US expels another Chinese phone operator over security concerns

BEIJING (AP) — Washington has forced another Chinese state-owned telephone operator from the U.S. market on national security grounds amid growing tension with Beijing.

The Federal Communications Commission revoked the authorization granted to Pacific Networks Corp. to provide domestic and international service under an order released Wednesday.

The US government is reducing China’s access to US markets and investment due to possible espionage and Beijing’s military development.

The FCC cited “significant national security and law enforcement risks” that Pacific Networks could monitor or disrupt US communications. He said no measure could eliminate those risks while the company was operating in the United States.


President Joe Biden has extended efforts begun under his predecessor, Donald Trump, to limit access to U.S. technology, investment and markets for Chinese companies, fearing they pose security risks or contribute to military development.

In October, a unit of China Telecom Ltd., one of China’s three major public operators, was expelled by the FCC from the US market on similar grounds.

The FCC said in 2019 that it planned to revoke licenses granted two decades earlier to China Telecom and another public operator, China Unicom Ltd. It rejected a license application from the third operator, China Mobile Ltd.

The FCC also cited unspecified “conduct and representations” by Pacific Networks to regulators and Congress that “demonstrate unreliability and reliability.”

Pacific Networks owns a US company, ComNet (USA) LLC, which provides international service, global calling cards and SIM cards, as well as network management, business phone systems and website services, according to a US Senate report in 2020.

The companies are ultimately owned by the Chinese firm’s main holding company, CITIC Group, which “may be able to access U.S. client records,” the report from the Senate Standing Subcommittee on Investigations said.

The companies are required by Chinese law to “support the intelligence work of the Chinese government”, the report said.