China Mobile said to face US block

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net
China Mobile could become the latest victim of US paranoia over Chinese cyberespionage, according to a news report.
 
The operator faces having its application to provide international services in the US rejected by authorities, sources told the Los Angeles Times.
 
Officials from the US FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department may advise the FCC to reject the application on national security grounds, the sources claim.
 
The authorities are reportedly concerned that China Mobile would gain access to network infrastructure and traffic that could make it easier for China to spy on US government agencies and corporations.
 
But rather than block the application altogether, the officials may instead demand China Mobile sign a complex agreement to satisfy any national security worries, the sources said.
 
The authorities' ability to act is complicated by the fact that China Mobile's rivals - China Telecom and China Unicom - have already been granted similar licenses, long before US concerns about cyberspying from China became such a big issue.
 
The US government has accused Chinese hackers of stealing billions of dollars worth of US intellectual property as well as state secrets, and claimed that in some cases this hacking has been authorized at the highest levels of the Chinese government.
 
These suspicions have had a flow-on impact on Chinese telecom vendors. Huawei has been blocked from bidding for US network projects multiple times, and late last year a US government committee launched a full probe into the potential security threat posed by Chinese vendors.
 
In March this year, it was revealed that the Australian government has also blocked Huawei from participating in the National Broadband Network project. Observers have speculated that Australia may have implemented the ban because of its close diplomatic ties to the US.

 

Commentary

5G and data center-friendly network architectures

Matt Walker / MTN Consulting

Webscale and transmission network operators' interests are aligning as the 5G era dawns

Matt Walker / MTN Consulting

Webscale and transmission network operators' interests are aligning as the 5G era dawns

Rémy Pascal / Analysys Mason

The launch of 5G by South Korean operators serves as a first benchmark for other operators around the world