The U.K.’s first — and currently only — 4G network, run by carrier EE, has announced it is increasing the size of the data caps on some of its mobile broadband tariffs by around 60 percent, while keeping its pricing structure the same. The network has faced criticism for offering relatively small monthly data caps for a high-speed network — caps that could be hit rapidly by people using the network to stream or download rich content like video.
There is still no unlimited data plans — EE previously told TechCrunch it would not offer unlimited data plans as it wants to keep wireless bandwidth hogs away from the network. The new data limits relate specifically to EE’s mobile broadband tariffs (so the data caps on its handset plans remain unchanged).
Regarding the mobile broadband plans EE said: “The 2GB plan now becomes a 3GB allowance, with the 3GB plan increasing to 5GB, and the 5GB allowance now extending to 8GB.”
Existing customers of these plans will be automatically upgraded to the new data allowances, with no increase in the monthly fee, it added.
We’ve reached out to EE to ask whether it’s increasing the data caps in response to customer feedback/criticism that its caps aren’t generous enough — and will update this story with any response. In a statement, Pippa Dunn, EE’s CMO, noted: “We recognise Superfast 4GEE opens up a range of possibilities for our customers from browsing to gaming to HD movie streaming so it’s right that we increase the breadth of our plans to meet everyone’s needs.”
Update: EE has denied the data cap hikes are in response to criticism of its data limits, providing the following statement to explain its reasoning: “We want to offer our customers the best mix of choice and value, but also to make it super simple to pick a plan that suits them. By increasing data in our MBB [mobile broadband] plans to 3GB, 5GB and 8GB, we’re bringing them in line with our high data smartphone plans, making our range of plans easier to understand, and giving our MBB customers the ability to do more with their monthly allowance at no extra cost.”
Also today, the carrier has announced it’s launching a new one-month SIM-only plan — offering 5GB of data for £15.99. The first month will be free for customers who sign up before December 23. EE had previously offered 12-month SIM-only plans.
EE’s network is currently live in 11 UK cities: London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Glasgow (and parts of Southampton). A further five cities will be added to its rollout by the end of the year: Belfast, Derby, Hull, Nottingham, Newcastle. The carrier says it’s aiming for 98 percent of the UK population to be covered by the end of 2014.
The carrier has not released detailed figures on the number of 4G sign ups. Following the launch of the network at the end of October, EE said only that “thousands” of people had signed up for its 4G and new fibre broadband offerings — refusing to break the figure down further or quantify the exact number of “thousands” involved.
Release follows below
EE DELIVERS MORE DATA AND MORE CHOICE WITH NEW 4GEE MOBILE BROADBAND PLANS· Updated 4GEE Mobile Broadband plans offer more inclusive data for the same price, for new and existing customers· New SIM only plans, 30 day plans and 24 month plans offer customers greater choice with increased data allowances28th November, 2012, London - EE, the UK’s most advanced digital communications company, today announced updates to its 4GEE Mobile Broadband offering, increasing data allowance on plans and launching a range of new options to give customers more choice.More data, same priceThe 4GEE Mobile Broadband plans now include data allowances increased by around 60%, with no rise in monthly fee. The 2GB plan now becomes a 3GB allowance, with the 3GB plan increasing to 5GB, and the 5GB allowance now extending to 8GB. All existing 4GEE customers will be automatically upgraded to the new data allowances, with no increase in their monthly fee, allowing them to get more out of superfast 4G at no extra cost.More plans, more choiceEE is also launching a range of new 4GEE Mobile Broadband plans to offer customers greater choice. A new one month SIM only plan offers 5GB of data for £15.99, with the first month free for customers signing up before 23rdDecember. Customers wishing to include a 4GEE Dongle or Mobile Wi-Fi device can choose from 30 day plans, or 18 and 24 month plans, starting at £12.99 per month for 1GB.Pippa Dunn, Chief Marketing Officer – Consumer, EE, said:“These updates underline our commitment to offering customers the best value and choice from our plans. We recognise Superfast 4GEE opens up a range of possibilities for our customers from browsing to gaming to HD movie streaming so it’s right that we increase the breadth of our plans to meet everyone’s needs. And customers signing up to our £15.99 5GB SIM only plan get great value whether they’re on 4G or 3G, and they will receive their first month free.”- ENDS -Notes to EditorsPlans may be subject to an upfront fee. See EE website for details.All new plans are available in EE stores and through telesales now, and via www.ee.co.uk <http://www.ee.co.uk>from Friday 30th November 2012.4GEE is available in 11 UK cities today – London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Glasgow (and parts of Southampton). A further five cities will be covered by the end of the year – Belfast, Derby, Hull, Nottingham, Newcastle. EE is aiming for 98% of the UK population to be covered by the end of 2014.