Mobile operator EE (formerly known as Everything Everywhere) has unveiled pricing plans for its 4G services a week ahead of the network going live, with tariffs starting from £36 per month for consumers and £35 (excluding VAT) for businesses.
The UK’s first 4G mobile service, known as 4GEE, will launch on 30 October. EE gained regulatory approval from Ofcom earlier this year to launch a 4G network ahead of rivals O2, Vodafone and Three, using spectrum in the 1800MHz frequency band.
EE plans to offer consumers a range of contract tariffs based on data usage. Unlimited calls, texts and a 500MB data allowance will cost £36, rising to £41 for 1GB, £46 for 3GB, £51 for 5GB and £56 for 8GB.
EE also unveiled SIM-only pricing for consumers who already have a 4G phone, with 500MB data plans costing £21 a month, 1GB costing £26, 3GB costing £31, and 5GB costing £36.
The prices are roughly £5 a month more than Orange and T-Mobile's current 3G tariffs. Customers will be alerted when they are approaching their data allowance limit, and can choose whether to buy a data add-on or refrain from using data until the next bill period starts.
BT Wi-Fi is included in all plans at no extra cost, providing access to wireless hotspots across the UK.
Small business customers also have a range of 4GEE tariffs to choose from, with data allowances of 1GB including unlimited UK calls and texts starting from £35 per month (excluding VAT) and extending up to £50 for 16GB.
EE says that companies can reduce costs by choosing the new Sharer Plan, which allows sharing of data allowances across all users and devices within their business, plus inclusive calls to colleagues and landlines.
Meanwhile, medium sized, public sector and corporate customers can sign up to 4G data plans from an additional £3 a month on top of their existing packages. Data share plans are also available for these companies, as well as added services including security and mobile application development.
“UK Businesses have shown considerable interest since our 4G launch intentions were announced,” said Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE. “We hope that our new 4G plans and services will make us the most exciting digital communications business partner to work with in the UK.”
No seismic shifts
Commenting on the news, Steven Hartley, principal strategy analyst at Ovum said that the pricing positions the brand very much at the high-end of the customer spectrum, but that the premium to legacy services isn't as high as those seen elsewhere.
“The lack of a high premium means that EE can emphasise LTE's benefits. These should prove popular in the UK, where network performance is generally poor compared to the rest of Western Europe,” said Hartley.
“EE's rivals will no doubt be nervously awaiting its impact on high-spending, high margin customers. Nonetheless, the emphasis on the high-end means that we don't expect seismic shifts in customer numbers in the short-term.”
EE is hoping to entice customers to join its 4G network with the launch of a new service, EE Film, which the company descibes as a “one-stop shop for film”, combining 2 for 1 cinema ticketing, listings, trailers and film downloads or streaming.
4GEE customers will able to download or stream a film each week without impacting their data allowance, and further films can be downloaded or streamed with prices starting at 79p.
EE also announced pricing for its new fixed-line service for the home and offices, which piggybacks on BT's fibre infrastructure. Pricing for these services, including bundled 4G and fibre services for businesses, are available here.