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EE UK Launch 500GB Data Allowance on 4G Home Broadband Plans

Thursday, September 20th, 2018 (10:30 am) - Score 17,100
ee 4g external antenna

Mobile operator EE has quietly revamped their range of 4G based wireless 4GEE Home Broadband plans by introducing some of the biggest monthly data allowances we’ve ever seen, which go all the way up to 500GB (GigaBytes). Except you’ll need deep pockets to afford them.

The plans, which all require you to take their 4GEE Home Router device (essentially a 4G router that distributes its signal inside your home via WiFi), come on either an 18 month (free router) or 30 day (router attracts a one-off cost of £100) contract term.

Monthly rental prices start at £35 for a 30GB allowance and then go to £45 for 100GB, £60 for 200GB, £80 for 300GB and finally.. drum roll.. £100 a month for 500GB. The service is by no means cheap, although for those who live in rural areas where their 4G link is faster than a fixed line broadband ISP then it could make sense. Particularly since 500GB on an alternative Satellite link, where available, is typically several times the price.

The fact that EE are working toward extending the geographic coverage of their 4G network to 95% of the UK by December 2020 will surely also go a long way to supporting the service’s growing reach into rural areas, as well as potentially the Government’s planned 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO); BT will be one of the suppliers for that and EE is part of the same company (here).

We should also point out that EE also sells an external antenna and installation service, which can help connect remote homes and improve your signal (here). Sadly there doesn’t appear to be a way to order this online, which means you have to call them directly to order an installation (although the plans and router can be purchased online – see top link). Credits to Thinkbroadband for spotting the new plans.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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36 Responses
  1. A_Builder

    It was quite “interesting” comparing the performance of 4G on an EE router and FTTC when BT managed to disconnect both of the FTTC lines from one of our offices.

    Whilst the nominal throughput was pretty much the same and the upload nominally faster the user experience was not really in the same bracket at all and was noticeably laggy beyond what you would expect from the increased ping times.

    So for things that chew a lot of bandwidth and just sit there churning away like DropBox it is more than adequate and probably for streaming movies and defiantly for email. I’d be a bit more cautious about using it for databases etc.

    And that was at a location what is in line of site to the cell tower that is about 200m away from the office!

    • Mike

      Using a fixed dual polarized antenna makes the signal more stable I have found.

    • A_Builder

      @Mike

      Quite agree: better arial = better performance on 4G.

      Although the issue I was taking about seems to be when you load up the connection with lots of things going on at the same time. Something isn’t quite right with the way that the traffic is managed.

      Was quite interesting to see how performance deteriorated when or improved when progressive VLAN’s were plugged in/unplugged. As soon as there was just a single (or less of a mix of) traffic type then things improved markedly.

      But I guess it is early days for EE to be doing this kind of heavy lifting over 4G and things will get further optimised as they try and market it, as they clearly are, as a USO solution.

    • Mike

      I use a VPN always so perhaps thats why I fair better, one type of traffic as far as the operator is concerned, as far as I know both EE/Three do traffic management so that is probably a factor as well.

    • Jim Weir

      @A Builder

      What you are seeing is pretty normal for any free running connection – ie it has no upper throughput limit

      For example you could have a 4G service that Speedtest at say 62Mbps down, with a headline latency of 30-40ms – but if you analyse that connection over 10-15 seconds at full load, the real latency will spike up – averaging +200ms over the 19-15sec period.

      That is what is causing the sluggishness you are seeing.

      The simple remedy is to ratelimit your router WAN to a lower threshold, in this case about 43Mbps gives a stable average latency of ~34ms over the 10-15sec test. The connection will feel faster & responsive.

      You would see the same behaviour on DSL connections – pushed hard the latency would rocket but DLM does a better job of keeping this in check. There is still a sweetspot for any connection / hardware combination before the error rate & queues have a negative impact on throughput.

  2. A_Builder

    Or even *sight…

    I blame the autocorrect!

  3. dave

    I wasn’t expecting 500GB allowances until 5G was out. Painful pricing for people that don’t live in the countryside. Lets hope that when Three launch 5G that they have 500GB for £45/month and 300GB for £35/month.

    • Superfast Dream

      You’re not suggesting for one moment that people that live in the countryside are rich are you dave, lol? 🙂

  4. Spiderpig

    £100 for 500GB is pricey,

    From this, are we to assume that 5G (whenever it arrives), is likely to be equally/more expensive?

    • Historically you tend to get more data for the same sort of price as time goes on and with each new generation of technology. At launch 5G will attract a premium price but once it grows I expect you’ll pay a fair bit less for 500GB in the future. But it won’t start to truly erode fixed line unless they can deliver unlimited usage.

  5. craski

    £100 for 500GB is relatively expensive but if you have no other alternative it will be a welcome option for those areas that have been left behind by BDUK.

    • wireless pacman

      There is only a limited amount of spectrum available, and that has to be shared with all users off a mast. That will always impact there ability to provide “unlimited” tariffs or at least “truly unlimited” ones. Having said that, it would not surprise me to see the operators play with the averages from time to time – by which I mean cross their fingers that it does not get abused by a few punters.

      UK Broadband plus quite a few wisps seem to manage ish ok playing such averages.

