FCC moves to revoke more Chinese telco concessions

18 Mar 2021

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has disclosed plans revoke the operating licences of a further three Chinese telecoms companies – China Unicom, Pacific Networks and ComNet (which is a subsidiary of Pacific Networks) – to operate in the United States. After issuing ‘Show Cause Orders’ last year to companies that the FCC judged to have ties to ‘the communist regime in China’, the FCC has determined that those operators’ responses failed to address the serious national security threats posed by their continued operation in the US. The companies in question are China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks and ComNet (a subsidiary of Pacific Networks).

Commissioner Brendan Carr issued the following statement: ‘In 2019, when we blocked China Mobile USA from entering the US market based on national security concerns, I said it was time for a top to bottom review of every telecom carrier with ties to the communist regime in China. Many of these firms were authorised to operate in the US decades ago and the security threats have evolved substantially in the intervening years … These three carriers provided incomplete and inconsistent responses that failed to address these threats and in turn raised fresh concerns about their ability to follow FCC rules.’

TeleGeography notes that China Unicom Americas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Kong-based China Unicom Global, headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. The company, which was founded back in 2003, has regional sales offices in five locations, namely: Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Sao Paulo (Brazil).