FCC moves to deny China Mobile's bid to enter the US market

The United States is concerned that letting the company access US networks could lead to security threats.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
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FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Testifies Before House Appropriations Committee

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said US executive branch agencies have recommended that the FCC deny China Mobile USA's application to provide international telecom services in the US. 

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The US is trying to keep another Chinese telecom giant out of the country.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said Wednesday that he opposes China Mobile's bid to provide services in the US because of national security concerns.

"Safeguarding our communications networks is critical to our national security," Pai said in a statement. "After reviewing the evidence in this proceeding, including the input provided by other federal agencies, it is clear that China Mobile's application to provide telecommunications services in our country raises substantial and serious national security and law enforcement risks."

In 2011, China Mobile USA applied to the FCC to operate international phone services in the US. The company is ultimately owned by the Chinese government, according to Pai. After a thorough review by executive branch agencies, it was recommended the FCC deny the application because of national security and law enforcement risks that can't be resolved through an agreement with the company. This is the first time the executive branch has recommended that the FCC deny an application due to security concerns, according to FCC officials.

China Mobile USA didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

This comes after Huawei has been under scrutiny in the US over the past year. The US is concerned about the company's coziness with the Chinese government and fears its equipment could be used to spy. Last month, Huawei sued the US government over a ban on its telecom equipment, calling the ban "unconstitutional."

The FCC will vote on an order that would deny China Mobile USA's application at the Open Commission Meeting on May 9.