    • S Wakeman

      Wireless Pacman – it wasn’t so long ago that the same applied to fixed line broadband I.e. throttling and traffic shaping being used extensively to manage the 5% of users utilising 90% of the bandwidth. 5G will bring with it more efficient spectrum usage and I would imagine that there are methods of getting the most out of 4G tech that can stretch its usefulness further.

  6. Guy Cashmore

    I’ve had no other connection except EE 4G to my home and business for nearly 2 years now, have to say the speed, ping and reliability have all been excellent, speed is 10 to 12 times faster than my only other alternative, ADSL via an EO line. I was paying EE 60p/GB initially, now paying 30p/GB, this latest 500GB offer at 20p/GB is good news. The price of data from EE has been falling faster than average consumption is increasing, if this pattern continues I can see 4G becoming the default option in areas like mine (very low population density with mostly very long EO lines). What I don’t understand is why none of the other mobile operators are anywhere close to EE in terms of data allowance and cost per GB, they have all been investing heavily in rural 4G coverage (O2 in particular) but with so few people using the service their ROI must be dire, using the equipment to deliver rural broadband seems a no brainer to me?

    • Superfast Dream

      I can imagine Three may be quick to react. As they already offer AYCE on a lot of their plans, albeit limited to non-tethering, it will be interesting to see what they respond with.

    • Mike

      The tether limit can be easily bypassed.

    • tech-bawlk

      Mike! ‘The tether limit can be easily bypassed.’ and how does one do this?

    • A_Builder

      @Guy Cashmore

      I agree.

      But on ROI the more GB of data you push through the cell tower (assuming you are paying a defined number of pence per GB) the better the ROI and with MIMO that is a better user experience than it used to be.

      And somehow I suspect throughput volumes are not at city centre levels on those towers any way. And with the homes in a valley being in different radius sectors there shouldn’t be that much over the air contention anyway.

      No contest 4G is far better than ADSL

  7. Michael V

    Three had the Home-Fi hub with 100GB for £29 a month. Think it’s still an option. They still do the 40GB option.
    EE will always be the high maintenance 4G provider!
    [Three’s hub bangs out signal further than my sky home WiFi hub]

  8. Simon

    Late evening on my phone I often hit 400Mbps + and about 80Mbps upload – if this can do that too or more I would be happy.

  9. EE

    £100 a month for 500GB. Make me laugh! Rip off EE

    • Guy Cashmore

      Unfortunately, some of us effectively have no choice but to pay EE whatever price they want, I don’t have a spare £45k to get a lease line installed, satellite is useless in bad weather and ADSL is too slow for most websites to load now, nothing else is available.

    • Mike

      People are so ungrateful, finally even an FTTC alternative is on the horizon and people just moan…

  10. Jordan McClements

    Paying £14 a month for 40GB with Three 4G mifi. Was 20GB but rang to cancel and they gave me double the allowance for staying. It’s not perfect, but at least 50 times better than the ADSL I used to have. Also can watch unlimited Netflix without it counting towards data allowance.
    But they do unlimited 4G phone sim for 27 a month I think and I read somewhere that they were no longer allowed to prevent you using it in a mifi device?

    • Guy Cashmore

      Yes can use Three phone sim in a mifi now, but it will still have the same tethering data limit currently. They have told OFCOM the limit will be removed by December for new customers, it remains to be seen if they will still offer unlimited after that point.

    • Mike

      You can bypass the tether limit and then only the 1TB softcap applies.

  11. Jordan McClements

    Ah right. So all data through a mifi device counts as tethered data?

  12. Ogilvie Jackson

    If you live up a remote valley in the Scottish Borders like I do ( 1.2 mg./ 11k from my EO line) , this all sounds like a gift from heaven !!!.
    The Scot Gov 4g infill £25m. program has arrived and our valley has been chosen as one of the initial 16 mast sites in Scotland.
    Should EE or Three come on board this free mast, then I and the rest of the residents will definitely be customers !
    Exciting times ahead…
    ps. what was that about Netflix! !

    • Guy Cashmore

      We’re on Dartmoor and when 4G arrived nearly 2 years ago it was transformational for us, you have got to keep an eye on the data consumption but it is getting easier as prices fall, yes a Netflix movie once or twice a week is now possible, not in HD as still too data heavy, but SD is fine.

    • Jordan McClements

      Three ‘go binge’ on most of their data plans allow you unlimited Netflix usage. I can confirm that using a 4G mifi device (unless you have a very weak signal I guess) you can watch 2 full hd video streams at the same time no problem at all 99% of the time and it doesn’t use any of your data allowance.

  13. Ogilvie Jackson

    Yes, sounds good Guy! I’m sure FTTP will creep up to these remote areas one day….if we live long enough !! , but Mobile BB.looks like the answer in the meantime.
    We have 5g to look forward to in the next few years on 700 MHZ, and that should find it’s way up remote valleys.
    We already see a big improvement with 800 MHZ LTE. It’s good to see companies like EE pushing and refining Mobile BB packages.

  14. Jim

    I’ve just ordered the 500GB for £100 option. I currently have two of the 50GB for £30 cards, so £60 for 100GB. Both are at end of contract, so I’m effectively going to be paying an extra £40/month but getting an extra 400GB.

    My exchange is due to get FTTC by December…..yeah and pigs might fly. EO line on an exchange servicing 130 properties; EE will be my best option for years to come.

    My two years with EE have been brilliant, getting 80Mb down and upwards of 60Mb up.

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