China Mobile USA Blocked From Providing International Phone Services By The FCC

China Mobile USA Blocked From Providing International Phone Services By The FCC

China Mobile Ltd's bid to provide phone service in the U.S. was rejected by regulators, who cited national security concerns about the company controlled by Beijing, adding more friction to fraught trade relations between the world's biggest economies. Instead, it wanted to provide telecommunications services between the USA and other parts of the world.

"There is a significant risk that the Chinese government would use China Mobile to conduct activities that would seriously jeopardize the national security, law enforcement, and economic interests of the United States", FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said.

Commissioner Brendan Carr of the Federal Communications Commission speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 23, 2018.

Officials, including FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks, say allowing China to access to the US market would effectively give their government unfettered access to telephone lines, fiber-optic cables and communications satellites. Earlier this month, Pai travelled to the Czech Republic and participated in the discussion of the Prague Proposals which could potentially curb Huawei's rise.

China Mobile sought approval in 2011 to provide services for phone calls between the United States and other countries.

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US concern focused on Chinese law that requires companies to cooperate with state intelligence agencies, which the USA has said could be used for economic espionage or intelligence activities.

Granting the request would have given China Mobile greater access to telephone lines, fibre-optic cables and cellular networks, raising concerns about its ability to alter, block and re-route traffic, the White House told the FCC.

Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr said the agency should go further and investigate China-owned carriers that received approval to connect with USA networks earlier, citing concerns that at least one of them "has been hijacking U.S. traffic and redirecting it through China". It also comes as talks heat up between the White House and Chinese officials this week over tariffs the USA has imposed against goods imported from China.

The development comes as the USA and China prepare for the latest round of trade negotiations and the Trump administration looks to increase tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods from the Asian nation.

The agency said it would be too much of a security risk. The company has been trying for eight years to get a foothold in the United States, but the FCC voted unanimously today against allowing the Chinese telecom into the country citing security concerns. The carrier hasn't violated any law, global or local, and it relies on partners in the US, where it has no facilities, he said. An FCC representative declined to comment and said all information could be found in the draft order that was listed on the commission's website.

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