Less Than One Week to EE’s 4G Launch
On Tuesday EE, previously known as Everything Everywhere, announced it gained 250,000 contract customers, increasing its smartphone users to almost three quarters of its subscription base.
The total number of customers fell 2.1 percent to 26.9 million after 393,000 users on prepay contracts left the network. Service revenue for the company, jointly owned by France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom, fell by 3 percent to £1.5 billion. When the underlying costs incurred by regulatory changes, including lower charges on international calls and on customers who switch networks, are factored out, revenue rose by 3 percent.
“We are delivering solid revenue performance and successfully attracting high value contract customers. We have achieved key business goals in the past quarter and firmly established EE as the UK market leader.” said Neal Milson, chief financial officer of the company, for The Times.
The company also announced that over half of its subscribers have moved to higher-margin contracts. Customers who sign a two-year deal for Samsung’s Galaxy S3 and Apple’s iPhone 5 spent on average five times more compared to a prepay user because they consume larger amounts of data.
“When you look at the smartphones in our base, 92 percent of these new contract customers are with a smartphone, up 8 points year-on-year.” Olaf Swantee, chief executive of EE, told reporters on Wednesday.
**One Week to EE’s 4G Launch**
!m[The Mobile Operator Seduces New Smartphone Users With UK’s Fastest Mobile Network](/uploads/story/635/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)On 30 October EE is expected to launch its fourth generation wireless service in some 11 cities across the UK. The cheapest plan available will be £36 per month, which includes unlimited calls and text messages but only 500mb of data. From that base price, the data plans go up in increments of £5, each delivering more data. 1GB, 3GB, 5GB and 8GB data plans are therefore priced at £41, £46, £51 and £56 per month, respectively.
EE’s ambition is to cover 6 more cities by the end of this year and 98 percent of the country’s population by 2014.
The 4G network is expected to be 5 times faster than its 3G predecessor, allowing quick access to films, gaming and music. Additionally, EE will launch an online film shop allowing free streaming of one HD film per customer every week. The films will be offered through a partnership with Filmflex and streaming them won’t be counted towards the data limit set by the plan. The mobile operator will also offer a music service in partnership with Deezer as well as TV streaming.
“We expect a strong penetration of EE into the business market and we expect a lot of consumers in the metropolitan areas to move to 4G.” said Mr Swantee.
Other mobile operators such as O2 and Vodafone will be able to launch their 4G service in the middle of 2013 at the earliest. EE was the only carrier to get regulatory approval this year to use licenses in the 1,800 MHZ spectrum, while his competitors have to wait for the auction of the 800 MHZ and 2,600 MHZ frequencies set to begin later this year.
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