China Mobile faces US ban over spying fears

The Trump administration has moved to block a state-owned Chinese wireless carrier from linking up with the US market, citing national security concerns.

China Mobile(CHL) wanted to provide cell phone and other communication services between the United States and other countries. It submitted an application for a license to US regulators back in 2011. On Monday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a branch of the US Commerce Department, recommended that the Federal Communications Commission deny the request. The move against a high-profile Chinese company could add to the bitter dispute between Washington and Beijing over trade and technology.”Because China Mobile is subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government, the Executive Branch believes that granting China Mobile’s application … would produce substantial and unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks,” the telecommunications agency said in a filing to the FCC. Giving China Mobile access to the US telecommunications market could lead to a spike in Chinese spying, it said. Phone calls or other communications from US government agencies to international destinations could pass through China Mobile’s network, even if the agencies are not customers of the operator, according to the filing. China Mobile, which has more than 900 million mobile customers, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. The company wasn’t seeking to offer mobile services directly to US customers, according to the US filing.