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EE 4G & Fibre Broadband Services: 10 things you need to know

EE will officially launch its 4G network on 30 October during an event at the Battersea Power Station, which we will attend and report from. In the meantime, here’s a comprehensive guide to EE’s 4G and Fibre broadband service.

1. While EE only does 4G (opens in new tab), it will use a Circuit Switched Fallback mechanism to carry voice over 4G, meaning the handset will switch back to 3G when a 4GEE customer receives a phone call. Any browsing done during the duration of the phone call will be carried out using 3G, after which it will revert to the 4G network. This also means that if you’re out of network coverage, your call will switch to 3G.

2. All 4GEE phone plans come with unlimited calls and texts (opens in new tab). Only the data allowance varies; SIM-only prices range from £21 for 500MB, £26 for 1GB, £31 for 3GB and £36 for 5GB, with phone + SIM packages costing an additional £15. The SIM-only package comes with a 12-month contract while the phone + SIM packages come with a two-year one.

3. You get unlimited calls and texts across Europe for an additional £5 a month. EE also mentions “selected countries around the world” but has yet to say which ones they are and you may have to pay upfront for them.

4. EE will swap your Samsung Galaxy S3 or your HTC One X for a 4G model for a mere £99 (opens in new tab), which is a decent deal. You will get a handset with a brand-new warranty and in some cases with new hardware (for instance, you'll be getting a dual-core system-on-chip on the 4G-enabled XL in exchange for your quad-core One X). The offer ends on 31 December and you will need to be on T-Mobile or Orange and return your handset in perfect working condition.

5. EE uses BT backbone to provide Internet services both on traditional copper ADSL and fibre broadband. There are three speed tiers (up to 14Mbps, up to 38Mbps and up to 76Mbps). The lowest tier comes with unlimited Internet and is differentiated by the calls package (off-peak, anytime and anytime mobile), costing £10, £15 and £20 respectively. The mid-tier comes as a £20 package with 40GB data or a £25 package with unlimited data while the top tier costs £30. All three have only off-peak calls packages without the option to upgrade. Note that you will also need to pay £14 extra for the line rental.

6. EE allows new and existing customers to get a mobile + landline package (either on EE or on T-Mobile/Orange) and save up to £120 (that’s £5 per month on a two-year contract) with the connection fee halved to £25. (Check out our guide to UK 4G LTE network on EE (opens in new tab)).

(opens in new tab)7. Mobile broadband users can also get 4G connectivity on the provision that they have a compatible device (either a Mi-Fi or a tablet). 18-month plans start from £15.99 for 2GB of data, £20.99 for 3GB and £25.99 for 5GB. The 24-month tablet plans add £10 per month, and in theory comes with a tablet although EE hasn't said which one. Note that you will pay £6 for 500MB additional data and £15 for an extra 2GB.

8. Unlike T-Mobile’s data allowance, you won’t be able to surf, browse and perform light Internet usage when you run out of data. Instead you will have to buy a data add-on.

9. EE has also debuted an EE Film package, which allows users to download a film every week until February 2013. The downloads will not count towards any data allowances. Films - which can be paused and viewed on multiple screens - are not permanent; their licenses will expire 30 days after downloading and 48 hours after the first play.

10. From November, EE will offer business customers an insurance service that costs as little as £6 per month. It will back up data to the cloud and restore that data should the smartphone in question get lost or stolen. A replacement smartphone will also be sent within 24 hours and will come preloaded with whatever the latest image is. EE has yet to confirm whether it will be a like-for-like phone.

If you feel that we've missed out on any salient points, feel free to get in touch with us.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.