On Wednesday (Nov. 24), The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asked a federal appeals court to deny the China Telecom operations in the US. The US telecommunications regulator has revoked Chinese telecom’s services in the US last month.
In the politically charged affairs that encompass every industry between the two countries, telecommunication has become more sensitive. Having already clamped down on China’s 5G take-off in the West, The US has geared up to chase away China Telecom from its land. The US telcos regulator FCC has asked a federal appeals court to undermine China Telecom operations in the US.
However, China Telecom Americas has asked the US appeals Court for the District of Columbia to block the order. The latest FCC maneuver comes in its retaliation which illustrates the US’s unshaken reservations that China should have no telecommunications operations in the US.
What Has Been Said of the US’s China Telecom Scrutiny?
“China Telecom has no likelihood of succeeding on its claims,” lawyers for the Justice Department and FCC have said in the court filing on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, China Telecom Americas which is responsible for its US services has preferred not to comment. The Chinese telco was ordered by the US FCC to end its US services by early January citing national security concerns.
In the standoff between the two entities, FCC has said of China Telecom that the Chinese telecom company is “is subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government and is highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight.”
It later added, “It is undisputed that China Telecom is wholly owned by a Chinese entity, which is, in turn, majority-owned and controlled by a Chinese state-owned enterprise.”
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End of China Telecom Operations in America Likely
It would be an understatement to say that the situation is aggravating for China’s largest telecom operator. China Telecom has been in the US for the past 20 years. The affluent telco had over 335 million subscribers worldwide in 2019.
The telecom operator also serves Chinese government offices in the United Services and it warned the FCC’s steps would backfire on the US. It said that in response, China would be forced “to end its entire resold mobile resale service in the U.S.” But this is one key element behind the US narrative to stage its sanctions.
The FCC has said that China Telecom’s resold mobile phone service “gives the company access to sensitive customer information, including call detail records and metadata about communications.”
China Telecom has said it will notify customers of the decision by Dec. 4 but said that in the absence of a temporary suspension of the decision, it “will be forced to cease significant operations, irreparably harming its business, reputation, and relationships.”
The FCC rejected China Telecom’s version and said their “reputation for reliable service is fatally undermined by a government order requiring it to cease providing services.”
The FCC began repealing China Telecom operations China Unicorn Americas, Pacific Networks, and its subsidiary ComNet to provide US telecommunications services.
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The FCC had voted to end Chinese Telecom authorizations in the US in May 2019. Since the Trump era, their China ICT scrutiny spiraled and we are seeing this acrimony toward the Chinese tech intensify further.
The US has already outcast Huawei as a major national security threat to the US and has taken stringent measures to curb their range of services in the US and around beyond.
The US-China relationship has been on a downward spiral over the last few years with each country spurging the so-called trade war. The effect has spanned across all industries and ICT has been the major battleground. The clampdown on China’s largest telco China Telecom operations in the US could transpire more hostility between the two elite nations.
What is your opinion on US presupposition that China Telecom poses a national security threat? Is it a farce or do you believe the US may have grounds for this judgment? Do leave your opinion in the comments below.