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back to article EE: Of course we're going to get 1m 4G users by the end of the year!

Everything Everywhere put a brave spin on its latest 4G numbers today and insisted it was on course for its goal of 1 MEEEELION users by the end of the year. With its new LTE network criticised for being buggy, patchy, and wildly overpriced, EE has nevertheless found 318,000 punters to step up to the plate. These include …

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Facepalm

Unless 4G provides much cheaper data (i.e. lower £/GB, say 1-2GB for the same price as others charge 500MB) then what is the point? You will just end up paying too much because you are tempted to use data-intensive services and getting gouged.

Oh wait...

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Anonymous Coward

Good luck with that!

I can't see them making it happen. One of the biggest problems Orange/EE/T-Mobile/Hutchinson Telecom have are users like my wife and me. We both took 24 month contracts with Orange. Within 3/4 months of both of us starting a new contract, they upped the price, which they are allowed to do. (Sure it isn't a contract then? If one party can change it to suit them.) At that point I felt cheated and Orange lost out any chance of getting my BB/LL business (I was about to sign up when the price rise hit, if I hadn't been slack, I would be stuck in another awful Orange contract.)

Since then Orange has repeatedly tried to get me into another contract, they've offered me phones earlier, upgrades to EE/4G, BB, LL and every other service they can think of. To me it is obvious they are struggling, as over the last 6 months they have phoned me at least once a month trying to get me to sign up to one thing or another.

Then to add insult to injury, they have now rewarded themselves another contract pay rise. Noting I haven't had a pay rise in 3 years. Now my contract is due to finish in 3 weeks, notice already given, code awaiting for my new provider. 2 price rises in under 20 months, this isn't fair and a damn good way to pee off customers.

Orange you have screwed up here, your money grabbing has cost you both of our contracts and our BB/LL business, which you nearly had (so glad I didn't). I have learnt a valuable lesson, a contract isn't a contract to Orange and to NEVER, EVER go on a long term contract again. I refuse to be shafted like this again. From now on I will buy my own phone and go on a rolling 30 day contract.

UP YOURS HUTCHINSON TELECOM.

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FAIL

Re: Good luck with that!

You do know that Hutchinson Telecom sold up their interest in what was Orange back in 2000*?

Ultimately your complaint is now with the French and Germans!

*It was a convoluted take over with Mannesman of Germany bidding for Orange, then Vodafone Airtouch (as it was) bidding for Mannesman; Mannesman acquired Orange, Vodafone acquired Mannesman (thus owning Orange for a short time); then Voda sold Orange Hook line and sinker to France Telecom. It was around then that the headaches started, and the rot at Orange set in (some might argue it had already started with the departure of Hans Snook).

FT still own Orange, but the UK operation is part owned with Deutsche Telecom as a result of the merger with T-Mobile UK.

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Re: Good luck with that!

Indeed Hutchinson Wampoa is the power behind 3, not Orange/Ee

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Go

Re: Good luck with that!

I'm exactly the same, except that having had experience of most of the mobile operators now I know they're all as bad as each other.

The only way to beat them is to go SIM-only on a rolling 1 month contract, and whenever they try to pull something take your business elsewhere. Alas I'm stuck on a magically-increasing-in-cost T-Mobile contract for another 18 months or so because my calculations on whether it was cheaper for an S3+contract or an S3-outright naiively didn't take into account the extra cost and annoyance factor of T-Mobile bumping up their prices whenever they feel like it. Still, I'll know for next time, and in the meantime get my revenge by helping friends and relatives escape EE's clutches onto better cheaper deals.

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WTF?

I'd completely missed their pricing

The reason (and now only half my reason) is the fact that I (and I assume others) simply don't 'need' 4G. Sure it would be nice if everything downloaded faster, but just 'nice'.

Home and offices are covered by free wifi. Airports and hotels seem to be covered by my corporate iPass account (and this saves a wedge in roaming charges).

Aside from the odd web-page or mail, the only times I really use mobile data is for using Google Navigation as I drive or streaming Spotify as I walk - and 3G does fine.

4G does provide the consumer with a high speed connection, but the 'big' changes are on the operator side - and these should simplify the back-haul (and therefore reduce costs). Bullet point change would be that everything you do on your handset, no longer has to be hauled all the way back across their access network and back out again. You want the internet, they can just plug that directly into the mast. You want to send a file to the guy next to you, your phone, to the mast, to the other phone.

I seem to have meandered from my point slightly, but I can guarantee that LTE isn't going to take off whilst it's more expensive than existing 3G.

