The unveiling of Dito Telecomunity Corp. in the country is in danger of being put off anew following the opposition of several US departments in the operation of the China Telecom (Americas) Corp. in America.
In the light of the recent development, Bayan Muna Chairman Neri Colmenares said that the government should scrutinize further the third telco player that will also require a congressional investigation since the entry of China in the telecommunication sector, he claims, is a threat to the sovereignty of the country and national security.
“This development in the US will delay Dito Telecom’s rollout because it should now be subject to tighter scrutiny from government and requires a congressional investigation. Because of its expansionism in the WPS, the Chinese government is not a friend. We continue to assert that allowing China entry into our telecommunication sector is a threat to Philippine sovereignty and national security,” Colmenares said.
The Dito Telecommunity Corp., formerly Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company Inc. (Mistel), is a consortium of Udenna Corp. of Davao businessman Dennis Uy, and its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Corporation and the Chinese stated-owned China Telecommunications Corporation, a parent company of China Telecom.
Dito would likewise have a hard time operating in the country once the China Telecom is banned in the US since there will be a problem in the interconnectivity in cyber space.
The rollout of Dito Telecom in the country has been stalled three times in the past. It was initially scheduled for inauguration in the final quarter of 2019. Its operation was later moved to July 2020, but now has been programmed for a March 2021 opening.
Several US Departments had encouraged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to revoke China Telecom (Americas) Corp’s authorization to provide international telecommunications services to and from the US.
“This recommendation reflects the substantial and unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks associated with China Telecom’s continued access to US telecommunications infrastructure,” said the group of departments, which include State, Justice, Defense, Homeland Security, and Commerce, in a statement, along with the United States Trade Representative, in a statement regarding the filling at the FCC recently.
The call is in the midst of the continuous scrutiny being done by FCC to China Telecom in an investigation that was started last year. The US subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned telecommunications company holds the license to grant service in the US since 2007.
The FCC united to vote May of last year to deny the request of another state-owned Chinese telecommunications company, the Mother mobile, to grant service in the US.
According to FCC chairman Ajit Pai, the commission was able to determine following the vote that China Mobile was controlled by the Chinese government.
It was mentioned in a statement that there could be danger in the possibility of the Chinese government using the approval of the FCC to conduct espionage or spying against the US government.
The telecommunications companies of China is thoroughly being scrutinized by the US. Just last year, lawmakers urged FCC to review China Telecom and the other Chinese telecommunication company, the China Unicom.
Also last year, the Trump administration placed Huawei Technologies – the Chinese telecoms company that is the global leader in next-generation 5G technology, on an “entity list” and barred it from buying critical components from its American suppliers.
The US has also urged other governments around the world to exclude Huawei from developing their 5G infrastructure, citing national security risks.
In a recent filing, the departments contended that the Chinese government has “ultimate ownership and control” of China Telecom and the company’s US operations.
Such ownership might allow Chinese government entities “to engage in malicious cyber activity enabling economic espionage and disruption and misrouting of US communications” and “provide opportunities for increased Chinese government-sponsored economic espionage,” according to the filing.
The departments also contended in their filing that China Telecom had made inaccurate statements about where its US records were stored, and that it had made inaccurate statements to US customers about its cybersecurity and privacy practices that may fall short of complying with US law.
On Wednesday, the FCC agreed to allow Alphabet unit Google to use part of a US-Asia undersea telecommunications cable.
Google agreed to operate only a portion of the 12,900km (8,000-mile) Pacific Light Cable Network System between the United States and Taiwan, but not Hong Kong. Google and Facebook helped pay for construction of the now completed telecommunications link, but US regulators have blocked its use.