EE announces first UK 4G mobile phone plans, not quite what was expected?

One could easily turn this into a hate-filled rant at EE, but we'll remain calm with a cup of tea in one hand and the crumpet in the other. According to a press release sent out this morning (crossing over Nokia incidentally), EE announced its UK 4G plans, and what it will be charging consumers to make use of the extra speeds offered by the UK's first LTE network.

Now don't get us wrong, we expected a slight jump in pricing due to the exclusivity held by EE on the improved network speed, but what has been revealed by the company is almost mind boggling. 

Should you not currently own a 4G handset, be prepared to fork out for the following plans:

  • £36 - 500MB
  • £41 - 1GB
  • £46 - 3GB
  • £51 - 5GB
  • £56 - 8GB

No, we haven't made them up. You're expected to deal with a 500MB cap on the UK's first 4G network, should you find £36 more than enough for the service you'll be expected to receive. While those in other markets have been known for dealing with tighter carrier data allowances, here in the UK we've always enjoyed "unlimited data", which is what many networks currently supply - at a cheaper price than the above.

To make matters worse, there's no unlimited option. 8GB is the sky, should you wish to venture into space, you might have to jump ship and wait until the other carriers are able to launch their 4G networks to compete with EE. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel should you already own a 4G smartphone.

SIM-only plans from EE will also offer data with unlimited SMS and voice calls on each plan, and turns out to be slightly cheaper than the above full contracts.

  • £21 - 500MB
  • £26 - 1GB
  • £31 - 3GB
  • £36 - 5GB

EE is not only the UK's first 4G network, but it's also the first unintentionally set BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) choice. EE states that they will inform customers when data allowances are almost met, and will offer the chance to purchase data add-ons to provide a slight boost to the set limit.

Thankfully there's no restrictions on how data can be used - VoIP, tethering, etc. is all within the plans. Also, BT Wi-fi is also included at no extra cost, providing access to millions of wireless hotspots across the UK, which will save some MBs.

Businesses have a slightly more reasonable deal on EE (almost double the data for the same price compared to consumer plans):

  • £35 - 1GB
  • £40 - 4GB
  • £45 - 8GB
  • £50 - 16GB

Unfortunately, being British, this has sparked some EE feedback on social media websites, but hopefully EE will increase allowances or reduce cost for the higher data caps. Still, for the average consumer, is 500MB / 8GB enough? Especially with increased network speed, which could well increase the usage considerably if said consumer streams video, etc.

