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UPD EE Reveal UK Prices for its Superfast 4G Mobile and Fibre Broadband

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012 (7:49 am) - Score 1,561

Mobile operator EE (4GEE) has today unveiled the final pricing and package details for its new 4G (1800MHz) based superfast LTE mobile internet and separate fixed line Fibre Broadband (FTTC) services for home users (due to go live on 30th October). But how do they compare?

Firstly we’ll take a look at the operators Fibre Broadband product. This harnesses BT’s Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology, which is currently available to over 11 million UK premises (roughly 40% of the UK), to deliver internet download speeds of up to 76Mbps (Megabits per second) via a home fixed line connection (maximum of up to 80Mbps).

A quick note of caution. EE’s website makes the silly mistake of listing Mbps as MB/S, which could confuse some consumers as MB typically means MegaBytes and not Megabits (Mb). A MB is eight times larger than a Mb.

Fibre Broadband

Prices start at £15 per month (£22 if you opt for the business variant) for the entry-level 38Mbps Fibre Broadband service (plus a £50 one-off connection fee and £14 a month for Line Rental), which includes a 40GB usage allowance, free off-peak calls and a free BrightBox router. This rises to £25 a month if you want the 76Mbps Fibre Broadband option with “unlimited” usage. EE will also discount the cost of Fibre Broadband by £5 a month if you take one of their 4GEE mobile contracts, although this is only applicable via a lengthy 24 month contract period (normally 18 months).

As a comparison Sky Broadband offer their Sky Fibre Unlimited (38Mbps) service from £20 a month (plus £14.50 line rental) with many of the same features (£30 if you want the 76Mbps service), free setup and truly unlimited usage. Meanwhile BT’s 38Mbps service with a 40GB usage allowance starts at £18 a month but Line Rental can be taken from just £10.50 (paid one year in advance). Generally speaking EE seems competitive, albeit more so if you’re going to bundle a mobile service for the extra discount.

What about the 4GEE mobile service?

Next we come to EE’s prized 4G superfast Mobile Broadband service, which is currently available to customers within 10 UK cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.

The cities of Belfast, Derby, Hull, Nottingham, Newcastle and Southampton will follow by the end of this year (i.e. a third of the UK population). Outside of this the network will revert back to 3G and 2G services, at least until 4G coverage improves to reach 98% of UK people by 2014.

The initial 4G service comes in the form of several Pay Monthly only packages that start at £36 per month with unlimited calls and tests as standard. The price includes a choice of handsets with discounted prices (e.g. iPhone 5, HTC One XL 4G etc.). Sadly the data allowance at this level is just 500MB (MegaBytes) a month (an extra 50MB add-on costs £3), which given the faster speeds is perhaps not what many would have expected from the first 4G solution (rises to 8GB on the top £56 a month plans).

All customers will also be able to Tether their phones or use VoIP (e.g. Skype) services as part of their plan (no need to buy specific data add-ons), while access to BT’s national WiFi Hotspot network is included at no extra cost, which certainly mitigates some of the initial disappointment. In addition if you pay an extra £5 a month then the unlimited voice and text allowance can be taken and used abroad (roaming).

On top of that there’s also an EE Film service, which acts as an online movie streaming store. 4GEE customers will able to download or stream a free film, each week, without impacting their data allowance. Further films can be downloaded or streamed with prices starting at 79p. There’s also an offer of 2 for 1 cinema ticketing.

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.”

Sadly EE does lack a few things. Pre-Paid (pay-as-you-go) options, which are hugely popular in the UK market, appear to be absent and it’s unclear whether any SIM-Only deals will be available or not at launch. Likewise we couldn’t see any dedicate Mobile Broadband USB Dongle/Modem packages mentioned, which seems like a rather significant oversight.

Overall the new service looks interesting but, given 4G’s initial lack of coverage and some not particularly special packages, we’d still be inclined to hold off until more operators adopt 4G next year. People will no doubt relish the faster speeds but consumers may seek more than what’s on offer here before they consider jumping ship.

