Trump moves to block China Mobile's US entry

Trump moves to block China Mobile's US entry

China Mobile, the world's largest telecom carrier with 899 million subscribers, did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment on Tuesday.

But the US Department of Commerce has recommended the licence request be denied.

He added the department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration recommended the Federal Communications Commission turn down China Mobile's application to offer voice traffic between the USA and other countries. "As a result, the Chinese government, through China Mobile, would have a greater ability to monitor, degrade, and disrupt USA government communications".

The news comes just after the USA stated an intention to impose additional tariffs on Chinese products, with further threats of additional taxes on up to $200 billion in Chinese imports in the event the country attempts retaliation as part of the ongoing trade war. On Tuesday, China's currency, the yuan, plunged against the dollar to its lowest level in nearly a year, a movement that Yi Gang, the head of China's central bank, attributed in part to market uncertainties.

The Trump Administration's recommendation should come as no surprise considering the tariffs and trade war that is brewing between the U.S. and China.

The application to become a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the U.S. was an expression of China Mobile's ambitions to expand internationally.

"There had been plenty of back and forth over the years between the U.S. regulator and China Mobile about the operator's plans for such a facilities-based license in the country", said Lee.

On the mainland, China Mobile provides a range of mobile voice, data and fixed-line broadband services, as well as so-called internet of things smart connected devices operations.

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The Chinese government could use links established by China Mobile for economic espionage and intelligence collection, according to the filing.

It said the company was "subject to exploitation, influence and control by the Chinese government" and that its application posed "substantial and unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks in the current national security environment".

That represented the first time a Chinese telecommunications network operator had been singled out as a security threat in the US.

The NTIA said its assessment rested "in large part on China's record of intelligence activities and economic espionage targeting the USA, along with China Mobile's size and technical and financial resources".

China Mobile had offered to take mitigating measures to address some of the agency's concerns, but the agency rejected these measures, which were not disclosed.

The Commerce Department has also levied sanctions against embattled Chinese phone maker ZTE out of national security concerns.

Those companies are not Chinese state-owned, but are alleged to have close ties with the Chinese government.

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