FCC wants to ban China Mobile from US

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FCC chairman Ajit Pai isn’t down with China Mobile coming to the United States.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai isn’t down with China Mobile coming to the United States.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr CC

The largest mobile phone network operator in the world will likely be banned from doing business in the USA.

China Mobile, which has over 900 million subscribers in mainland China, has been blocked from offering services in the United States, according to the latest proposal by the Federal Communications Commission.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai proposed the ban today under the direction of the White House. The move will need to be approved at the FCC’s next meeting, but it doesn’t seem like there will be much resistance to the measure.

Banning China Mobile

“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. Therefore, I do not believe that approving it would be in the public interest.”

China Mobile is owned by the Chinese government. It has a small presence in the U.K. and Pakistan but has mostly been limited to China for business. The move to ban China Mobile in the US comes amid espionage concerns from Chinese tech companies. Huawei has been pushing to get its 5G technology into more markets but has met resistance in some countries.

It’s unclear whether or not other commissioners feel the same way about China Mobile as Pai. China Mobile applied to offer mobile services to US customers way back in 2011. The long review process could be all for nothing though as the FCC will vote on it at its next open meeting on May 9.