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Fluidata ISP Boss Criticises EE for Underwhelming 4G Speeds and Data Caps

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012 (8:03 am) - Score 546
mobile broadband uk

The boss of UK business ISP Fluidata, Piers Daniell, has said that he is “somewhat underwhelmed” by the lower than hoped for Mobile Broadband speeds of EE’s new 4G (LTE) service and expressed similar disappointment about its low and “misjudged” usage allowances.

The new service, which set out its comparatively high prices last week and went live in several UK cities on Tuesday, promised a range of packages with data allowances of between 500MB (MegaBytes) to 8GB (GigaBytes). Mobile internet speeds of fairly modest proportions were also touted, which left many to question whether 4G was really worth it.

Piers Daniell, Managing Director, said:

So with the announcement that EE now has a commercial 4G service live I am somewhat underwhelmed with what they have launched. Not only have they misjudged the data allowances providing packages of 500 MB to 8 GB, or charged a lot more for the privilege they have also only delivered on average 8 – 12 Mb/s.

Now this may seem like a good improvement on 3G technology but with that capable of delivering 7 Mb/s , albeit it in perfect conditions, I am just not that overwhelmed by EE’s claims of 12 Mb/s. Especially when O2’s own trials in London was regularly demonstrating over 30 Mb/s.

The issue of course that has hit the headlines is the low levels of data allowance. While this would be plenty with a 3G service I think people’s expectations is that they can do more with the 4G service like watch TV which will quickly eat up the available allowance. I know for example that on the 4G trial with O2 the firmware update for the dongle, which was required to use the service, was nearly 100MB on its own.”

Daniell admits that being the first to market with a new service isn’t easy (assuming we exclude UKBroadband’s fixed wireless LTE solutions) and suspects that anybody whom had hoped to give up their fixed line connection to go down the path of 4G might instead need to wait for more competition to emerge in 2013.

In fairness nobody should be expecting wonders from the first iteration of commercial 4G services, which we’ve long said would initially only deliver modest speeds and likely at a higher price point. But we do agree with Daniell that more flexible data usage allowances were one of the biggest of EE’s expectations and thus became a missed opportunity.

Next year should see the situation improve as several operators are expected to begin launching 4G services via the new 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands. This will deliver more competition and, as time goes on, LTE should mature to offer greater flexibility and even faster speeds. 3G took years to mature and there’s no reason to expect that 4G will be any different.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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5 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark

    Competition raises standards.

    The only reason we don’t have any effective competition in 4G is the Government’s keenness to get all the operators to collect additional indirect taxes for them via the spectrum auctions.

    As usual, the Government is the problem, not the solution.

  2. Avatar FibreFred

    So this is the solution that will replace landlines for many? Deep pockets only need apply

    • Avatar DTMark

      When 3G was launched, the idea that there would be a cheap 15GB package seemed ludicrous at that time.

    • Avatar FibreFred

      The money in “g” contracts is the data usage charge which is why it just won’t take off like some expect it to. I expect prices to fall and new packages to be created but it will still be too pricey for many

    • Avatar DTMark

      As you rightly imply IMO, capacity is the issue.

      However similarly to 3G/data: up until relatively recently, the idea that phone calls would be cheaper on a mobile than a landline (when you take the rental and call tarrif into account) also seemed laughable.

      Mobile calls don’t seem to have got a whole lot cheaper, but landlines have got more expensive.

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