Now that the initial 2 day buzz of tech announcements has calmed down, we look at what will you, the consumer, actually do.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two days, you will of course know that on Tuesday EE announced their re-branding and the launch of their superfast 4G network to 16 cities in the UK, followed by Apple announcing the launch of the iPhone 5 yesterday.
OK, so what will you do? Will you jump ship from your current network provider in order to join the EE gang on the superfast highway or are you going to sit this one out?
We’re going to look at the Pros and Cons of each and let you make up your own mind.
Firstly, there are a few points to consider.
- Do you live or spend a lot of time in the cities that are covered by the initial EE 4G roll-out?
- Do you really need 4G speeds for what you use your device for. If you are just a FaceBook addict, do you really need to post that status update any quicker than you already do?
- Are you an existing Orange or T-Mobile customer or if not, is your existing contract up for renewal?
- Are you willing to sacrifice battery life for speed?
If your answers to the above questions are mainly ‘No’, then there is little point in you considering 4G at this stage.
If you are an existing Orange or T-Mobile customer living in a city covered by the roll-out, your choice may be a little easier. EE are going to make it very simple for existing customers on the two networks that come under the EE brand to upgrade to a 4G contract. In this case we suspect the decision will be determined by the costs that EE have yet to announce.
- The first is obvious, superfast Internet access on your mobile device
- If your contract is up for renewal anyway it’s worth considering the switch
- Be the first kid on the block to have access to the new tech
- The newer, more popular smartphones have the ability to access 4G networks, if you’re going to get one anyway why not make full use of its abilities to access high speeds
- Do you value your right to choose a network rather than being forced onto the only network to offer the service more than you value the advantages of high speed mobile Internet access?
- EE have yet to release tariff and pricing details, they will have the monopoly on UK 4G access, will the prices be extortionate? Many consumers today have unlimited 3G access on their tariff. Unlimited 4G access is highly unlikely at this early stage.
- Limited devices – you will have to choose from one of a small list of devices that support the EE 4G 1800MHz network. Granted the newer (more expensive) devices support it, the iPhone 5 for example. But again, you are limiting your right to choose.
- You will be an early adopter of a new technology and a new network. You may prefer to wait for any teething issues to be resolved, for the tech to mature and to join the 4G train once the tracks have been tested.
- Limited spectrum on a 2 year contract. It is highly likely that an EE 4G contract is going to be for 24 months. The spectrum frequency that EE are to use will not be one of the mainstream UK spectrum ranges in a years time. You could be stuck on this spectrum for a further year. When the 4G auction takes place at the end of this year, the spectrum up for grabs is 800MHz and 2600MHz. This is what the likes of O2 and Vodafone will be running their 4G networks on.
When it comes down to it, you will need to think about what applications you actually use on your mobile device that will warrant a trade off in battery life and contract costs in return for that extra speed in connectivity.
A better option
Having the latest mobile handset on the fastest UK network is one thing, but what is actually going to be very useful and worth considering is EE’s offering of a 4G Dongle and/or a 4G Mobile WiFi Device.
EE will be offering the Huawei E392 Mobile Broadband USB Stick and the Huawei E589 Mobile WiFi Device.
Having a 4G Dongle in your Macbook or Laptop is going to change everything. We expect tethering your 4G mobile handset will either be restricted or at least very expensive so this wouldn’t really be an option. So a mobile dongle would be the way to go.
Even more exciting will be the release of the E589. A mini mobile WiFi router connecting to EE’s 4G network, now this is worth looking at. Connect your Laptop, Macbook, Tablet, iPad, Mobile Handset wirelessly to the E589 and enjoy 4G speeds on all your devices, not just those that are 4G enabled! Suddenly your iPad (which does not natively support the 1800MHz EE 4G network) is now a 4G iPad.
We eagerly await tariff details and pricing for the Huawei E392 Dongle and the E589 Mobile WiFi. But for now, unless you are that eager to be the coolest kid in town, the jury is out on changing networks solely for a 4G mobile contract with EE.
We’ll of course up date you the minute we have the pricing and tariff details.