UK’s first major LTE network goes live, EE have 700 stores and retrained staff to sell 4G services
Today is the day that EE flick the switch and let 11 UK cities bathe in LTE connectivity (for compatible devices of course). From today the service is available in Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield and Southampton. EE are pledging eye watering expansion too at 2000 square miles per month, expecting 5 more cities (Belfast, Derby, Hull, Newcastle, Nottingham) by Christmas and 98% total UK coverage by the end of 2014. Big promises indeed.
EE’s high speed 4G network allows for
- Access to the web in an instant
- High speed downloads (email attachments and apps)
- Watch live TV on the move
- Play live multiplayer on the go
- High quality video calls
- HD voice (compatible handsets)
This time last week saw EE release their pricing for LTE contracts in the UK. Cue lots of gnashing of teeth as techies and consumer experts decided whether or not the pricing was fair or ‘worth it’ in comparison to the current 3G offerings available. The consensus seems to be that the prices are reasonable if maybe a little steep considering the data caps involved. Seeing as EE are currently the sole LTE providers in the UK and a premium had to be added to make business sense the prices are only to be expected and in all seriousness we’re probably lucky they aren’t higher (although a data cap range starting from about 1-2GB and ending around the 25GB mark would have made more sense given the speeds we’re talking about and how the service is being advertised).
EE have also been busy rebranding existing T-Mobile and Orange stores around the UK (here in Bournemouth the Orange store is currently getting a makeover but the T-Mo store down the road is not) and now claim to have 700 stores to buy from as well as investing in training for staff to sell the service and compatible handsets (I feel like testing the new recruits this weekend…). Personally I’ll be waiting for the network to expand into my local area and for offerings from other operators to become available following the spectrum auction later this year before I take the plunge although I can see why businesses and power users in the covered areas would want to take advantage now when they can.
Currently EE and the likes of Phones4U (selling EE contracts) are the only places to get hold of LTE compatible devices in the UK. For the time being SIM free LTE devices aren’t available although here at Clove we’re keeping our ears close to the ground to see if and when this changes.