Chinese Telecom Companies Urge The FCC to Not Halt Their Operations

Chinese telecommunications companies, including Pacific Networks Corp and its subsidiary ComNet urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to not stop their operations in the United States. The FCC issued an order directing these allegedly Chinese government-controlled telecommunications companies, including Pacific Networks Corp, China Telecom Americas and China Unicom Americas to explain why the FCC should not start revoking their authorizations to operate in the United States.

The FCC’s order expanded their prior rejection of China Mobile USA’s application to provide telecommunications between the U.S. and other countries; the FCC rejected this for national security and law enforcement concerns. The FCC has given the telecom companies an opportunity to show that “they are not subject to the influence and control of the Chinese government” and that they are qualified to hold various authorizations.

In their filing, the companies stated that “neither company has been asked by the Chinese government or the Chinese Communist Party to take any action what would ‘jeopardize the national security of law enforcement interests of the United States.’” The companies added that they “not only operated independently from the Chinese government,” but also “complied and cooperated with the United States government.” As a result, they do not want the FCC to revoke their approval and stop their operations in the United States.

Pacific Networks and ComNet have claimed to have operated in the United States for 20 years without FCC enforcement action. The FCC noted that these companies were approved more than ten years ago. However, since the time of approval, “the national security and law enforcement risks linked to the Chinese government’s activities have grown significantly.” Additionally, previously the Department of Justice previously asked the FCC to revoke China Telecom’s ability to operate in the United States and in May 2019 the FCC unanimously voted to deny China Mobile’s right to provide services in the country, claiming there was a risk the Chinese government could use an approval to spy on the American government.

Pacific Networks is a wholesale reseller of international voice and data to American operators and ComNet provides international termination service, global SIM card, and international calling card and interexchange service.