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Re: I'd completely missed their pricing

Gotta agree here, I remember the change from 2G to 3G wasn't all that big, I mean it was a big change for speed, but for cost I don't remember any difference, just some contracts beign 2G, others being 2G/3G, the cost tended to be when you first bought the handset.

I have no need for 4g so long as it's so expensive. Would I like it? Sure! But not at the price they're quoting.

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Re: I'd completely missed their pricing

I seem to remember when I went from 2g to 3g, initially, I didn't really notice the difference (apart from the fact I was now able to download podcasts on the phone at a reasonable speed). I had one of the early "smart" phones (a T Mobile branded HTC Tytn II running Windows Mobile). I downloaded the odd app, but nothing really heavy on data, but I did download the odd podcast. One thing that I did make a fair amount of use of though was a full web browser (both IE and Opera Mobile). Same on the N95 that replaced it.

Then I got an iPhone. Suddenly I had access to lots of apps that needed data. This is where I feel I really got the full advantage of 3G, but the tariffs were always limited (which limits the use of 3G). Then, T Mobile introduced the Full Monty package, with Unlimited data and now I find I can do things that I'd have never dreamed of before, like listening to higher quality on line radio streams for hours, and thanks to iTunes Match, I can carry my entire record collection (several hundred albums) and just stream the music I want, rather than be limited to whatever happens to be stored on the phone at the time.

Now, I have received all the advertising bumpf from EE telling me how great 4G is and how "little" it costs, although seeing as it would cost me nearly twice what I am paying to get a package anywhere near what I am on now, and I wouldn't actually get that much of an advantage from LTE over 3G, I won't be upgrading for a while.

Maybe when EE has some competition, they'll bring the prices down a little, or up the data allowances, I'll reconsider. However, I've done a little looking into US pricing and based on that, I doubt they'll be improving their offer even when there is competition in the market.

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Anonymous Coward

I am not surpirsed

Lately, I find the company to be too arrogant and rigid in its approach.

The price gouging is the final nail in the coffin, for me at least.

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Anonymous Coward

318,000 punters

Amazing they found so many (...) willing to burn their cash. But hey, I'm sure they were not disappointed!

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Coffee/keyboard

SPIT TAKE

>£30/Month for a capped connection SIM ONLY with 2 years lock-in? I'm surprised punters haven't been beating the doors down on their shops to get to this deal. </Sarcasm>

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Stop

Let's not get carried away here...

"3 then promptly performed a reverse ferret, and changed its tariff structure to go after budget punters. It became a value brand, after it launched its pre-pay offerings in January 2004. A year after launch it claimed its 1m target had been reached.

Both 3G and 4G also had coverage problems - 3 still only had covered 70 per cent of the UK in 3G nine months on from launch."

Looking at Ofcom's coverage maps for last year, I am confused by this 70% 3G coverage in 2003/4. Up here in Scotland, the Central belt where I live has very patch 3G reception, here in 2013 - a decade after the period quoted. There are many, many places where GPRS is the only option, and now we are talking up 4G from EE. I'd much rather we got consistant 3G before getting all excited about 4. I'll not even start over the caps for the latter...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Let's not get carried away here...

Maybe they meant 70% of the areas of the UK with some form of civilization.

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Thumb Up

Re: Let's not get carried away here...

AC is being a bit too sarky, but AFAIK the coverage figures refer to coverage of population not area.

Of course the former is an easier figure to achieve...

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T-EE

I was lured into leaving them. Poor coverage, poor service, prices rising.

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Facepalm

Ah the A930

I think I still have one in a drawer somewhere. The only phone I've ever had that actually had 2 batteries in the box (& chargers). Battery life was really bad.

Anyhow with 4G the costs are far too much & so little actually has 4G coverage. For me why pay 4G prices when I'm mostly going to get 3G?

I was a T-Mobile customer since before they were T-Mobile but since the merger the service just dropped so I'm in that list of people who have left

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Anonymous Coward

T Mobile certainly upset me with their new brand. The 3G service became shit. Fortunately this coincided with my contract ending and as they only seemed interested in 4G it was ""Bye Bye T-Mob" or EE or whatever.

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Hope this will drive down the price of 3G contract, just no need for 4G at the moment.

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ouch

Its far too expensive. Only a fool would pay those sorts of prices.

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I signed up to my latest contract in March on their "Orange" brand rather than "EE" because I didn't want to spend an extra £10/month to get the same tariff on 4G instead of 3G. The phone I choose (Note 2) is available with 4G so that wasn't a deciding factor.

