Mobile network operator EE has reached 500,000 subscribers in the UK and announced plans to launch shared 4G plans and pay-as-you-go mobile broadband later this summer.

The new group plans will allow individuals to share their data plan across multiple devices, or contribute to a larger package that can cover their family or small business. A spokesperson for EE said this would be launched in the “next few months or so”, with final pricing and availability being detailed in the coming weeks.

The pay-as-you-go packages, meanwhile, will enable customers to access the operator’s growing coverage from a desktop PC, laptop or tablet without engaging in a pricey long-term contract. EE will be offering multiple data bundles – again, still to be finalized – which will fluctuate based on estimated usage.

Double-speed 4G arrives in the UK

EE announced it would be doubling the speeds currently offered on its 4G network in 10 metropolitan areas across the UK last month. The so-called ‘double-speed’ 4G network was due to be rolled out in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield before the beginning of the summer, with additional cities being added in six-month intervals.

The company revealed today that this will be rolling out “within weeks” starting with Tech City, the nickname given to the growing community of startups and technology companies setup in London’s East End. Top speeds will increase to 80Mbps, with average connectivity hitting somewhere between 24 and 30Mbps.

One EE representative hinted that the network could even push for ‘triple speeds’ in some areas before the year’s end. EE continues to widen its coverage across the UK, and announced today that it would be targeting “major commuter routes”, including airports, train lines and motorways, as well as new cities including Aberdeen, Bath, Brighton, Cambridge, Ipswich and Swansea.

Targeting 1 million subscribers

The improved network will increase EE’s chances of hitting 1 million 4G customers before the end of 2013. The company has snagged 500,000 subscribers in its first seven months – up from 318,000 at the end of April, but says it’s still on track to reach its self-imposed target.

EE has also been busy bringing its 4G mobile network to the iconic black cabs dominating London and Birmingham, as well yet more towns and cities dotted across the UK.

EE, formerly Everything Everywhere, unveiled its corporate rebranding and 4G network in October last year. It’s the only national mobile network operator to offer 4G speeds in the region at the moment, although competitors Three, O2 and Vodafone will be launching their own offerings later this year.

Related: Why 4G is like Pandora’s Box: EE’s CTO on the challenges of launching ‘double-speed’ LTE in the UK

Image Credit: EE