Trump blocks Chinese Mobile entry in US on national security grounds

Headquarter of China Mobile in Beijing financial street

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration or NTIA said through a prepared statement on its website that the FCC or Federal Communications Commission should deny the 2011 application by the Chinese firm that is state-owned to offer its telecommunications services between the US and other nations.

As a result, the NTIA argued granting China Mobile's application would "produce substantial and unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks".

It was back 2011 that China Mobile applied for a license to offer its telecoms services between the U.S. and other countries, under section 214 of the Communications Act of 1934. However, this was not the case for China's second biggest telecommunications equipment maker, ZTE which was forced to halt production following a United States supplier ban.

China Mobile, a subsidiary of state-owned China Mobile Communication Corp.

China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom did not immediately respond to inquiries about the NTIA statement.

"As a result, the Chinese government, through China Mobile, would have a greater ability to monitor, degrade, and disrupt USA government communications".

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The advice comes amid rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Phone calls or other communications from U.S. government agencies to global destinations could pass through China Mobile's network, even if the agencies are not customers of the operator, according to the filing.

China Mobile applied for the entry in 2011 and is presently the largest carrier of the world with 899 million subscribers.

The company didn't intend to offer domestic phone and mobile services, but it would be able to connect to domestic networks.

A series of tech and telecommunications companies have run into difficulties over potential security concerns. The ban followed the government's determination that ZTE violated terms of a 2017 settlement by failing to fire employees involved with illegally shipping U.S. equipment to Iran and North Korea. The US1 in June reached a deal to allow ZTE to get back in business after the Chinese telecommunications company pays a record fine and agrees to management changes. That ban basically has shut down ZTE. With a unit of the Commerce Department recommending an FCC veto based on security concerns, a campaign to cramp Beijing's ability to monitor overseas traffic from Chinese companies and individuals could be getting underway. In particular, the NTIA was concerned about China Mobile interconnecting with the USA telecoms infrastructure, given the "importance and sensitivity" of that infrastructure for national security and law enforcement.

The Chinese companies strongly disputed the report's findings.

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed barring Huawei, a Chinese telecoms equipment supplier, from United States networks.

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