A federal appeals court on Tuesday rejected China Telecom Corp’s request for an order by the Federal Communications Commission to withdraw the company’s right to provide services in the United States.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected a request by China Telecom’s U.S. arm to reverse the order that went into effect in January. The FCC said in 2021 that China Telecom (the Americas) is “subject to Chinese government exploitation, influence, and control.”
A lawyer for China Telecom (USA) did not immediately comment. The Court of Appeal did not immediately make its opinion public.
FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on Tuesday praised the panel’s unanimous decision, which she said was “based on the recommendation of national security agencies finding that China Telecom’s operations in the United States have creating opportunities for increased Chinese state-sponsored cyber activities, including economic espionage and the disruption and misrouting of U.S. communications traffic.”
In recent years, the FCC has raised concerns about Chinese telecommunications companies that obtained licenses to operate in the United States decades ago.
Last month, the FCC banned the approval of new telecommunications equipment from China’s Huawei Technologies and ZTE
(ZTCOF) because they pose an “unacceptable risk” to US national security, in the latest crackdown on China by US regulators.
In 2019, the FCC voted to deny U.S. service rights to Chinese state-owned telecommunications company China Mobile Ltd and subsequently withdrew U.S. licenses to several Chinese telecom carriers. .
China Telecom has argued that the FCC violated its rules by refusing to hold a hearing before revoking China Telecom’s domestic and international joint carrier licenses (the Americas).
China Telecom, which has been authorized for 20 years to provide US telecommunications services, had more than 335 million subscribers worldwide in 2019 and has provided services to Chinese government facilities in the United States, according to FCC filings.
In January, the FCC voted to revoke the license for China Unicom’s US unit to operate in the United States, citing national security concerns.