Block China Mobile from U.S., FCC Chairman Says

Ruben Fields
April 20, 2019

Safeguarding our communications networks is critical to our national security. The NTIA issued its opinion a year ago, saying that "after significant engagement with China Mobile, concerns about increased risks to United States law enforcement and national security interests were unable to be resolved".

China Mobile - the world's largest mobile operator with almost 930 million customers as of February - first filed an application for permission to operate in the United States in 2011. There have been very low odds of any foreign carriers getting their foot in the door of the USA communications infrastructure in the past, but T-Mobile is now a large player and Sprint is dominated by Japan's Softbank.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today recommended that the agency reject China Mobile's application to provide telecom services in the USA because the firm is "vulnerable to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government".

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai said that he opposed the Chinese service provider's application to offer mobile phone service in the US.

The FCC is planning to vote on a proposal that would prevent China Mobile from building telecom facilities in the US.

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China Mobile first applied back in September 2011 for a license to provide facilities based and resale telecommunications services between the United States and overseas destinations. The draft Order would also find that China Mobile is vulnerable to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government.

FCC officials said they reviewed the 2018 filings from the Trump administration and China Mobile on the issue and have now made a decision to bar China Mobile from the U.S. telecom market.

Federal Communications chairman Ajit Pai has released a statement urging his fellow FCC executives to vote for an order that would deny China Mobile's application during the scheduled vote at its May Open Meeting.

Washington has barred the Chinese networking equipment company Huawei from developing the new ultra-fast 5G mobile network in the United States and has blocked US government purchases of its services. Germany and Britain are also considering restricting Huawei.

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