CMLink 5G coverage checker

CMLink (run by China Mobile) is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that uses EE’s infrastructure, meaning that it has 5G coverage in all the same places as EE.

At the time of writing, that means parts of at least 162 UK towns and cities – though the amount of coverage will vary.

Below we’ll look more in depth at how CMLink stands up as a 5G network, and how it compares to rival UK networks.

CMLink 5G Summary

CMLink 5G summary chart

CMLink 5G coverage

162 UK towns & cities

Coverage checker

Check CMLink coverage ( currently use EE's coverage checker for CMLink coverage)

Network speeds (average download speeds)

5G - 149.9Mbps (Point Topic tests of EE)

4G - 36.4Mbps (Opensignal tests of EE)

CMLink 4G and 3G coverage

>99% population coverage

5G phones

No 5G phones on CMLink currently

5G home broadband

No 5G home broadband on CMLink currently

5G SIM only

5G SIM only on CMLink (coming soon)

How does CMLink's 5G coverage compare to others?

We’re focused on the 5G coverage in 120 major towns and cities across the UK. For those locations, the networks stack up as follows:

  • O2 has 5G in 75 of the 120 locations below. 
  • Three offers 5G in 82 of the 120 locations below. 
  • EE has got 5G in 76 of the 120 locations below. 
  • Vodafone has switched on 5G in 44 of the 120 locations below. 

That full list of 120 locations can be seen in the chart below. If a network has 5G coverage in a location then there will be a tick next to its name in that network’s column, so you can see at a glance where 5G is available.

Note however that while a tick means a network reports offering 5G in a location, in some cases the coverage will be very patchy, so don’t count on getting 5G across the entire town or city. However, the situation will improve over time.

Town/City

EE

+BT +CMLink

Vodafone

+ASDA +VOXI +Virgin +Lebara

Three

+ iD Mobile

O2

+Sky +Tesco +Giffgaff

Aberdeen

Bath

Birmingham

Blackburn

Blackpool

Bolton

Bournemouth

Bradford

Brighton

Bristol

Bromley

Cambridge

Canterbury

Cardiff

Carlisle

Central London

Chelmsford

Chester

Cleveland

Colchester

Coventry

Crewe

Croydon

Darlington

Dartford

Derby

Doncaster

Dorchester

Dudley

Dumfries and Galloway

Dundee

Durham

East London

Edinburgh

Enfield

Exeter

Falkirk and Stirling

Galashiels

Glasgow

Gloucester

Guildford

Halifax

Harrogate

Harrow

Hemel Hempstead

Hereford

Huddersfield

Hull

Ilford

Inverness

Ipswich

Kilmarnock

Kingston upon Thames

Kirkcaldy

Kirkwall

Lancaster

Leeds

Leicester

Lerwick

Lincoln

Liverpool

Llandrindod Wells

Llandudno

Luton

Manchester

Milton Keynes

Motherwell

Newcastle upon Tyne

Newport

North London

North West London

Northampton

Northern Ireland

Norwich

Nottingham

Oldham

Outer Hebrides

Oxford

Paisley

Perth

Peterborough

Plymouth

Portsmouth

Preston

Reading

Redhill

Rochester

Romford

Salisbury

Sheffield

Shrewsbury

Slough

South East London

South West London

Southall

Southampton

Southend-on-Sea

St Albans

Stevenage

Stockport

Stoke-on-Trent

Sunderland

Sutton

Swansea

Swindon

Taunton

Telford

Tonbridge

Torquay

Truro

Twickenham

Wakefield

Walsall

Warrington

Watford

West London

Wigan

Wolverhampton

Worcester

York

Latest locations to get CMLink 5G

CMLink relies on EE for expanded 5G coverage, and the most recent places that network (and therefore CMLink) expanded to (as of November 2021) include Shrewsbury and Cowes.

CMLink coverage checker

CMLink doesn’t have a coverage checker of its own, but as it uses EE’s coverage, you can simply use that network’s coverage checker instead.

