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EE 4G Pricing Revealed Ahead Of UK's First Next-Gen Network Launch

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OLAF SWANTEE
EE CEO Olaf Swantee | PA

The UK's first 4G data network has released its pricing structure ahead of its launch next week.

EE will launch on Tuesday 30 October, and will be operated by the same network which runs Orange and T-Mobile.

It promises download speeds of an average of 12 mb/s, or five times as fast as 3G connections.

But customers will have to pay a premium for the new service, and the prices have some commentators on Twitter disappointed.

And since 4G is designed to allow quicker access to video and audio content in particular, some customers could see either their their monthly data limits, or their budgets, squeezed for some time to come.

Other networks will launch their own 4G services once an auction for spectrum is completed early in 2013.

But until then EE is the only choice, with prices for the next-generation service starting from £36 per month for 500 mb of data, with unlimited calls and text messages, for 24 months.

For more data, the prices rise to: £41 (1GB), £46 (3GB), £51 (5GB) and £56 (8GB).

The network will also offer heavy discounts on its range of 4G handsets, including the iPhone 5, which is offered for just £19.99 on the highest 8GB tariff compared to £29.99 for the Galaxy S3 on the same rate.

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The service is launching initially in 10 cities around the UK, but plans to have 98% of the population covered by 2014.

The cities initially included will be London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Glasgow (and parts of Southampton). By Christmas Belfast, Derby, Hull, Nottingham and Newcastle will also be connected.

Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, said that the new tariffs had been designed with "value" in mind.

He said: "We're proud to be leading the way and pioneering the roll out of 4G in the UK. With our new brand and unique 4G and fibre services, we will deliver consumers and businesses across the country next-generation services and a superior level of support.

"Our new plans have been developed to offer our customers everything they have been asking for - superfast performance, choice and value - as well as a fresh approach to pricing and customer service that offers accessibility, flexibility and guidance every step of the way."

But on Twitter the reaction was more negative, with some complaining that the inclusion of services such as two-for-one cinema tickets masked a higher-than-expected cost for data.

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