China Mobile International launches first UK MVNO in partnership with EE

14 December 2017 | Natalie Bannerman


China Mobile International (CMI) has launched its first MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) in the UK choosing EE as its network partner.

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The new offering called CMLink, it’s specifically designed for Chinese immigrants, students and professionals, living and travelling to the UK and through it, enables its users to connect to their loved ones in China at no extra cost.

Speaking on the launch of the new service, Dr Li Feng, chairman and CEO of CMI, said: “China Mobile’s ‘Big Connectivity’ strategy affirms its vision of becoming a leading global operator with innovative digital services. While China Mobile serves 880 million domestic mobile subscribers, CMI is breaking new ground in overseas markets. With the growing business and cultural exchanges between China and the UK, the launch of CMI’s CMLink MVNO, enables Chinese communities to stay connected with family, friends and business partners anytime, anywhere. We expect the UK launch to be a new chapter in CMI delivering compelling digital services that break down barriers of communication for global consumers while fostering open exchange between Belt and Road companies.”

China Mobile International CMLink

The three main features of the new service include: no extra fees on data, minutes and texts across the UK, as well as selected destinations in the EU, mainland China and Hong Kong SAR. Secondly, CMLink subscribers can make free calls to the 880 million China Mobile users in China and lastly CMLink also offers a Data Growth Pack which rewards subscribers with an extra 5% data allowance each month (up to a total of 200%).

“I’m delighted BT has been chosen by China Mobile International to help them as they enter the UK mobile market using our EE network, said Gerry McQuade, CEO of BT wholesale & ventures. “Our MVNO offering is best in class thanks to the strength and coverage of our EE mobile network, which is the largest 4G network in the UK and continues to expand. Our partnership will allow Chinese people and communities to stay connected, whether they are UK residents, students, here on business or visiting as tourists.”

China Mobile International MVNO

Speaking at the launch event itself, Theo Blackwell, chief digital officer for the Mayor of London, said that the launch of the MVNO reinforces Mayor Sadiq Khan’s vision that London is “home to technology, business and progress.”

Alex Tempest, Managing director of fixed wholesale sales at BT said, that the company is “honored to cement our relationship with CMI by supporting this new offering” and ended on a point of hope adding: “While the past has been amazing the future is aspiring”.

CMLink was already set to benefit from partnering with EE as the biggest 4G network in the UK (86%), but Tempest confirmed even more positive news, saying that the company will expand its network reach to 95% coverage by the year 2020.