EE, the company which operates the U.K.’s first to market and currently only 4G/LTE cellular network: 4GEE, has bowed to the inevitable — announcing it plans to add a beefier tariff to its price-plans. The new 20GB monthly limit will cost £46 per month, a promotional price for sign ups before February 28 — after which it will rise to £61. This replaces the current maximum monthly limit plan of just 8GB. EE unveiled its initial 4G pricing in October.
It is still not introducing an unlimited tariff — a decision it defended in October on the grounds that it did not want to attract wireless bandwidth hogs to its shiny new high speed data network. However today EE said it is adding a beefier data limit to accomodate ‘super users’ after listening to customer feedback (aka customer complaints) about its prior maximum tariff package being just 8GB per month.
“The plan addresses a small number of ‘super-users’ (currently fewer than 1% of 4G customers), who have shown a desire to use more than the 8G of mobile data that is currently available on EE’s largest 4GEE plan,” the company said.
The £46 20GB plan is available as a SIM-only option, on a year’s contract — and is rolling out across EE’s retail channels from today. The plan also includes unlimited UK calls and texts. So called ‘super users’ who want to get a phone as well will have to pay £61 per month on a two year contract — but only if they sign up by the end of February. After which the price rises to an eye-watering £76 per month for the 20GB limit plus a handset.
Also today, EE has announced it will be lowering the entry level price for 4G for a promotional period of two months — starting from January 31. The new cheapest tariff will cost £31, rather than the current cheapest £36 plan.
The £31 plan requires users to sign up for a two year contract. It includes unlimited UK calls and texts but only 500MB of mobile data. A handset can be included for a one-off fee — starting from around £30 for the HTC One SV LTE or Nokia Lumia 820.
EE also said it is introducing a new SIM-Only 12 month 8GB plan for £41 per month.
The company has not yet revealed how many customers have signed up to its 4G network — beyond a vague statement early on in the launch, when it said “thousands” of new customers had signed up for both 4GEE and a fibre broadband product it also launched. So it’s entirely possible that it hasn’t been signing up and poaching as many customers from its rivals as it would like.
Dropping the entry level price by £5 to lure more newcomers into a two-year lock up is a pretty transparent strategy. Adding a beefier 20GB data limit makes more sense in terms of attracting those early adopters who may have been put off from joining 4GEE up to now owing to its relatively stingy 8GB data cap.
EE will also have one eye on its rivals, O2 and Vodafone, who are currently bidding on spectrum being auctioned off by the regulator Ofcom. Once O2 and Vodafone have 4G networks up and running, 4GEE loses its first to market advantage — so running a promotional offer now to lock in customers while its rivals can’t do much about it, makes a dirty kind of business sense.
Full release follows below.
EE ANNOUNCES NEW SUPERFAST 4GEE
PRICE PLAN OFFERS
- · £31 per month superfast 4GEE promotional price plan to launch on the 31st January
- · New 20GB ‘super-user’ 4GEE plan also introduced from £46 per month on SIM only for a limited period
22 January. London. EE, the UK’s most advanced digital communications company, today announced a range of new 4GEE promotional price plans. The new packages are designed to provide consumers with an even greater choice of 4G options to suit their needs.
As a special promotion from 31 January until 31 March, a range of entry-level 4GEE plans is being introduced. For only £31 per month on a 24 month plan, customers receive unlimited UK calls and texts, and 500MB of mobile data, as well as the option to choose from a range of 4G smartphones for a one off fee such as the HTC One SV LTE or Nokia Lumia 820 which are available from just £29.99 (a saving of £90 on existing EE deals). Customers on 24 month plans can also take their unlimited calls and texts abroad with them to select destinations for just £5 more per month1 while those looking for flexibility can get a 12 month plan for only £41 per month.
Additionally, after listening to customers, EE will be launching a new plan offering 20GB of mobile data. The plan addresses a small number of ‘super-users’ (currently fewer than 1% of 4G customers), who have shown a desire to use more than the 8G of mobile data that is currently available on EE’s largest 4GEE plan. The 20GB plan, which is rolling out across retail channels from today, will be available on a 12 month SIM-only plan at a special rate of £46 per month for the full length of the plan if they sign-up between now and the 28 February2. The bundle comes with unlimited UK calls and texts and is also available with the very latest 4G handsets for £61 per month on a 24 month plan to customers who sign-up by 28 February3 . EE is also introducing a new SIM-Only 12 month 8GB plan for £41 per month.
Pippa Dunn, Chief Marketing Officer at EE, said: “It’s our aim to offer consumers the most comprehensive range of 4GEE price plans. With these new options we’re looking to not only make 4G smartphones even more accessible, but offer even greater value for the small number of super-users out there – ensuring EE really does offer a package that’s tailored for all customers 4G needs.”
EE’s superfast 4G offers a revolutionary mobile internet experience, delivering speeds typically five times faster than 3G4. The power of 4G enables tablet users to push the limits of their devices even further, allowing them to download, stream and browse the content they want, even quicker than before. In addition to superfast speeds, EE customers will also benefit from:
- · EE Film – the UK film service that combines 2 for 1 cinema ticketing, listings, trailers, film downloads and streaming in one place
- · EE Wi-Fi – access to millions of wireless hotspots across the UK, at no extra cost
- · Discounted superfast EE fibre broadband – so they can enjoy blistering speeds at home and on the move
EE’s 4G service will be available in 35 towns and cities by the end of March 2013, bringing superfast speeds to even more consumers and businesses across the UK.
Full details on the new promotional plans, including terms and conditions, will be available shortly in EE shops as well as on www.ee.co.uk