updated 07:18 am EDT, Tue October 30, 2012
Carrier turns on 4G coverage in 11 cities
Everything Everywhere has turned on its 4G network in the UK. The new network, jointly created by Orange and T-Mobile, has gone live in 11 cities across the country, in the first wave of the carrier's national rollout that will see 98 percent of the UK population covered by the end of the year 2014.
The initial cities to get the high-speed 4G coverage are Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield, and Southampton. A further five cities will receive EE coverage before Christmas, while the expansion to rural areas set to commence in 2013. The company claims that this will be the "fastest rollout of any UK network in history," covering an extra 2,000 square miles every month.
While the network is being lauded as a high-speed mobile network, the same cannot be said for the pricing strategy. All contracts on the network offer unlimited calls and texts, with data being the differentiator. A plan offering a 500MB allowance costs £36 ($57) per month on a two-year contract, rising to £46 ($73) for the one-year counterpart. The highest allowance of 8GB per month at a cost of £56 ($90 ) and £66 ($106) respectively is far lower than some of its competitors, for example Three and its One Plan offers uncapped data access at 3G speeds for roughly half that of EE's offerings. The company defended its reluctance to offer a higher plan by pointing out that the top 10-percent of data users on Orange and T-Mobile use an average of 6GB, less than that of the highest EE plan.
Aside from the mobile network, the carrier will also be offering fiber-based broadband to 11 million premises, at speeds claimed to be ten times faster than standard broadband connections.