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US security concerns on Chinese carriers far

作者:admin 2020-10-19

US security concerns on Chinese carriers far

A child interacts with a robot at the Futian high-speed railway station in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province on Sunday. A week-long 5G experience event, jointly held by companies including China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, Shenzhen Metro, Huawei and ZTE, is taking place at the station. Photo: VCG

The US has been attempting to squeeze Chinese telecommunication companies out of its market by revoking authorizations to operate. Experts say Chinese companies account for only a fraction of the US market, and the move is unfairly suppressing Chinese businesses and will increase costs for US consumers. 

According to media reports, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a US government regulator of the telecommunication industry, has asked the Justice Department and other US agencies if China Unicom's operations in the US pose national security risks. 

This is not the first time that the US has impeded Chinese telecommunication carriers' operations in the US. In May last year, China Mobile, another telecommunication giant, was denied the right to provide services in the US.

Operating approvals for China Unicom and China Telecom, which were also issued in the early 2000s, are also reportedly under review by the FCC. 

However, the assumed "national security threat" posed by Chinese telecommunication firms to US security is far-fetched, according to experts. 

 "In fact, Chinese telecommunication companies such as China Telecom and China Unicom that provide virtual telecom services don't engage in core telecom businesses in the US, and they serve a very limited number of users that mostly have a Chinese background," Fu Liang, a Beijing-based telecom industry expert, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

The wireless carrier business in the US is highly concentrated in the hands of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint. According to statistics from Statista, in the first quarter this year, AT&T accounted for 41 percent of total subscriptions in the US, followed by Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular, leaving less than 0.1 percent of the market to other companies, including the Chinese operators. 

Chinese carriers' operations are also limited to providing virtual telecommunication services instead of infrastructure. According to the website of China Unicom Global, the company's services include end-to-end global integrated telecommunication services and solutions, including global connectivity services and global internet access. 

Compared with telecommunication infrastructure, virtual telecommunication services will not pose any threat to US national security, but if the US government replaces the services with local players, it may increase consumers' costs.

"Although it's a small part of the industry in the US, subscribing to a Chinese carrier is a market choice," said Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, a telecom industry association. "It means that those companies have a price advantage in providing telecom services to and from China in the US. If that is cut off by the US government, the cost will be borne by ordinary US consumers."

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