Everything Everywhere is stepping up its 4G push by doubling connection speeds in ten cities. EE believes the added bandwidth will encourage more consumers to take the plunge and shift to 4G.
It is also worth noting that EE will no longer be Britain’s only 4G provider as O2 and Vodafone are expected to roll out their 4G service in a matter of months. However, EE still feels in can get as many as one million 4G subscribers by year end.
Although 4G is widely seen as the next big thing in mobile, European carriers failed to make it a big selling point unlike their counterparts in the US. Uptake has been relatively slow, prices remain inflated and consumers don’t appear to think 4G is worth the trouble or the price, at least not yet.
Matthew Howett, telecoms regulation analyst at Ovum, believes things will change for the better.
“While there may be few applications that need speeds of up to 130Mbps today, the point really is that there almost certainly will be in the future, and that by doubling the amount of spectrum set aside for the 4G deployment today, the network should have the capacity to support an increasing user base in the months to come without impacting on the customer experience,” he said.
“Not so long ago, it looked like Britain would be condemned to the slow lane for years to come. However in just 6 months, over half the UK has now been covered with 4G LTE with a rollout that’s continuing at pace.”
Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com said it will be interesting to see how other providers will respond to EE’s speedier 4G, which is bound to serve as a differentiator once O2 and Vodafone enter the fray.
“Now that it has raised the bar on speed, others will have to keep up or innovate in other areas – from pricing to services,” Doku said. “It is also entirely possible that more players in the ring will simply drive down cost – which is still a concern for many – and fuel a 4G price war.”
A 4G price war is just what many consumers have been waiting for ever since Ofcom auctioned off 4G bands earlier this year. Most people can’t justify the extra cash if their allowance ends after a little bit of HD streaming.