Update, May 9, 2019 (12:44PM EST): The FCC today unanimously rejected China Mobile’s application to become a telecom provider in the U.S.
According to the FCC’s announcement, China Mobile did not show that its eight-year bid to enter the U.S. was in the public interest. The FCC also said that granting the application “would raise substantial and serious national security and law enforcement risks that cannot be addressed through a mitigation agreement” between China Mobile and the U.S. government.
Even though FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel went against granting China Mobile’s application, she cautioned during the FCC’s monthly meeting that “no communications system is ever fully secure.”
Original article, April 17, 2019 (8:03PM EST): In a statement released today on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) website, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said that he opposes China Mobile’s attempt of becoming a U.S. telecommunications provider.
The largest telecommunications provider and carrier in the world, China Mobile submitted its application to the FCC in September 2011. Since then, the needle hasn’t moved much due to the constant vetting by intelligence agencies.
Even though the FCC votes in May on whether to approve or deny China Mobile’s application, Pai’s statement strongly suggests that the FCC will deny it:
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. Therefore, I do not believe that approving it would be in the public interest.
In the statement, the FCC said that China Mobile is “indirectly and ultimately owned and controlled” by China’s government. Also, agencies from the U.S. government’s executive branch recommended in July 2018 that the FCC deny China Mobile’s application due to national security concerns.
The executive branch agencies also believe that a voluntary mitigation agreement won’t resolve national security concerns. According to The Verge, the FCC and executive branch rejected China Mobile’s possible mitigation agreement.
Android Authority reached out to China Mobile and FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel for comment on today’s statement but did not receive a response by press time.
Today’s news is consistent with the FCC and U.S. government’s concerns over what influence China’s telecommunications equipment has over U.S. networks. Back in March 2018, the FCC reportedly mulled over a proposal that would have prevented U.S. mobile providers from getting a valuable government subsidy if they used Chinese equipment.