The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted a revocation order that ends the ability of China Unicom (Americas) in providing domestic interstate and international telecom services within the United States.
Based on input from Executive Branch agencies, thorough review of the company’s responses in this proceeding, the public record, and the FCC’s public interest analysis under the law, the Commission finds that today’s action safeguards the nation’s telecom infrastructure from potential security threats.
In March 2021, FCC found that China Unicom Americas had failed to dispel serious concerns regarding its authority retention to provide telecom services in the US. As part of the revocation order, China Unicom Americas, a US subsidiary of a Chinese state-owned enterprise, is “subject to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government and is highly likely to be forced to comply with Chinese government requests without sufficient legal procedures subject to independent judicial oversight.”
With the changed national security environment in China, the FCC order also finds that China Unicom Americas’ ownership and control by the Chinese government raise significant national security and law enforcement risks.
The telco was also seen to demonstrate a lack of candor and reliability that negatively impacts the trust that the Commission and other US government agencies require of carriers.
It is worthy to note that other state-owned telcos (China Telecom and China Mobile) are already barred from doing business in the US, while Huawei is also under sanctions.
Following its license cancellation, China Unicom said in a statement to AFP that the FCC's decision was "without any justifiable grounds and without affording required due process". The company claims that its US subsidiary "has a good record of complying with relevant US laws and regulations and providing telecommunication services and solutions as a reliable partner of its customers in the past two decades".
The firm said it would "act proactively to protect the rights and interests of the company and its customers".