Instead, it wanted to provide telecommunications services between the US and other parts of the world.
US communications regulators on Thursday rejected a Chinese telecom company's application to provide service in the USA due to national security risks amid an escalation in tensions between the two countries.
Thursday's announcement came after a unanimous 5-0 vote from the FCC's Republican and Democratic commissioners.
At the same time, the FCC has opened debate on rules that would withhold billions of dollars in critical federal funding from USA telecom carriers that purchase and install equipment from countries deemed to be security risks - another effort that would deal a major blow to Huawei.
The US government also made a similar allegation against another Chinese telecom company, Huawei.
China Mobile sought approval in 2011 to provide services for phone calls between the United States and other countries. This is the first time executive branch agencies have denied a section 214 application due to concerns over national security.
Pai reasoned that China Mobile was owned and controlled by the Chinese government and hence "there is a significant risk that the Chinese government would use China Mobile to conduct activities that would seriously jeopardize the national security, law enforcement, and economic interests of the United States". Commissioner Brendan Carr, who, like Pai, is a Republican, had said earlier said the FCC should investigate whether China Unicom and China Telecom should have their authorizations revoked.
We've reached out to China Mobile for comment and will update this story if we hear back.
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China Mobile said it wouldn't be required to comply with such requests and said it "is no more vulnerable to exploitation" than any other USA or foreign carrier that uses "best-practices" measures. She pointed to other vulnerabilities in USA networks, including recent reports about the misuse of Americans' location data, in calling on the FCC to redouble its efforts to protect Americans' sensitive information. "I do not think we have any non-compliance in the U.S. So I do not think this [revocation of the license] is a risk".
The agency said it would be too much of a security risk.
China Telecom said in a statement it complies with local laws in every market and has operated in accordance with US laws.
Congress has banned government agencies and contractors from buying Huawei equipment, prompting Huawei to sue the US government.
Last year, Congress made it illegal for anyone who works for the USA government t use a phone made by Huawei or ZTE, as both are considered too closely tied to the Chinese government to be trusted.
The FCC has also been considering for more than a year whether to require carriers to remove and replace equipment from companies deemed a national security risk.