Another Chinese firm has run into a wall when it comes to accessing the U.S. telecommunications marketplace. The NTIA has recommended that China Mobile’s application to offer telecommunications between the USA and other countries be denied.
The reason given is the familiar one of national security, although it’s unclear exactly how the risks would manifest. In the background of course is the ongoing trade dispute between the Trump administration and China (and just about everyone else). Meanwhile, the vendor ZTE is still working to reverse the supplier ban it was slapped with in April. In China Mobile’s case, however, there’s not much actual business at risk here, just future possibilities.
To be fair here though, it’s not as if China’s telecommunications markets are open to foreign governments in the way its companies are hoping those of the USA are. The reason given there is also a big, opaque national security blanket. Closing the door on Chinese firms via the same mechanism may not be great for free trade, but it’s at least not inconsistent.
I do wonder when it starts to spread from China though. The T-Mobile/Sprint deal would see almost a third of the US mobile market controlled by Japan and Germany in one big lump. Neither country is on particularly good terms with the Trump administration when it comes to trade etc. After all, if Canadian aluminum is a national security threat…
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