Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

FCC chief seeks to block China Mobile from operating in U.S.

China Mobile logo near 5G antenna
China Mobile 5G experience area in Shanghai, China. Photo: Wang Yadong/VCG via Getty Images.

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai is recommending, per executive branch agencies, that the FCC deny China Mobile's application to provide telecommunications services in the U.S. due to concerns about national security and law enforcement risks.

Why it matters: It's the first time executive branch agencies have recommended that the FCC deny such an application to interconnect with U.S. communications infrastructure, FCC officials said Wednesday on a call with reporters. The move represents a further escalation in the slow-building conflict between the U.S. and China over telecommunications trade.

Exclusive: Trump administration to unveil big 5G push

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

President Trump and his top telecom regulator will announce plans today to unleash the largest-ever swath of radio frequencies in the U.S. and a $20 billion fund to help wireless companies to keep pace with global rivals — specifically China — in the 5G race.

Why it matters: Proponents maintain that a significant economic advantage will be won by the first country to broadly deploy 5G networks, which will deliver wireless speeds 100 times faster than today's mobile internet. The U.S.'s lead in building current 4G technologies led to smartphone ubiquity and apps like Uber and Spotify. The next generation is expected to power self-driving cars and smart cities.