U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said that he opposes a bid from Chinese carrier China Mobile to provide telecommunications services in the U.S. on national security grounds.

The FCC will vote on the company’s application next month.

“Safeguarding our communications networks is critical to our national security. 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,” Pai said in a statement.

“Therefore, I do not believe that approving it would be in the public interest. I hope that my colleagues will join me in voting to reject China Mobile’s application,” he added.

In the statement, Pai also highlighted that China Mobile USA is a Delaware corporation that is indirectly and ultimately owned and controlled by the Chinese government. 

In 2011, China Mobile filed an application requesting authorization to provide international facilities-based and resale telecommunications services between the U.S. and foreign destinations.

On July 2, 2018, after a review of the application and consultation with the U.S. intelligence community, Executive Branch agencies recommended that the commission deny China Mobile’s application due to substantial national security and law enforcement risks that cannot be resolved through a voluntary mitigation agreement, which had been previously proposed by the Chinese carrier.

The draft Order circulated by Chairman Pai to his colleagues finds that China Mobile is vulnerable to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government.

In March 2018, Pai said that the FCC would be considering a new rule that would bar US mobile operators from using Universal Service Funds to purchase China-based telecom equipment for their networks.

This new rule will receive a vote at the FCC’s next open meeting scheduled for May 9.

Last month, Chinese vendor Huawei had filed a legal complaint in a U.S. federal court that challenges the constitutionality of a ban on U.S. government agencies using its equipment and seeking a permanent injunction against the restriction.

In August 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, which included new regulations that ban government agencies doing business with Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE.

The bill prohibits the U.S. government and its contractors from buying certain telecommunications and video surveillance equipment from Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese communications companies. The ban covers components and services deemed “essential” or “critical” to any government system.

The U.S government is also urging some western allies to avoid using equipment from Chinese vendors for the deployment of 5G network infrastructure.

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