It took Apple six years to get China Mobile to carry the iPhone

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On Monday, the Trump administration rejected China Mobile’s seven-year-old application to do business in the U.S.

From David J. Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information, U.S. Department of Commerce:

“After significant engagement with China Mobile, concerns about increased risks to U.S. law enforcement and national security interests were unable to be resolved. Therefore, the Executive Branch of the U.S. government… recommends that the FCC deny China Mobile’s Section 214 license request.” (Full press release here.)

My take: Probably the right call. The petition to deny is heavily redacted, but the problem seems to be that a Section 214 license would have given a company 74.2% owned by the Chinese government the right to make physical connections to other common carriers on the Internet. What makes me nervous is the timing of the call. Is this well-considered policy or a bargaining chip that could be played either way?

See also: The China Mobile-Apple deal: Why now?