Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said on April 17 he will vote to deny an application by China Mobile Ltd. to provide service in the U.S., citing security-related reasons similar to those that led Congress to bar the Federal government from doing business with China-based network equipment maker Huawei.

The FCC is scheduled to vote next month on an order on China Mobile’s application to do business in the U.S., and has written the order in the form of a denial of the application.

“It is clear that China Mobile’s application to provide telecommunications services in our country raises substantial and serious national security and law enforcement risks,” Pai said, adding, “Therefore, I do not believe that approving it would be in the public interest.”

Pai said he reached that conclusion after reviewing evidence including input provided by other Federal agencies. “Safeguarding our communications networks is critical to our national security,” he added.

The chairman, a Republican appointee, urged the commission’s other four members to support his position; two of them are Republican appointees and two are Democratic appointees.

According to information provided by the FCC, China Mobile is “ultimately” owned and controlled by the Chinese government, and the draft order to be voted on by the FCC next month finds that the company is “vulnerable to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government.”

The FCC also said that executive branch agencies recommended last year that the FCC deny China Mobile’s application “due to substantial national security and law enforcement risks that cannot be resolved through a voluntary mitigation agreement.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.