mobile also failed to conduct fair trade with consumers, he claimed. Even though it was a common practice for operators to reset all unused data, the Chinese lawyer argued this was a one-sided stipulation by telecom service providers due to monopoly, forcing consumers to accept the unfair rules.

Liu is still waiting judgment from the court.

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