First came the airlines, then came UnionPay, followed by mobile payment providers—and now: Chinese cellphone carriers. State-owned mobile services giant China Mobile is betting on the future of Chinese travelers (and expatriates) in the United Kingdom with a new partnership with UK telecom incumbent BT Group. The partnership will see China Mobile launch a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) called CMLink in the country, i.e., launching its own mobile carrier that utilizes the EE network. The new operator specifically targets Chinese tourists, Chinese students, and Chinese immigrants and expatriates residing in the United Kingdom.
While the United Kingdom is the first market where China Mobile has announced such an initiative, the company also took the chance to signal that a larger international move may be in the works at the company. “This is the first overseas MVNO business of China Mobile, which is a major step forward in plans to become more global,” Li Feng, chairman and CEO of China Mobile International, said at the company’s press event in London.
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