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ISP EE UK Launch Home Fibre Broadband Without Phone Service

Tuesday, August 25th, 2020 (7:51 am) - Score 18,600
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UK ISP EE has this week become the latest internet provider to adopt SOGEA technology (standalone copper broadband), which means that their “fibre broadband” (FTTC and G.fast) packages no longer come with a phone (voice) calls service attached. Just don’t expect to save much money.

At present most consumers on Openreach’s national copper-based network tend to buy broadband and a traditional landline phone service as a seamless bundle, although under the hood the broadband aspect is technically just an optional add-on. But today very few of us make much use of our home phones (mobile, VoIP and internet messaging are more popular) and the march to all-IP based networks is slowly making traditional phone lines redundant.

NOTE: SOGEA does NOT make broadband-only connections significantly cheaper vs broadband & phone bundles because you still need the same copper line. Only a tiny amount of the delivery cost sits with the voice side, which goes over the top of this.

However, Single Order Generic Ethernet Access (SOGEA) changes this approach by enabling ISPs to sell a physical line just for broadband (i.e. the same copper line rental still exists, but the voice component has been stripped out), with the voice service thus either moving to a VoIP based solution from your ISP (i.e. the handsets plug-in to your router) or being completely dropped.

For example, Sky Broadband already offers SOGEA based FTTC and G.fast broadband packages, although they compensate for the loss of traditional landline phone services by including a VoIP solution for calling. By comparison EE seems to have taken a different approach and they’re launching SOGEA based packages without any VoIP solution (standalone broadband only).

The catch here is that if you want to add landline and calls back into your package then it will cost from an additional £8 per month, which is a fair bit more expensive than before. The bonus is that for £8 you now get unlimited minutes and 1500 minutes to mobile, although quite why they aren’t offering a cheaper pay-as-you-go calls solution by default we don’t know (some people like to retain a phone line just for incoming calls and admin etc.).

Fibre 36Mbps
PRICE: £26 a month for 18 months (£33 thereafter)

NOTE: If you’re an EE mobile customer then £26 becomes £23.

Fibre Plus 67Mbps
PRICE: £30 a month for 18 months (£36 thereafter)

NOTE: If you’re an EE mobile customer then £30 becomes £27.

Fibre Max 145Mbps
PRICE: £46 a month

NOTE: If you’re an EE mobile customer then £46 becomes £35.

Fibre Max 300Mbps
PRICE: £47 a month for 18 months (£53 thereafter)

NOTE: If you’re an EE mobile customer then £47 becomes £42.

One other problem here is that EE, and indeed other ISPs that adopt SOGEA for standalone broadband, need to be very clear about the fact that new customers who swap to them without taking the optional phone service may lose their phone number. Granted to some this will be obvious, but consumers have become so subconsciously familiar with the old approach that they may not all be expecting the loss of their number.

Otherwise EE’s “fibre” packages all include unlimited data usage, a Smart Hub wireless broadband router and existing EE Pay Monthly mobile subscribers will benefit from an extra 5GB of mobile data (20GB on their top Fibre Max plans). The Fibre Max packages also attract a £25 one-off setup fee and if you need a new line installed then that’s another £50, although most switches won’t require the latter. Options also exist to add Apple TV 4K.

Finally, we should mention that the SOGEA variant of ADSL2+ isn’t ready yet and thus EE’s standard broadband package continues to come with a traditional landline phone service attached.

Leave a Comment
10 Responses
  1. Buggerlugz says:

    I got excited then, thinking they might be actually laying coax from street cabinets to homes. Alas no, its vanilla ADSL. So it’d be interesting if it even competed with 4g.

    1. John says:

      Why anyone would go to the trouble of upgrading twisted pair to coax in 2020 is beyond me.

      If you’re going to the trouble of replacing/upgrading the local loop (between cabinet and home) then fibre is the obvious choice.

      It’s not vanilla ADSL either.
      It’s VDSL2 (and also G.Fast where available).

  2. Aimdev says:

    What has been done to allow emergency calls, especially if your’phone line’ is via a router which has no power, and you have no mobile connection, and you live in a hamlet miles from anywhere and all the other residents are away.
    Yes it may seem a bit strange, but there are people in this situation.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      So long as you can power the router yourself (easy enough with a battery pack) then that phone service should still work.

    2. Andrew Ferguson says:

      Remember this is the launch of a without voice service product (either digital or over copper), so if emergency calls and running during a power cut is an issue for you then its DIY or do not order this service.

      For those who identify as vulnerable if a provider does not have you on record as such, then support for a battery backup option should be available. This requirement is probably why no big rush to digital voice.

      UPS systems that will run.an ONT/router/dect handset for a few hours are easy enough to find.

    3. Mike says:

      Isn’t the whole point of buying a hamlet in the middle of nowhere is so you can have a quiet lonely death?

  3. anon says:

    So FTTC with a data only landline with EE is £8 cheaper per month? EE broadband is still not that cheap though and they tie you to an 18 month contract. I wonder if other ISPs will offer similar savings.

  4. Caravankev says:

    Is there a business package on similar lines yet or not?

  5. Lee says:

    Monopoly with the internet they only go with one of our best and that’s hull

  6. Tim Procter says:

    Am I correct in saying EE do not provide FTTP in the UK.

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