Everything Everywhere has announced today that it is rebranding as ‘EE’ and has shown off its plans to roll out 4G services across the UK
EE has been quietly laying the groundwork for 4G in the UK for some time. The merging, upgrading and installation of new technologies within the T-Mobile and Orange networks has been happening out of sight and knowledge of the average consumer for a while but now the joint venture between the two major operators has been made about as public as possible with today’s announcement.
The network has been switched on and from today users in select UK cities will be able to connect to EE’s 4G service with a compatible device. EE has announced the Nokia Lumia 920 and the Samsung Galaxy S3 as devices that will be 4G compatible with a nod towards future HTC devices and “other brands” – a clear hint to the much anticipated iPhone 5 due to be showcased tomorrow.
The branding is interesting here. Everything Everywhere remains the name of the company and venture however EE is the brand that will be selling and marketing the new services. The T-Mobile and Orange brands will continue to be active in the UK and as everything is on the same network it seems that current customers will be given options to upgrade to the new faster services (albeit one would assume at some price). No news yet on whether new T-Mo/Orange customers will be included here. If not this could point to a big push on getting people to join / transfer to the EE brand. Whether this means that we will see the phasing out of the T-Mobile and Orange brands in years to come and a slow changing in high street stores remains to be seen.
4G technology is fast enough and EE’s network has enough capacity to also allow them to provide home broadband and so EE has also announced they will become a new face in this increasingly competitive market space as well with a fixed line fibre optic offering that could directly compete with the likes of Virgin Media and BT Infinity.
From today the 4 cities that are being used to trial the 4G network are London, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol. EE has made a commitment to extend this to 16 cities or roughly 30-40% of the UK population before Christmas and a 98% total coverage of the UK by 2014.
The full list of cities to have 4G by Christmas is: Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Newcastle, Sheffield and Southampton.