Ben WoodsEurope Editor
Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.
UK mobile operator EE has introduced a new range of tariffs and a low-cost, own-brand 4G LTE-equipped handset for more price-sensitive consumers.
Announced today, the new plans start from £13.99 per month and are available with a two year commitment. The operator also introduced new options available for users on 4G Extra and Business plans.
At the entry-level, there’s now a £13.99 package which includes unlimited texts, 500 minutes of calls and 500MB of 4G data. Increasing that to £18.99 doubles the data and number of inclusive calling minutes, and bumping it up to £23.99 or £29.99 per month will net you unlimited texts and calls with 2GB or 5GB of data respectively.
On these 24 month plans, customers can choose a free handset included with no up-front cost, but these are limited to the Alcatel Idol S or the EE Kestrel handset, introduced alongside the new plans.
EE also expanded the options for its 4G Extra tariffs. From today, customers can sign up for 4G Extra from £21.99 which includes 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of data. Monthly commitments range up to a massive £74.99 per month for 50GB of usage.
Rounding off the list of tariff updates are some new options for Shared 4G plans (only available to customers already on a contract of at least £23 per month) starting from £17 per month and a range of new entry-level and Business Extra plans starting from £17 per month and going up to £35 for 3GB of data.
The Huawei-manufactured but EE branded Android device will be available from “the end of April”, according to the operator. On board is a 1.2GHz Qualcomm quad-core processor, 4.5-inch qHD display, 8GB of on board storage (expandable via microSD) and a 5-megapixel camera on the rear.
Naturally, there’s 4G LTE support too. The handset is available for free on the £13.99 per month plan, or can be purchased for £99.99 for use on EE’s 4G pay as you go tariff.
EE says it’s just the first in a range of its own-branded smartphones, although we’re not quite sure if they’ll all be focused on the lower end of the value scale or if there will be more expensive ‘premium’ devices as well.
The drive to increase the number of consumers that can afford to access its core 4G service by introducing lower cost tariffs and devices comes in response to a more competitive market for 4G in the UK overall. With O2, Vodafone and Three all now ramping up their rival services, EE has been forced to adapt to changing market conditions. Of course, ensuring you have a reliable network is part of the equation too.
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