EE will charge £120 a year extra for 4G on the iPhone 5Dale Wright
Super-fast 4G internet access is something of a touchy subject. The UK has been slow to provide LTE 4G to customers, with mobile networks becoming frustrated at Ofcom’s decision-making process. With the launch of the Apple iPhone 5 came the promise of the UK’s first 4G provider, Everything Everywhere (EE), but many consumers are still confused about the options.
The new EE network is actually the over-arching brand name for T-Mobile and Orange, and it’s due to launch on October 30th. If you’ve held back on buying an iPhone 5 so you can be the first to benefit from 4G, you’ll be pleased to know that news is now emerging about the new operator, EE – but it’s not all good.
EE have announced that it will provide 4G to customers who take out an iPhone 5 contract, and the ten-times-faster internet access will be available in 16 UK cities. However, this will cost users an additional £120/year on average.
Perhaps it’s not surprising that there’s a hefty price tag attached to 4G. EE has spent £1.5 million per day upgrading its network over the last year, according to TheWeek.co.uk. It’s also the only network to offer 4G in the run up to Christmas. Other networks will be bidding for a slice of the 4G spectrum in January next year, with services due to go online in May, but that leaves EE with four or five months’ exclusivity.
Additionally, the current model of the iPhone 5 won’t work on O2 or Vodafone, so Apple will need to release a second version if the two networks are to offer super-fast internet on the handset. If it doesn’t, O2 and Vodafone customers will be stuck on 3G. Three will offer 4G on the existing iPhone 5, but not until 2013.
The issue of 4G, and the iPhone 5’s capabilities, has been a bit of a muddle so far. The news of a £120 average annual bill for 4G on EE is only likely to dismay people who have been anxiously waiting for the new network to launch.
Does the £120/year cost put you off upgrading to 4G? Let us know in the comments below.