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EE hails ‘world-beating’ 4G network as it ups speeds

Paul Withers
July 17, 2013

Operator launches ‘double-speed’ 4G in 12 UK cities, with headline speeds of 150Mbps

EE CEO Olaf Swantee last week described the operator’s 4G network as the best in the world during a launch event in London.

Swantee was speaking at a press event held at the National Theatre on July 4 to announce EE was switching on “double-speed” 4G in 12 cities – two more than previously stated (see graphic below).

Average 4G speeds in these areas will reach 24-30Mbps, with theoretical headline speeds of up to 150Mbps.

The network will cover a quarter of the UK population.

Swantee (pictured) claimed EE’s 4G speeds are unrivalled anywhere in the world.

He said: “When we launched 4G, we talked about a vision of launching the best network and syllabus so that customers can trust us with their digital lives.

“Simply through the launch of the brand and by bringing 4G to the UK, we have already realised that aim. We are the biggest, fastest and undoubtedly the best mobile network.

“We have a network that is faster than the US, faster than any other European 4G network and in line with the fastest networks in Korea.

“We stand for innovation so what we will talk to you today is how we stay one step ahead and how we change the way people use their smartphones and tablets when 4G comes to their area.”

Products and services
In addition, EE chief marketing officer for consumer Pippa Dunn unveiled a number of new products and services to run on the operator’s 4G network, which it claimed will make its offerings more accessible and appealing to customers. All go live on July 17, except the Bright Box 2 (see below), which is released later this summer.

The new products included new ‘Shared 4GEE Plans’, enabling up to five devices (including mobile, laptop, tablet, dongle) to run off a single 4GEE plan and a single bill.

It allows the lead account to split the amount of data available across multiple devices, with alerts being sent when the allowance is close to being met.

From £12 per month, customers can receive unlimited texts and calls. Up to 20GB of data can be shared among users.

Other benefits of joining a sharer plan include two-for-one cinema tickets with EE Film, EE’s 24-hour mobile replacement service Clone Phone Lite, inclusive content add-ons across music, games and TV, and fast-track access to EE’s customer services team. It will officially launch on July 17.

Dunn said: “Our customers tell us their lives would be simpler and possibly cheaper with one single plan per household. These plans offer simplicity, value and flexibility for consumers and open up 4G to a wider audience. It’s a market-leading proposition that shows we are innovating ahead over rivals.”

Prepay broadband
EE also unveiled its first prepay broadband offering on its 4G network. Customers can connect up to 10 Wi-Fi-compatible devices at a time (smartphone, tablet, laptop, games console, camera or TV) to a portable Wi-Fi product such as the Alcatel L800 dongle for £50 or the Alcatel Y800 Mobile Wi-Fi for £70.

Plans start from £15 a month for a data SIM that comes pre-loaded with 2GB of data for 30 days. For the first month on sale customers are provided with triple the data allowance for the same price.

They can also top up their data on any prepay plan with add-ons priced at £3 for 500MB over one day, and £15 (2GB), £20 (4GB) and £30 (10GB) over 30 days.

Dunn said: “We’ve had numerous requests from customers at other networks that would love to use a 4G dongle to make their laptop superfast. These plans are perfect for them, and with great indoor and outdoor experiences on 4G, we expect many new customers to benefit.”

Cash on Tap
EE has also launched a new contactless mobile payments service in partnership with MasterCard, called Cash on Tap.

The service enables customers to top up their smartphone to make payments of up to £20 by tapping a compatible terminal.

EE said over 230,000 outlets nationwide, including McDonald’s, Boots and Greggs, will offer the service, with more contactless readers being installed daily.

To use the service, customers download and open the ‘EE Tap Wallet’ from the Google Play store and select the ‘Cash on Tap’ app from the Wallet. Once set up,

EE will automatically add £5 to the balance. The first time a customer adds money with any debit or credit card, EE will also add £5 to the balance.

The service is compatible with the Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S III LTE and Sony Xperia SP, with more handsets to follow in the coming weeks.

Dunn said: “This is an other example of how we are using partnerships to innovate and produce compelling reasons as to why customers should join EE.”

Bright Box 2
EE also unveiled a new wireless router called Bright Box 2, becoming the first operator to offer a “plug and play” mobile broadband service to UK customers.

Bright Box 2, which is compatible with smartphones, tablets, laptops and televisions, is designed to complement EE’s ‘superfast’ fibre network, providing double home Wi-Fi speeds of 76Mbps.

It is available out of the box, requiring no installation by an engineer.

EE said it offers a “new standard” of Wi-Fi, called ‘Wireless AC’, which effectively allows users to plug it in anywhere in the home.

Bright Box creates two separate network bands, and the strongest will automatically connect to your device. Pricing has yet to be disclosed.

Dunn said: “We’re not simply content with proving our mobile network, we’re maintaining our focus on delivering the best in-home experience for our customers who take advantage of the speeds of our fibre broadband service.”

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