Just enter your postcode and the device you’ll be using to get a clear picture of indoor and outdoor coverage across 5G, 4G and 3G.

CHECK CMLink COVERAGE (using EEs coverage checker)

4G coverage

You don’t need 5G coverage to use CMLink – you can still access 4G or even 3G coverage when speedier options aren’t available. And CMLink has widespread 4G coverage, as the chart below shows.

5G networks 4G population coverage (2021)

EE

(+BT +CMLInk)

>99%

Check Coverage

Three

(+ iD Mobile)

>99%

Check Coverage

Vodafone

(+VOXI +Virgin Mobile +Asda + Lebara)

>99%

Check Coverage

O2

(+Sky +Tesco +Giffgaff)

>99%

Check Coverage

5G roaming abroad

CMLink doesn’t currently let you roam using 5G (of the UK’s networks only Vodafone and VOXI do), but that may change over time.

For now, you can roam at no extra cost using 4G or 3G in the EU and other selected destinations, including notably mainland China and Hong Kong.

5G network speeds

EE’s average 5G download speed

EE’s median 5G download speed

EE’s max 5G download speed

149.9Mbps (Point Topic)

167.5/130/151Mbps (RootMetrics/Point Topic/Ookla)

753Mbps (Point Topic)

While data is light on CMLink itself, we have plenty of information on EE’s 5G network speeds, and the two are likely to be similar given that they use the same spectrum and infrastructure.

The chart above shows the key takeaways for EE then, with the bulk of the data coming from a Point Topic study from September 2020.

This found that EE’s average 5G download speed was 149.9Mbps, its median was 130Mbps, and its peak 5G download speed was 753Mbps.

We also have some data from Ookla, collected in the first half of 2021, which found that EE’s median 5G download speed was 151Mbps, while RootMetrics in a study from the same period found that EE’s median 5G download speed was 167.5Mbps.

These are very solid speeds all round, with average speeds that are broadly in line with rivals, and peak speeds that potentially exceed them, so that bodes well for CMLink.

Latency

As with speeds, we’re reliant on tests of EE’s network to establish CMLink’s likely latency.

EE then has a latency of 45ms (milliseconds) in central London according to a late 2020 RootMetrics report, while late 2019 data from Ookla showed EE’s average 5G latency as being much lower at 25ms.

Neither of those results are super recent, but the difference also shows that latency might vary a lot depending on where you are. Ultimately though 5G latency should get a lot lower, potentially dropping to around 1ms eventually.

CMLink’s 5G frequency allocation

Frequency

Network type

3.6GHz (3600MHz)

5G

3.4GHz (3400MHz)

5G

2.6GHz (2600MHz)

4G

2.1GHz (2100MHz)

3G and 4G

1.8GHz (1800MHz)

2G and 4G

800MHz

4G

700MHz

5G

CMLink presumably uses all the same network frequencies as EE, which means the ones in the chart above.

So for 5G that includes 700MHz, 3.4GHz, and 3.6GHz. Those last two are widely used for 5G, as they’re high frequency, which tends to mean a greater capacity is available, allowing for higher speeds and more simultaneous connections – two things that 5G is supposed to empower.

However, lower frequency bands like the 700Mhz one can travel further (making them a good fit in rural locations) and penetrate walls better (so they’re also good for inside buildings). As such, a robust 5G network needs both high and low frequency spectrum.

At the time of writing, EE has access to 40MHz of 3.4GHz spectrum, 40MHz of 3.6GHz spectrum and 40MHz of 700MHz spectrum, so 120MHz of 5G spectrum overall.

That’s a decent chunk, and will benefit CMLink too. For reference, if you include low frequency 700Mhz spectrum (which could also be used for 4G, but in EE’s case is known to be used for 5G) then O2 has 100MHz of 5G spectrum, Three has 160MHz, and Vodafone has 90MHz.

Every network may one day have more 5G spectrum though, as it’s likely that there will be additional 5G spectrum auctions.

Networks that have launched 5G in the UK

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