4G from Everything Everywhere to launch next week
The UK's first 4G service will be launched next week. Here's a rundown of what it costs.
Everything Everywhere (EE), the joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile, has released details about how much its new 4G phone and mobile broadband tariffs will cost.
The new service, which promises to be up to five times faster than the current 3G network, will be available on tariffs starting from £36 a month from next Tuesday (30th October).
Existing Orange and T-Mobile customers with a 4G-enabled phone can switch to a new 4G phone plan without having to pay a fee. More discounts for other customers are promised soon.
The first EE 4G phone tariffs will include unlimited calls, texts and a set data allowance.
At the starting price of £36 a month you’ll get 500MB of data and this will increase to £56 a month for an allowance of 8GB.
Home broadband tariffs
For home broadband users, a new fixed-line fibre-optic service will be available, which is predicted to be up to ten times faster than current standard plans.
These contracts will be available from £15 a month and will include off-peak calls, a free router and a 40GB data allowance.The speed of the basic contract (for £15) is up to 38Mbps whereas if you pay £25 this goes up to a maximum of 76Mbps. You'll also only get an unlimited data allowance when you pay the higher monthly fee of £20 or £20.
This isn't the cheapest deal on the market – there are deals from £7.25 a month at the moment – and you’ll also need to factor in a line rental fee of £14 a month and a £35 connection fee.
Mobile broadband tariffs
You can get 4G on a tablet or laptop on the move too. Plans start at £15.99 a month for a 2GB allowance on an 18-month contract, rising to £25.99 a month with a 5GB allowance. On a 24-month contract, you'll pay £25.99 for 2GB up to £35.99 up to 5GB.
You can see full details of all the plans at the EE website.
EE Film Store
One of the big selling points for those signing up to EE is its new EE Film Store service. Described by the company as a ‘one-stop shop for film’ it will include deals such as two-for-one cinema tickets as pioneered by Orange Wednesdays.
Customers can also download or stream films and trailers and search cinema listings into one place and the service will include a ‘pause and play’ facility on both mobiles and PCs to give the viewer the flexibility to watch a film whenever and wherever they like.
The new Film Store service is described as having the largest catalogue of new film releases in the UK, with more than five times the number of new releases than other providers, which could see it rival services such as Sky’s Now TV.
Subscribers will get a free film to download or stream every week until February 2013 and it won't be counted as part of your data allowance.
Who can use it?
Before you head to your nearest EE provider, remember there is a slight catch as these services are not yet available nationwide.
The 4G network will initially only be available in ten cities across the UK; Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow and Sheffield.
Towards the end of the year people in Belfast, Derby, Hull, Nottingham, Newcastle and Southampton will also be able to sign up.
To check if you'll be able to get it, you can enter your postcode on the EE website to find out.
There’s also another loophole to jump through before you can get 4G on your phone – your phone needs to be 4G enabled.
At the moment there are only a few on the market, including the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy SIII LTE, Nokia Lumia 920, Nokia Lumia 820, HTC One XL and the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE. However, as the service is rolled out across the country more will be launched.
For those people who already have one of these phones (but no existing contract), you can sign up to the EE service now without having to pay anything extra. Customers can do this via a SIM-only plan which starts at £21 for 500MB up to £36 for 5GB of data.
You can also upgrade for free to a 4G phone if you're an existing Orange or T-Mobile customer in the first six months of a new contract for a one-off fee of £99.
Should I get it?
As it's the first ever 4G service to be launched, many people will be keen to get their hands on the 'fastest ever' broadband network as soon as possible.
The mobile deal is pretty competitive and it is just £5 more expensive than an equivalent deal for the 3G network. When taking the iPhone 5 with a tariff including unlimited texts and minutes and 500MB data you would have to pay £37 a month (plus an upfront charge of £99) on Vodafone Red. For exactly the same allowance you can get the phone with 4G from EE for £41 a month (plus a charge of £109.99).
However, when it comes to the 4G mobile network, as there is currently only one provider offering the service there is very little competition. In the new year the other major providers, such as Vodafone and 02, will bring out their own tariffs so it might be worth waiting until then (if you can) for a more affordable deal.