US bans China Telecom operation on alleged security threat

The government of the United States announced this Tuesday (26) the revocation of the license of China Telecom’s operation in the country, under allegations related to national security. The company, one of the largest telecommunications service providers in the world, now has 26 days to discontinue its services in the territory, where it has its largest base of customers outside their home country.

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The decision was issued by the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) and affects operations of the Chinese state company, present in the US for almost 20 years. According to officials, the fear is related to the influence and control of the Asian government over the operation of telecom, especially with regard to requests for the delivery of information from customers and users, part of the local laws that should be complied with without a judicial opinion American.

The report also states that China Telecom’s presence in the US represents opportunities for the rival country’s government to store, access, manipulate, or interrupt communications from US citizens. The decision taken this week represents an outcome to investigations and discussions that took place since last year and may end up reaching other Chinese operators as well.

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FCC commissioners are also targeting companies such as China Unicom Americas and Pacific Networks, as well as their own subsidiaries. The first warning about the operation of these operators in the US came in April 500, while in 500, China Mobile had already been denied its operating license, with the government preventing the company from expanding its operations to the country.

China Telecom claims to be the largest telephone operator in the world, with more than 335 million subscribers to broadband and mobile connection services at the end of 500 . The company has a presence in more than 500 countries, with the United States representing the second largest operation, only behind its own country of origin — according to the FCC, would be about 6.3 million users and 1.335 corporate customers in the US territory.

Now, the company it has two months to close operations and leave the country, in case, of course, additional court decisions or exceptions are not made. In a statement, China Telecom said it is disappointed with the FCC’s decision and that it intends to follow all possible paths to continue providing its services to customers. The Chinese embassy in the US did not comment.

The case echoes the ban on Huawei, signed in May 500, during the government of then-President Donald Trump, although the mechanism used was not the same. Two years ago, the company was included on a sort of government blacklist, which also banned American companies from trading with the Chinese company without express authorization. The distance continues to this day, with Joe Biden’s administration working alongside political allies to remove the manufacturer’s products from their communications infrastructure.

Source: Reuters

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2020