In Latest Move to Oust Chinese Telecom Providers, FCC Revokes China Unicom Americas Services Authority

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the revocation decision Thursday and with it, ended the ability of China Unicom (Americas) Operations Limited to provide domestic interstate and international telecommunications services on U.S. soil. The decision is the latest in a series of actions by the FCC and the prior and current presidential administrations to remove Chinese-owned infrastructure and services from the nation’s telecommunications industry.

The revocation order follows the FCC’s March 2021 determination that Chinese-controlled CUA had not done enough to dispel national security concerns. The agency also cited “the present and future public interest, convenience, and necessity,” as reasons for eliminating CUA’s authority.

Specifically, the FCC made four key findings about CUA, similar to those made about China Telecom Americas (CTA) when the FCC revoked its authority in October. CUA was subject to Chinese government influence, the press release said, citing concerns that it is “highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight.”

The FCC also said CUA had been less than forthcoming and forthright with the American government, thereby eroding the trust requisite between the nation and telecommunications carriers, who by nature provide a critical service. The revocation order concluded that mitigation would not resolve the issues and that based on its findings, revocation was the most prudent way forward. Now, CUA must discontinue service within 60 days.

Notably, CTA challenged the FCC’s decision before the D.C. Circuit and asked for an emergency stay of the revocation order in November. Though it declined to delay the services cutoff deadline, the appellate court will review the merits of the case with briefing scheduled to begin in February.