What is 4G?
4G is the latest mobile phone technology that promises up to download data up to five times faster than 3G networks. In practice this means you could stream and HD video on your phone, or tablet, without any buffering or delays, just as you might on a good quality home broadband connection.
Read our What is 4G? guide for more information about 4G and how it could affect you.
How much will it cost?
Like all new technologies 4G won’t come cheap. So far EE, the owner of Orange and T-Mobile, is the only network to launch a 4G service. It is offering 24 month 4G plans – which come with unlimited calls and texts – from £36 a month, although for this you only get 500MB of data that you technically could use up in less than 4 minutes on the new network.
A full list of the 24 month plans (which come with a 4G handset) is listed below.
- 500MB of data – £36 a month
- 1GB of data – £41 a month
- 3GB of data – £46 a month
- 5GB of data – £51 a month
- 8GB of data – £56 a month
Once you go over your monthly allowance your web browser will be directed to a page where you can purchase further data – so you will never suddenly receive a much bigger bill than you expect after using too much data in a month.
These data add-ons will cost £3 for 50MB, £6 for 500MB, £15 for 2GB or £20 for 4GB.
EE is also offering 12 month deals with the same data limits, although these cost an extra £10 a month.
Is 500MB enough data for 4G? We look at how fast you could get through your allowance.
In a further attempt to prevent ‘bill shock’, EE has introduced a new £5 a month package to take your unlimited minutes and texts abroad with you. This will only be available in selected countries but it will cover the EU and countries including Australia, USA and Russia.
In terms of data, like when you go over your monthly allowance you will be directed to a page where you can buy a data add-on for use abroad. In Europe these cost from £1 for 3MB to £35 for 200MB, with other countries costing more.
4G Sim only deals
If you’ve already got a 4G-enabled smartphone such as an unlocked iPhone 5, you can get a Sim only deal that will allow you to use the 4G network. These deals work with the same data limits but cost £15 less a month and last for just 12 months.
EE says it may offer a 30 day rolling Sim only deal in the future, but not at launch.
EE won’t be offering PAYG 4G services at launch but it is something the company is considering for the future.
Upgrading to EE
If you’ve just started a contract with Orange or T-Mobile
If you’ve just got a new 4G phone with an Orange or T-Mobile contract you can easily switch straight to a new EE contract. You’ll have to switch to a plan that costs the same or more than your current contract and start a new 24 deal, as well as getting a new Sim card, but it won’t require an upfront cost.
If you started a contract with Orange or T-Mobile 6 months ago
If you started a contract six months ago with a new iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S3 or HTC One X you can upgrade to a new 4G plan and swap your phone for a new iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE or HTC One XL for a one off fee of £99. Again you’ll have to switch to a contract costing the same or more than your current deal but its a good chance to upgrade to 4G without having to wait until the end of your contract.
What else is EE offering?
Fibre optic broadband
As well as offering 4G mobile services EE is also offering fibre optic broadband. This will be available from £15 a month (plus £14 line rental) for 40GB of data and off-peak calls, plus if you take out a 4G contract and fibre deal you will receive £5 off your monthly bill.
EE Film, Music, TV and Games
EE customers who opt for the the deals costing £41 or more a month will also be able to add a one of its new services EE Film, EE Music and EE Games.
Keeping the popular Orange Wednesday promotion EE Film customers get 2 for 1 cinema tickets on Wednesdays as well as being able to stream a newly released film each week either through their mobile or computer. The streaming won’t come out of your data allowance so you won’t use up a whole month’s allowance in one go and according to EE its catalogue of new films will be five times larger than competitors such as Lovefilm.
EE Music will be similar to Orange’s music offering and will be powered by Deezer, offering access to over 20 million songs.
For gamers there is the chance to sign up to EE Games which offers two free games a month from Gamesloft such as Asphalt 7 and Modern Warfare 3.
Launching in November there will also be EE TV which will provide access to 19 different TV channels.
Clone phone and Loan phone
To help people who lose or damage their phone EE has introduced two new services Clone Phone and Loan Phone. Clone Phone is an app that backs-up your data including photos, videos and contacts and so can help you recover anything valuable you have lost. This is available in a range of options that cover different amounts of data and for the most expensive option also acts as insurance for your handset.
Loan Phone is a new service that provides a replacement handset if yours is currently being repaired, much like a courtesy car from a car insurance policy.
Mobile wi-fi and 4G dongles
As well as smartphone plans you can get 4G mobile broadband plans including a dongle or mobile wi-fi hotspot. These 18 month deals start from £15.99 month and offer 2GB of data.