China Telecom to forcibly leave U.S. operations in January

China Telecom Americas will be forced to leave the U.S. market by early January, following a ban issued in October, after it lost the bid to appeal against the revocation of its license.

As such, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied China Telecom emergency motion to pause a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) order revoking the company’s authorizations to continue operating in the U.S.

Back in October, the FCC announced that it had terminated China Telecom’s authority to provide communications services in the U.S.

The decision was based on classified information supplied by American national security agencies, who said that China Telecom had the capability to access and disrupt U.S. communications and could therefore potentially engage in espionage.

China Telecom immediately launched a legal appeal against the ban, repeatedly arguing that it was being illegally discriminated against. However, that appeal has failed with China Telecom told it must cease all of its U.S. operations by early January.

“Petitioner has not satisfied the stringent requirements for a stay pending court review,” the court document noted.

In May 2019, the FCC voted to deny state-owned Chinese telecom firm China Mobile Ltd the right to provide U.S. services.

“We are moving expeditiously to complete our security reviews for similarly situated carriers like China Unicom Americas, Pacific Networks, and ComNet,” said FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel.

On the other hand, the China Telecom ban will be a setback for Chinese business, but the company’s U.S. revenues are estimated at around $200 million, a tiny fraction of their global annual revenues that total over $60 billion.

According to media reports, China Telecom, which has been authorized for 20 years to provide telecommunications services in the United States, had more than 335 million subscribers worldwide in 2019.

Last but not least, the Chinese company was focusing on Latin America and has become one of the main focusses for the company in recent months, with the telecom saying earlier in the year that they would expand their points of presence on the South American continent to new locations in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Peru, Panama, and Mexico over the next three years.