Opposition solon: US ban on Chinese telco might affect PH firm

Published July 10, 2021, 4:10 PM

by Ben Rosario

House Asst. Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro on Saturday, July 10 warned that the United States’ move to ban the China Telecom (Americas) Corp.(CTC) could affect the operations of local telecommunications newcomer Dito Telecommunity Corporation (Dito).

Rep. France Castro

In a radio interview, Castro said the US action against Chinese firms operating within American territories should be closely watched by Filipino telecommunications subscribers for they might have adverse influence in the country.

China Telecommunications Corporation, a state-owned company and the parent company of China Telecom Corporation, Ltd., (China Telecom) to which China Telecom Americas is affiliated as a subsidiary. China Telecom is the second biggest stakeholder of Dito with a 39.92 percent stake.

Castro explained that the threat of the Biden administration to revoke and terminate authorizations granted CTA will affect its ability to course interconnecting activities in the U.S. specifically, roaming connections from the Filipino subscribers of DITO who may wish to make calls or SMS while overseas.

“Oo nga. Oo, tama. Magkakaroon din ng epekto ‘yan (Yes. It’s correct. There will be an effect there)” said Castro when asked if experts are correct in their view that the US action might also affect telecommunications interests of China Telecom in the Philippines.

Castro admitted that the ban will also affect the use of Dito’s broadband or mobile data network to access US-based websites.

“Eto ‘yung US-based website na konektado doon sa China Telecom, meron ding epekto ito at magkakaroon ng access. Tingin ko kung may ganyan na iba-ban. (This is the US-based website that is connected to China Telecom, there is also an effect and there will be an access. I believe that will happen if banned),” said Castro.

China Telecom is among the Chinese companies set to be banned by the US due to national security threats.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stressed that China Telecom is owned by the Chinese government and is controlled by the Communist Party of China, In December 2020 and March 2021, the FCC moved forward with proceedings to revoke the existing authorization for China Telecom Americas.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said that aside from the ownership issue, security agencies insisted that China Telecom failed to follow cybersecurity and privacy laws, thus allowing Chinese state-sponsored economic espionage and disruption of U.S. communications traffic.

“The Chinese government intends to surveil persons within our borders, for government security, for spying advantage, as well as for intellectual property and an industrial or business.”