UPDATE As expected, the FCC Thursday denied China Mobile USA’s application to provide telecommunications services between the U.S. and foreign countries. Commissioners said the action is the result of careful review by the Commission and consultation with Executive Branch national security and law enforcement agencies.
China Mobile USA is owned and controlled by the People’s Republic of China. In its decision, the Commission found that China Mobile USA has not demonstrated its application is in the public interest.
Several factors related to China Mobile USA’s ownership and control by the Chinese government gave the FCC pause. It said granting the request would, “raise substantial and serious national security and law enforcement risks that cannot be addressed through a mitigation agreement between China Mobile and the federal government.”
FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly called the China Mobile situation, “extremely serious.” He explained: “One basic reality should go undisputed: there is nearly zero daylight between the communist government of China and its ‘companies.’ They use unfair advantages in an effort to take a dominant position in 5G and expand the reach of their networks and equipment.”
His colleague, Commissioner Brendan Carr, said it’s time for the U.S. to take another step. He suggested the evidence in the record goes further than just this one application. “China Unicom and China Telecom, state-owned carriers, received Section 214 authorization to interconnect with U.S. networks in the early 2000s,” said Carr.
He called on national security agencies to examine whether the FCC should revoke those authorizations for the same reasons it voted Thursday to deny China Mobile’s application. “Security threats have evolved over the many years since those companies were granted interconnection rights to U.S. networks in the early 2000s,” explained Carr.
By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief
May 10, 2019