Find out more information (opens in new tab) over at EE.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • LOL, those are ridiculous. 
    Here in Sweden and in general in Scandinavia there's no data caps, you only pay for speed. Unlimited LTE full speed costs 33 euros a month. 
    20 euros for LTE 50mb/s.
  • envy u.... i pay fcking 48 euros for 1.4 GB data a month -_-
  • and its not even LTE...  just 3G -_-
  • I would love to be on that carrier. The only one to offer unlimited data is Telenor. Telia, 3, Tele2 and Halebop all have limited data plans. After the GB's is used the speed goes down to silly slow speed and you have to wait for the month to end before the speed goes back.
  • But then you pay considerably more taxes than other countries
  • That's just appalling. My 3G speed has been destroyed since Tmob moved me to EE. It's disgraceful that they're abusing the market like that, we already get ripped off!
  • Their LTE coverage is still quite minimal anyway so not really an issue for most people just yet. I pay £10 a month for unlimited (3G) data and I use about 4gb a month as I stream a lot of music. I don't particularly need faster speeds, so I'll be sticking with what I have at the moment thank you kindly.
  • Thing is the coverage will be none existent so you might think to get your new phone with a 3G contract, however the Lumia 920 will only be available on a 4G contract so they're essentially charging you twice as much as you're currently paying for a service they can't actually give you.
  • Do we know its strictly 4G only contracts? Someone below mentions the Vodafone deal- is that a 4G only deal?
  • Voda haven't announced 4G, so I assume its 3G Deals
  • Please do excuse me for my ignorance, here in Canada we've had LTE for at least a year and a bit now, and we're a pretty low-density low-population country.  What took the UK, which is much smaller in area and has a population of about 2.5x ours, so long?  have there been spectrum issues?
    On an unrelated note, although the prices are ridiculous, the SIM-only prices are quite reasonable.  Why can't it be made standard globally that if you BYOP (bring your own phone), you don't have to pay monthly prices designed to help subsidize a phone?
  • Basically its Ofcom, the department that deals with the spectrum. First we was waiting for the digital switchover to be completed, which was pushed back to late 2012, then the date of the auction of the bands was delayed. Us Brits always come last.
  • actually, not all ofcoms fault this time
    ALL carriers are to blame, the auction date was held back by ofcom, yes thats right, but EE had bandwidth available for a long time, other carriers (O2 & Vodafone) were blocking their usage of that bandwidth until the auction, which was also delaying the auction because of the legal battle
    that is now over, and O" & the others have agreed to behave and stop whinning for a while, and let EE start their network early, giving them a 6 month / 1 year monopoly on the UK's 4G network
    this unfortunately means that they can set whatever prices they want as there is no competition...and this being the UK, what will happen when the others turn up, they will match EE's pricing, not undercut in short, we've been fucked over, and i no longer want to use 4g, not for those prices, i can use wifi for similar speeds and its fucking free
  • Lame! Im not a data monster by any means but this tramples all over my current Orange plan. Speaking of that, what's the deal there anyway? Will the 920 be on Orange contracts or only new sky high EE contracts..?? Anyone know?
  • They must be smoking something to think people are going to pay this especially when you add in the handset costs
  • What a rip off. Staying with unlimited data on giffgaff for £12.
  • I really hope that these are incorrect.... With EE having the 920, I was gonna jump on the EE bandwagon as soon as my contract ends in late November leaving O2; but considering I'm paying £36 for 1GB 3G on my tariff the price that EE are showing are a joke!
  • Its £29 per month for a nokia 920 with 1GB on vodafone via digital-phones which might be of interest.
  • I hope you're right that Voda is indeed having it
  • Just noticed they have changed it, before the phone was free at £29 p/m but now they have bumped up the price to £199. Hope people snagged it before the price increase.
  • Absolute joke just hoping the others not on similar prices....always Found orange expensive tho not been in tmob before .
  • Isn't it hard to type with a cup of tea in one hand and the crumpet in the other? :p
  • This entire post was written by headbutting the keyboard! :-)
  • You must have a pointy head, Rich... Those prices are shocking. With LTE you could blow through 500mb in minutes.
  • Who would want to? I'd spend the rest of the afternoon just sitting there enjoying what's in my hands.
    Actually that sounded a little off
  • Ofcom is to blame for this. Give a company a monopoly on 4G and this is what you get.
    These prices and Nokia Lumia 920 exclusivity don't bode well.
    Heck they are even shafting their own custoners (orange\Tmobile) £99 to switch if you have only been with them a few months and have to buy out contract (with 33% discount) if you have a current contract.
  • BTW are we really used to unlimited plans in the UK? One ONE network offers it. 3UK.
  • Giff Gaff who I think are an O2 company, also have unlimited deals. So the market currently has them out there.
  • I thought T Mobile did with their full monty tariff too. 
  • I'm on unlimited data with TMobile. Had it for years and not happy about having to pay more for much less when I won't be in a 4G area just to get the Lumia920.
  • And i think virgin do too
  • 2GB Data at £15.99 isn't so bad, although it is 18months. 
  • Sim only that is
  • Could someone convert dollars to UK currency for me?
  • You're on the internet, use Bing and do it yourself.
  • Not sure about virgin but I believe T Mobile has now capped heir 'unlimited' plan.
  • Even on my very basic 500mg TMoble plan it has unlimited surfing and email, yet even this looks absent. As that contract is ending, I look forward to TMobile (oops EE) BS to try and sell me this. They will have to offer me free alcohol for a year & even then its overpriced. Should be good sport. 
  • Yes, virgin do several unlimited plans. I currently have a sim only, 200 min anytime calls to any network, unlimited text, unlimited virgin to virgin calls and unlimited data for £12. Not bad.
  • £36 = $57.63 US
  • I've been with orange for over ten years, with more than one contract, I thought loyalty ment something. Not happy with them anymore. I'll be looking for a new provider.
  • Try tweeting @vodafoneukdeals. I jumped from Orange after 12 years. Great decision, no texts about missed calls as my coverage is great virtually everywhere.
  • Lets see what the next few days bring, but this really doesn't bode well for Nokia and the Lumia 820/920 if EE have an exclusive deal of any significant length. The EE announcement truly is ridiculous for a product with very limited coverage and limited speeds. As others have said, the pricing / allowances are shocking & I cant see sales being anything other than incidental.
