First up is a cheaper ‘entry-level’ plan, costing £31 per month on a 24-month plan including a handset, £5 cheaper than the cheapest option previously. The package appears to be exactly the same, with EE presenting as a limited-time promotion, available for new customers signing up 31 January–31 March.
On the other end of the spectrum is the ‘super user’ tariff, which offers a mobile data limit of 20GB, priced at £46 on a 12-month SIM-only price plan, or at £61 on a 24-month plan with a handset.
EE says the introduction of this tariff is a result of listening to its customers’ needs, and specifically of the one per cent of ‘super users’ who need higher data allowance. It seems to be tackling head-on any criticisms that the rather meagre data allowances of EE’s tariffs, which previously maxed out at 8GB, rather defeated the point of having super-fast mobile data in the first place.
These new tariffs come ahead of the 4G auction, which will widen the number of UK operators which can offer the super-fast connections which are currently exclusively available through EE.
According to Ovum telecoms regulation analyst Matthew Howett, the timing is no coincidence:
“EE’s decision to offer both a relatively lower-priced tariff at the entry level and a plan with more data at the top end is clearly in response to customer feedback,” says Howett. “More importantly though, it is a preemptive strike aimed at its competitors who are soon to launch tariffs of their own once the long-overdue auction of 4G licences is completed.
“EE was always going to have a difficult role to play being the first mover. However, its peers may be grateful for attempting to move away from an all-you-can-eat world for data to an attempt to monetise it. Offering a more generous – but still capped – data allowance for ‘super-users’ is still consistent with that pragmatic move.”