FCC denies China Mobile telecom services application

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2019—The Federal Communications Commission today denied China Mobile USA’s application to provide telecommunications services between the United States and foreign destinations.  Promoting secure communications is a long-standing FCC priority.  Today’s action is the result of a careful review by the Commission and close consultation with Executive Branch agencies having expertise in national security and law enforcement.
In the Memorandum Opinion and Order adopted by the Commission today, the FCC finds that China Mobile USA has not demonstrated that its application for the authority to provide international telecommunications services is in the public interest.  Specifically, after an extensive review of the record in this proceeding, the Commission finds that due to several factors related to China Mobile USA’s ownership and control by the Chinese government, grant of 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 federal government.  
China Mobile USA is a Delaware corporation that is ultimately owned and controlled by the People’s Republic of China.  In 2011, China Mobile USA filed an application requesting authority under Section 214 of the Communications Act and section 63.18 of the Commission’s rules to provide international facilities-based and resale services between the United States and foreign destinations.  
In 2018, after a lengthy review of the application, discussions with the applicant, and consultation with the U.S. intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s NTIA filed a recommendation on behalf of Executive Branch agencies to deny China Mobile USA’s application.  This is the first instance in which Executive Branch agencies have recommended that the FCC deny a section 214 application due to national security and law enforcement concerns. 
Action by the Commission May 9, 2019 by Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 19-38).  Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, Rosenworcel, and Starks approving and issuing separate statements.
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