China Mobile International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Mobile, has officially launched a new MVNO on the Italian market. Called CMLink Italy, it offers three plans mainly aimed at the Chinese community in that country. It will run on the 4G/LTE network of WindTre.
All three of CMLink Italy’s inaugural plans come with unlimited voice minutes within Italy, 1,000 minutes to China, 200 SMS, 200 roaming minutes and 3 GB of roaming data for use in mainland China. The packages differ in the amount of data allotted for use in Italy—either 35 GB, 80 GB or 100 GB a month. The promotional pricing is as follows: €8.99 (US $10.69) a month for 35 GB (Enjoy35), €10.99 (US $13.06) for 80 GB (Enjoy80) and €13.99 (US $16.63) for 100 GB (Enjoy100).
The promotional prices are available to anyone porting their number from their current operator, with those requiring a SIM card paying €1.00 (US $1.19) instead of €10.00 (US $11.89) for the card and activation fee by way of a launch offer.
Chinese customers can also activate the 1-Card-Multi-Number (1CMN) service for €4.00 (US $4.75) a month to associate a China Mobile mobile number in China or Hong Kong with the CMLink Italy SIM. By doing so, they may receive SMS, bank notifications and OTP verification codes for the Chinese number directly on the Italian number.
Traditionally, virtual offerings do well by targeting a specific demographic, and among the most reliable of such demographics are the expatriate, overseas-worker or guest-worker communities. China Mobile’s MVNO follows this tried-and-true game plan by pitching itself to Chinese citizens living in Italy, and it conforms to type by offering not only reasonably priced plan features for use within Italy but also roaming data in China and features that work with a Chinese phone number as well as the Italian one.
Like many MVNOs, CMLink Italy is commitment-free (month to month), relatively inexpensive despite some generous data allowances and available on a SIM-only basis if desired. However, unlike many ethnic MVNOs is seems targeted to a more or less prosperous clientele; as indicated by the potential subscribers are mobile between Europe and China and operate freely in both markets. China Mobile’s decision to work with WindTre for its network host was most likely influenced by the fact that WindTre recently topped Ookla’s H2 speed ranking. CMLink Italy’s subscribers will likely appreciate the high performance of the network, despite the fact that it is 4G/LTE rather than 5G.
It is worth noting that although this is a virtual offering aimed at Chinese citizens living in Italy, it could be seen as a first foray by a Chinese telecom giant into a major European market. Whether China Mobile has any ambitions of that kind in Italy, of course, remains to be seen.