4G carrier EE has announced the UK’s first shared plans, following US carriers in offering agreements which can be spread across multiple phones, tablets, and even different users. The Shared 4GEE Plans, which will be detailed “in the coming weeks” according to the carrier, come alongside a new set of pay-as-you-go mobile broadband plans for tablets and notebooks.
EE hasn’t said exactly how much the new plans – either shared or PAYG for mobile computing – will cost, nor how many devices will be covered, though the carrier confirmed to SlashGear that it would include voice, texts, and data. In the US, AT&T and Verizon both offer similar schemes, either for data only or for voice and data.
On AT&T, for instance, there’s a minimum monthly fee for a set amount of data – starting at $30 for 4GB of data only – and then a fee on top of that for each device that can tap into that allowance. That ranges between $10 and $20 depending on whether it’s a tablet, a mobile gaming device, a laptop, or a mobile hotspot.
Meanwhile, EE also confirmed it would be launching its “double-speed 4G” “within weeks”, which will see rates in ten cities jump to a theoretical maximum of 80Mbps. That’s more than double the network’s current average – 24-30Mbps, EE claims – in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, and Sheffield.
The developments come as EE crosses the half-million subscriber point, which the network says is the fastest example of 4G adoption in Europe. The carrier faced criticism initially for the relatively high prices of its agreements, particularly for the cost of data, which some claimed was an example of taking advantage of the lack of LTE competition in the UK market.
As rival carriers ramp up for their own LTE launches later this year, however, EE has shifted into a more competitive stance, with more aggressive pricing.