If they want to get the sales figures up to 1 Million by the end of the year as EE they should match the prices of their other brands.

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I refuse to sign up

I've been screwed by orange several times in the past, getting fed up of their shit. The latest is them advertising 4g in their local stores. Now I know for a fact tha twe don't have 4g, and we won't have 4g until sometime next year it's a small seaside town we aren't a city.

Y'know unless you go in and ask them about it, then you're told that 4g coverage is coming 'soon' and the contract will make sure you're ready for when it comes, as well as giving you 4g when you visit the big cities. They couldn't give an answer of how soon 4g would arrive, only that it was 'soon'

I'd made sure to look it up beforehand and it isn't soon at all. I even went as far as to contact the ASA about it since it's clearly false advertising. Apparently because it's only in store, they can't do anything. So the ASA can't actually do anything about false advertising.

I'd be willing to bet about 40% of those signed up to 4g aren't even in an area they can use it, and the other 60% are big business run by pointy haired morons.

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"If they want to get the sales figures up to 1 Million by the end of the year as EE they should match the prices of their other brands."

Two solutions: new, cheaper contracts (of course, leaving the 318k mugs on whatever daft tarrif they've committed to). Or, keep trying to pillage the domestic market with outlandish costs, low data caps, and unrealistic promises of coverage, but meanwhile wack a load of the big business accounts off the T-Mobile and Orange rosters, onto EE. That last one seems most probable - they simply tell the businesses they are being moved to EE on the same terms they currently enjoy, describe them as EE 4G customers, meet their 1m target, knowing all along that these busines haven't issued any 4G compatible handsets, and probably won't for several years.

In the wacky world of executive incentives there's always several ways to meet your targets and "earn" that big fat bonus.

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Trollface

"new, cheaper contracts (of course, leaving the 318k mugs on whatever daft tarrif they've committed to)"

I would dearly love to see them try to do this - not because I want those 318k to suffer, but because the inevitable backlash from the public and the various fair trade bodies would be a thing of beauty to behold. The telcos are already under scrutiny for the lockin contracts that allow them to jack up the prices - if they actually lowered prices but stiffed anyone already committed to a contract the consumer rights organisations would tear them a new one.

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Anonymous Coward

My experience

So far I've pretty much had bad experience with mobile companies. I used to be on bt with PAYG which was all well and good, but the charges started getting absurd, even with free minutes etc, I was going through £10 of credit per day, and with no record of what was stripping me of my credit I coulnd't really contest anything, so I scrapped PAYG and moved to contract. BT lost my business because they upped all their prices without informing anyone (why I left them)

Moved to a contract with Three since they had teh best coverage in my local area. All was well and good, great contract, cheap, good phone upgrades. Until it came to cancelling.

I signed up for a new contract with 3, and asked they cancel the old one (due to a deal it was easier to sign the new and cancel the old, and cheaper to boot) a month later I got a new bill through, called up and asked why they hadn't cancelled it, instead of doing what they asked, they'd extended me onto another 24 month contract. They refused to cancel this so I cancelled the DD, they then called in debt collectors on me. After several months of talking to ofcom and god knows how much in phonebills from calling india eventually the contract was cancelled since I hadn't signed anything.

I think the end result was from talking to their governing body, with my end result being. "I didn't sign a contract, I did not want a new contract, I have not used this new contract Three signed me up for. If this contract is not cancelled, I will be taking you to court, and I will be making sure as many news papers know about it as possible" It was at that point they cracked, partly because of the newspaper threat (i like to think) mostly because they didn't have a single piece of evidence to say I'd signed up to the contract since nothing was signed, and they'd basically broken procedure.

So out of three, onto orange. And yet more problems. First of all random drops in signal, random charges which made no sense to me, turned out orange had pre-installed bloatware on my phone which charges £4 a month, with no way to uninstall it. I had to contact orange and tell them to deactivate the subscription and refund me what I'd been charged... Every month... Eventually i had to install Cyanogenmod purely to get rid of teh orange bloatware.

Move on to the home internet. We've been with wanadoo > freeserve > orange for years. Wanadoo were great, Freeserve were okay, Orange are lying scum who have cost us a lot of money. For starters the quality of service drop with each changeover, ignorable as it may be. We would get random letters from Orange stating we'd exceeded their "fair use" policy, despite nobody downloading anything, and after contact them refusing to tell us what counted as "fair use" eventually the letters stopped.