    And with EE already advertising & pricing Samsungs, HTC and the IPhone as their phones, Nokia are already behind in the pecking order, even in the smallest market place. Hopefully it is an LTE or colour exclusive, because here in the UK, giving an exclusive in this market place, to EE, is possibly the strangest decision possible Elop could have made, if he truly wants to sell mobile phones here. 
  • ^this.
  • Yeah I'll be sticking to my SIM-only plan with 3UK and grabbing a Lumia separately.
  • I was dreading this day would come...
  • I cannot belive this.  I really do think that we should make our opinions known via twitter.  I've already sent these:
    @EE 500MB for £36? I would let that slide 5 years ago but you are crippling progress with those prices.
    @EE To expand on this,I can burn through 500MB of data in only 6 minutes at 10mbps.That is your entire monthly allowance gone in 6 minutes
  • I've been throwing crap at them all morning.
  • I can't see how anyone in their right mind would buy any of these plans. Ridiculous.
    I pay EUR 10 a month for unlimited dualcarrier (HSDPA+) 3G. That's reasonable.
  • I don't want to give up my unlimited 3g for a more expensive 4g limited tarif and I don't even get 4g in my area! Although, the SIM only tarif is better but then I will have to purchase an unlocked lumia 920 upfront. If the Nokia Lumia 920 is only available on 4g then goodbye Nokia.
  • You can run a Lumia 920 on a 3G data plan :)
    perhaps it is best to wait until all our networks have 4G before signing up to a 4G data plan? competition should bring better data allowances or prices. 500mb is no not workable on 4G.
    it harks back to the days when Orange and Vodafone sold BlackBerry's with only 6mb, YES, 6mb of data!!!
  • Lol I want what they are smokin!
  • Rich, most UK networks don't have unlimited data - I believe only T-Mobile and 3 did that.
    In any case this sucks for T-Mobile and Orange users as EE took a huge chunk of spectrum from 3G to 4G. Even worse, next year same will happen to O2 and Vodafone users...
  • As much as would like the 920 I'm not going to switch networks as the 4G coverage is poor at best. Sure the 920 is (probably) the best WP8 device but I'm going to be sticking with o2 and I'll be getting the 8X. I am happy with o2 and the data that I get. If EE had vastly more 4G coverage I might've considered switching but those price are very off-putting.
  • After learning some economics with a course that i am doing LOL, i think there is a reason why prices are that high, but still im not willing to pay more for 4G when practically everywhere i go has wifi available and reliable 3G signal. Im already with orange and I can upgrade next month but im leaving them i really dislike orange. im going back to sim free handsets and going on to virgin mobile they offer pretty good deals on sim only contracts especially if you are already a customer, on top of that they use EE's signal (correct me if wrong) and i think they are currently in talks to try launch 4G ahead of other networks. Is anyone already with virgin mobile UK? if yes do you recommend and why?
  • Hi jenjen4u
    I'm with Virgin and can't fault them. Their sim only deals are the best in my opinion, especially as you get a discount if you use Virginmedia.
    Coverage is great and customer service is great too.
  • Meanwhile in America...
  • Same story as ever.
    The fully mobile web has been possible for at least 10 years now, but data costs have always prohibited its use.
    By the way - i assume the iphone will be exempt as usual and have a special package - just like orange always had.
  • WHOA!!!!! and i thought Indian 3G prices were bloated!!!! I hope 4G takes its sweet time to reach my shores!! LOL!!
  • Jeez I thought telecom NZ was a rip off, $19(nzd) {about £10} = 60min free talk, 500mb data, 5000 txts, same on all networks across nz now Vodafone and 2degrees followed suit which is good :D
  • I wonder of they'll send us some free flowers if we switch. That always softens the aftereffects of violation.
  • Haha! Flowers would certain help, but I would prefer some lube before hand! ;)
  • I feel bad for the mother country, you all are getting bent over a barrel and rammed real hard with plans like that.
  • "Exorbitant Everywhere"
  • Extremely Expensive
  • And when you add in the price of the handset which I think they have said the iPhone 5 will be over £100 on the lowest priced option and you will even have to pay something on the highest it is going to be massively expensive.
  • Those prices seem very much in line with what we pay here in the US, if not even a little cheaper.
  • Not sure whether to wait for O2 to get the 920 or just go with plan B and get the ATIV S next month. . .
  • I was looking forward to getting the Lumia 920 and the pure view camera but not at those prices. I'll switch from T-Mobile to Three and get the HTC 8X.
  • £5 more for x5 the speed seems ok to me. Already pay £36 for unlimited calls texts and 1gb data so £41 for the same with a lumia and speedy internet, im in!
  • £8 per month for 600mins, 3000sms and unlimited data (I use about 9 - 15GB per month) with Three... Who have been upgrading their network to HSDPA+ DC so its actually faster than EE's offering if you have a compatible phone. Go outside of a major urban area, and you struggle even to get 3G coverage with EE, with 3 the bare minimum is 3G, with guys HSDPA coverage. EE is shit, 3 is where it is at, Nokia have fooked up BIG TIME giving exclusivity to EE for the Lumia 920, should have given it to Vodafone or o2 if they really had to give it to someone. This announcement just killed the Lumia 920 overnight for the UK market. How the hell do people live without unlimited data with WP7 handsets, just a few YouTube bids etc, and your approaching 1GB, I dont understand it...
  • I hate to say it, buy you're right...
  • You pay 56/mo on a 8GB/24mo plan and get a L920 for 19.99 it seems..
    These prices are including a phone which is what many seem to be missing here.
    While high it was expected and I am not that surprised tbh. Early adopters usually pay top dollar.. ehh sterling.. :)
  • I dont think many are missing that at all. You can get the SGS 3 on Three (The One plan 3G) with unltd data for £20 per month less than the price you mention...per month. 
    What they have got is - simply, 4G (and limited in many ways 4G) is not worth that premium. 
    If you want the L920 then get a Sim only 3G plan - with unlimited internet for £10-£15 (different options are out there, esp with cashback), buy a Lumia 920 (unlocked) and cost over 2 years = £450 (handset, estimate) + £360 (max) = £810
    Versus the 500mb EE option £36x24 = £864 + £149 = £1013 minimum. Tied into one contract on a locked device.
    4G is not worth that premium. 
  • That's as bad as Australian 4g, and we have a ridiculously low population density.