WASHINGTON, January 27, 2022—The Federal Communications Commission adopted an Order ending the ability of China Unicom (Americas) Operations Limited to provide domestic interstate and international telecommunications services within the United States. The Order on Revocation directs China Unicom Americas to discontinue any domestic or international services that it provides pursuant to its section 214 authority within sixty days following the release of the Order. 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 telecommunications infrastructure from potential security threats.
In March 2021, the Commission found that China Unicom Americas had failed to dispel serious concerns regarding its retention of its authority to provide telecommunications services in the United States. The Commission thus adopted procedures that allowed for China Unicom Americas, the Executive Branch agencies, and the public to present any remaining arguments or evidence in the matter.
Today, based on the FCC’s public interest analysis and the totality of the extensive record, the Commission finds that the present and future public interest, convenience, and necessity is no longer served by China Unicom Americas’ retention of its section 214 authority.
- First, the Order finds that China Unicom Americas, a U.S. 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.
- Second, given the changed national security environment with respect to China since the Commission authorized China Unicom Americas to provide telecommunications services in the United States two decades ago, the Order finds that China Unicom Americas’ ownership and control by the Chinese government raise significant national security and law enforcement risks by providing opportunities for China Unicom Americas, its parent entities, and the Chinese government to access, store, disrupt, and/or misroute U.S. communications, which in turn allow them to engage in espionage and other harmful activities against the United States.
- Third, China Unicom Americas’ conduct and representations to the Commission and Congress demonstrate a lack of candor, trustworthiness, and reliability that erodes the baseline level of trust that the Commission and other U.S. government agencies require of telecommunications carriers given the critical nature of the provision of telecommunications service in the United States.
- Fourth, the Order finds that mitigation would not address these significant national security and law enforcement concerns.
The Commission will seek to raise consumer awareness by issuing a consumer guide in English, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese on the Commission’s website, advising China Unicom Americas’ mobile service customers of the Commission’s decision and raising awareness of other options.