At the same time it’s worth pointing out that both T-Mobile and Orange UK will benefit from the same network. As a result we can’t help but question whether it was a good decision to create a third brand, especially if the packages are going to be so similar to what exists already.

UPDATE 9:06am

It looks like EE will have some SIM-Only plans after all, which are priced as follows with unlimited calls and texts.

500MB – £21 a month
1GB – £26
3GB – £31
5GB – £36

On top of that they do offer dedicated Mobile Broadband dongles, with prices starting from £15.99 a month (18 month contract) for a 2GB usage allowance (an extra 500MB costs £6 and an extra 2GB costs £15).

EE also appear to have cloned Orange UK’s standard fixed line Home Broadband service, which starts at £5 a month (12 month contract) for an unlimited usage service with free off-peak calls and speeds of up to 14Mbps. Line Rental at £14 is still required.

Leave a Comment
21 Responses
  1. Avatar Sledgehammer says:

    I am sure one of the other Mobile ISP’s will come up with a far better deal when 4G really gets going.

  2. Avatar Kyle says:

    Mark, the USB modem prices and SIMO package prices are now available on the website.

    Additionally, your last comment surrounding the three brands is exhaustive as all stores will be rebranded ‘EE’ as have the majority of cellular tags on mobile devices.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Yes just updated the news with that Kyle. They also have a standard fixed line broadband service.

      But I still stand by my last remark; in fact it’s even more apt given the re-branding of stores and the network name for all three. IMO they should have focused on a single brand.

    2. Avatar Kyle says:

      OK, I understand what you meant more now than I did before! Apologies…

      I would imagine that they are hoping for a fresh start in the marketplace, especially considering the diabolical reputation of Orange BB. However, that’s not to say that it will be any better although they have the advantage of being in such a position to ‘start over’.

      I’m confused by some of the information on the EE website, which claims that customers of EE receive priority support (and better by the sounds of it). If this is a culmination of the two brands, they seem to be hinting at some form of elitism. Interesting, considering Orange used to have priority care in the UK which was pretty good (available on tariffs of £45 and above.

      As some have hinted, it would be naive to jump straight in. Whilst it’s tempting, competition will pick up quickly and with a 24 month contract, I would guess that most people will eventually hope that they should have waited.

  3. Avatar Ian says:

    Very pricey, long contract tie-in and not widely available. I will definitely be waiting.

  4. Avatar DanielM says:

    Rip-off. Nuff said.

  5. Avatar adslmax says:

    Traffic management. 🙁

  6. Avatar Sheffield Owl says:

    No competition thats why prices are high..no doubt many,many people will hang fire till other companies have their tariffs live.

  7. Avatar Deduction says:

    Films from 79p, finally a reasonable price to stream a movie.
    Only one problem……
    A 2 hour movie is gonna be around 1gig in size (assuming its compressed to about the same level other services do). Thus, too bad if you got a 500MB plan it will probably use up ya data about half way through and the other 500MB will cost you (an extra 50MB add-on costs £3) or by my calculations thats another £30 LMAO… How generous of them though to then allow you a additional “free” one each week.
    ROFL Hooray for another crappy service for this country.

    1. Avatar DTMark says:

      We currently have 3 HSPA for our home broadband which is just quick enough to stream HD movies on the TV though I’ll select the SD version normally on iPlayer, Netflix does what it wants.

      We have it on PAYG which is £25/7G block – when that runs out it just stops working. Contract is cheaper but has a hard cap of 15GB and becomes a trap if you go even slightly over that so I never bothered. That and it’s a 2 year contract..

      EE’s alternative appears to be £26 for a data SIM only with 5GB

      Last month we spent 4 x 7GB blocks = 28GB = £100
      With EE, that’s 5.6 x 5GB blocks = 28GB = £146

      Assuming you can actually buy “another 5GB”. 5GB doesn’t stream many movies.

