Prepares for 30 October launch with data plans for £36 per month for light usage
EE has today unveiled the pricing and plans for its new superfast Fibre Broadband and 4G services.
The UK's first 4G mobile service, named 4GEE, will launch on Tuesday 30 October, offering consumers and businesses a new way to access the people, places and things they want on the move, with speeds typically five times faster than 3G. EE will also launch its new fixed line fibre service for the home and offices, with speeds typically ten times faster than today's standard broadband plans.
4GEE phone plans will offer customers a wide selection of simple smartphone and mobile broadband plans, putting the customer in control by combining a range of data options with unlimited UK calls and texts. Data allowances start with the light data usage entry plan, offering 500MB (£36 per month) and extending up to 8GB (£56 per month) for the heavier data user.
Small business customers will have a range of 4GEE phone plans, with data allowances of 1GB including unlimited UK calls and texts starting from £35 per month (excluding VAT) EE will also provide medium sized, public sector and corporate customers with a range of dedicated 4GEE plans from an additional £3 a month on top of their existing or new package, as well as added services including security and mobile application development.
Steven Hartley, principal strategy analyst at Ovum, commented: 'The pricing positions the brand very much at the high end of the customer spectrum, but the premium to legacy services isn't as high as those seen elsewhere. This suggests that aggressive targeting of its rivals' most valuable customers awaits. When considered against other unlimited minute and text plans on high end devices (like the iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy SIII) plan, prices are similar.
'However, EE customers would also have to pay £49 for a 16GB device, whereas it would be free on other networks, such as O2. Nonetheless, compared to the high premiums charged for LTE at launch across Europe, this is refreshing, even if it will not appeal to everyone's budget,' noted Hartley.
Data controls will alert customers when they are approaching the data allowance limit, and then when their limit is reached. They can then choose to buy a data add-on, or wait until the next bill period starts.
All customers will be able to tether or use VoIP services as part of their plan with no need to buy specific data add-ons. BT Wi-fi is also included in all plans at no extra cost, providing on-demand access to millions of wireless hotspots across the UK.
For £5 more a month, customers will be able to take their unlimited voice and text allowance abroad with them, in Europe and selected countries in the rest of the world, as well as access to special data add-ons offering significant value on data use while abroad.
Hartley added: 'The lack of a high premium means that EE can emphasize LTE's benefits. These should prove popular in the UK, where network performance is generally poor compared to the rest of Western Europe. Instantly available high quality video and web pages give EE a big marketing advantage over its rivals. Combined with a limited price premium, 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 will be available to buy nationwide, with the 4GEE service going live initially across ten cities at the end of this month. The company said it has an aggressive 4G rollout plan in place with six further cities coming online in the run up to Christmas, with further cities and rural locations planned for 2013, and 98% of the population due to be covered by the end of 2014. Once achieved, it will be the fastest rollout of any UK network in history. From the 30 October, all existing Everything Everywhere, Orange and T-Mobile stores will become newly branded EE stores.
EE is launching new services off the back of its fast networks. The first such service is EE Film, the only service in the UK which combines two for the price of one cinema ticketing, listings, trailers and film downloads or streaming in one place. The Film Store presents the largest catalogue of new releases available in the UK, with more than five times the number of new releases than other similar providers, and more than 700 films available in total, EE claimed.
4GEE customers will able to download or stream a film, each week, on EE, without impacting their data allowance. Further films can be downloaded or streamed with prices starting at 79p, and the cost can be charged to customers' mobile bill, or credit and debit cards.
Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, said: 'We're proud to be leading the way and pioneering the roll out of 4G in the UK. With our new brand and unique 4G and fibre services, we will deliver consumers and businesses across the country next-generation services and a superior level of support. Our new plans have been developed to offer our customers everything they have been asking for – superfast performance, choice and value – as well as a fresh approach to pricing and customer service that offers accessibility, flexibility and guidance every step of the way.'