The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted unanimously to revoke China Unicom’s operator’s licence to do business in the US, citing concerns over national security.
In the latest of a long line of blows related to national security, the FCC has voted to ban China Unicom from operating commercially in the US.
The FCC said that China Unicom is owned and controlled by the Chinese government and therefore their activities in the US carry a risk to the security of the country’s national communication infrastructure.
China Unicom has responded to this ban by arguing that the decision has been taken “without any justifiable grounds and without affording the required due process”, noting that it has operated in the US for 20 years and has always followed FCC regulations.
The FCC, however, says that the “national security landscape” has shifted in the last two decades and that concerns over national security have been increasing.
“There has been mounting evidence – and with it, a growing concern – that Chinese state-owned carriers pose a real threat to the security of our telecommunications networks,” explained FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel.
Following the ruling, China Unicom will have 60 days to cease its activities within the US. The company currently offers various connectivity, cloud, IoT, video conferencing and unified communications services to enterprise customers, as well as consumer mobile services as a virtual mobile operator. Most of these activities will have to cease, though the company’s data centre services will still be available to US consumers.
National security concerns have been at the heart of much of the US–China conflict in recent months, with President Biden signing the Secure Equipment Act into law last year, banning a number of companies, including ZTE and Huawei, from providing telecoms equipment in the US.