      I’m sure prices will come down, at the moment no competitors exist, and it might be a long way from being deployed here anyway.

    2. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Yes even our article above states that EE Film works “without impacting [your] data allowance”.

    3. Avatar Deduction says:

      @Kyle
      Errr thats ONE FILM a week where your data usage is not included NOT all of them. Want 2 films a week heavens forbid and you are screwed. Unless i missed it and you can point me to where it actually states ALL (NOT just ONE a week) movie downloads are NOT counted towards your data limit.

    4. Avatar Kyle says:

      OK, maybe it is only one film, although I can’t see them promoting a service and then not including the data to download the film to begin with.

      I guess only time will tell… I only replied to your original post which did not specify that you were aware the data was included for the first film, hence my response. 🙂

    5. Avatar DTMark says:

      Maybe I’m interpreting it differently, but it looks to me as if EE have their own “film store” and you can download stuff to watch on your mobile – if it’s in their library – which would most likely be at say 360px x 360px resolution or similar to fit on the small screen of the 4G phone, and there would be no way to watch it on your TV.

      Most will probably come at this as “this is a mobile package” whereas I look at it as “it’s potentially a faster and dearer permanent home connection than 3G”.

    6. Avatar Deduction says:

      Nope the film service is for EE Mobile and Fibre Broadband customers…
      http://ee.co.uk/plans
      quote near bottom of the page…
      “EE FILM: EE mobile and Fibre customers only. Offer ends February 2013. Excludes EE 4G and Fibre business plans except 4GEE Sharer and 4GEE Phone plans. Compatible device required. Download over 4G, broadband or WiFi. Online rental lasts 30 days, finish watching within 48 hours of first play. Other terms apply.”

      Clearly ONE film and not ALL films and i hope to god its not mobile phone resolution if they are also offering the service to fibre customers that will want to watch their paid for movie on the big screen.

      It does also clearly state on the previous provided link by kyle the film service is also for Fibre customers…
      http://ee.co.uk/film
      quote”if you’re a 4GEE or Fibre Broadband customer”

      It also clearly states “Download a film every week on us…” Thats A FILM NOT ALL FILMS. “A” As in ONE/Singular.

      Want a few films a month for the bargain rates of 79p-£3.99 and sooner or later (unless you are an unlimited fibre customer) you will end up paying data charges.

      Even worse from googling around a little it seems the EE Film Store will have things such as trailers to freely watch also… So i wish anyone all the best keeping track of your data charges.

  8. Avatar Phil says:

    What do we expect ? 4G is rip off – I am staying with 3G for time being.

    1. Avatar Deduction says:

      Oh i am not shocked, its new so like most new stuff its expensive, i just thought it best to point it out to people who were suddenly thinking oooooh all i can eat movies for a bargain price. To be aware because it isnt.

  9. Avatar zemadeiran says:

    Where’s the meat?

    The EE mouth piece should give us the techno babble!

    Where are the bandwidth stats per cell? What back haul bandwidth is available for each cell?

    They could potentially corner the market but have instead opted to match 3G and keep screwing the British people.

    As I have posted before, all the mobile players in Portugal offer cheap unlimited 4G access including Vodafone but here they can pull a fast one because of a larger population?

    What good is a fast low latency 4G connection when you are limited to such a shitty allowance?

    Shame on you EE.

    1. Avatar DanielM says:

      Most of em use gigabit.

  10. Avatar zemadeiran says:

    So what happens when they use OAM vortex point to point and the bandwidth issue becomes a mute point?

    Will they still insist on artificial bandwidth caps even though wireless back haul links have potentially unlimited bandwidth?

    Oh it must be that the big on line players like facebook, google et all don’t have data centre’s in the UK and all traffic must flow back and forth over the Atlantic?

    I would like to replace my shitty adsl2+ land line with 4G, so come on you gauging bastards! You (Mobile operators) all make shit loads of profit off the people.

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