Moving on to the home phoneline. We were stuck on 2mb for ages due to the area we were in, I noted that many houses in our area were on 16. Funny enough later that week Orange called us, telling us that we could get 16mb in our area, and that we could lower our monthly bill by changing from a BT landline to an Orange landline. Family consulted me since I'm the IT guy, told them to confirm that they could get the speeds in writing, and the bills in writing and if they did, go for it. So they did and they went for it.

The itnernet speed went up to 8mb, and atop the bill they sent us, they were adding an extra £15 per month. Why? We're outside of the core orange area, so it costs an extra £15 per month for orange services, despite the fact they called us, and they never informed us of these hidden charges despite the family asking, several times. Why was our internet speed half of what they promised? Because we're outside of the core area, they can only offer ADSL up to 8mb.

After much arguing my family settled on the first 6 months free, followed by paying the full bill for the next 6 months. This was ignoring my advice to get the contract cancelled outright for orange failing to uphold their end of the deal, and failing to provide information when asked. We're moving back to BT in August, the family doesn't seem to realize that changing the line back to BT will probably cost an arm and a leg.

I dont' deny my family isn't at fault for the last section of this, they're idiots who ignored my advice. But the rest of it (well the orange bit, who are now EE) is just a small subsection of my experience in what shysters they are. I would not trust them in any way shape or form when it comes to broadband. And I have little faith in any mobile company when it comes to mobile contracts (I'm probably moving to giffgaff when my contract expires)

And it's not just me, a friend of mine had Orange cancel 5 of his contracts (he had the contracts for his whole family cancelled) why? Orange blocked one of his payments due to a fault on their system. He then paid again and informed them, a week later they charged him for that month a second time, when he called to compalin they apologized... and charged him a third time. They then sent out a later demanding payment because he hadn't paid anything that month and locked all his contracts. By this point he had failed to pay his rent and gas bill.

When he called up he pretty much ripped them a new one, demanded the contracts be cancelled since their collosal fuckup had cost him so much. Luckily he works in sales so he actually knew how to word it correctly "rather than my usual you fucked up you sort this... I'm not good with people)

And even with workplace contracts they're shit. Where I work there's a lot of travel to china / portugal / eastern europe. So what happens? The company signs up for a mobile deal with orange, with raoming set up abroad for all company mobiles. Small extra cost sure but it saves money in the long run. Except with orange who cancelled the free roaming since it hadn't been used during the firs tfew months, but continued to charge for it, and then proceeded to charge a few thousand more to the company for roaming charges when the roaming was used.

I'm honestly not surprised EE have lsot customers and revenue. If they stopped bullshitting everyone and started to deliver on what they promised they might actually retain customers.

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Anonymous Coward

Another point....

As said above, there isn't much need or demand for 4G at the moment. They are having to push it now, because when other providers start to offer 4G for cheaper, EE will have to drop the price to compete. So to extort, sorry maximise the monies on offer, they need to get people signed into a 24month contract at the world worst rate. Which will then increase in cost year on year (as is allowed by the so-called contract), until 4G is 2 years old, at which point, anyone with a brain cell will jump ship after realising how crap they are and how much they have been ripped off.

To me, they are missing a massive market, that they don't appear to have considered. There are many, many people around the country who can't get more than 2Mbps broadband at home, if that! Now these, to me, are the people who could really use 4G as the cost to lay cables is epic. Stick up a mast and it benefits more people, they'd sell more contracts and people in the sticks would rejoice, although probably not if they are EE customers.

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Silver badge

. But it does mean some nasty surprises in store for the unwary.

Erratic, no, not really

Rather than recieve a nasty suprise on the bill you get sent to a redirection page asking if you'd like more data.

Seems the fairest way to do it to me.

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Silver badge

EE keep texting me saying I could move to 4G

But I don't like in an area covered by 4G, and its not likely to be covered for a long while, as its very rural.

So, they're not even advertising it sensibly either!

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Devil

So many puns...

So many opportunities for puns the first time they have a connectivity "issue".

"Nothing Anywhere", anyone?

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FAIL

I Left T-Mobile last month

I left T-Mobile last month after many years of lethargy and stopping on the same (now legacy) SIM only rolling monthly tariff.

My request? I asked to be put on the same deal as a NEW CUSTOMER. They refused, I left.

It seems that they don't understand how much more it costs to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.

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Anonymous Coward

Limited vs. unlimited

With data limits like 500MB on 4G, vs. unlimited at the same price point on 3G, which one would you rather choose?

It's somewhat ironic that they advertise it as being able to upload faster, stream more, download more yet it's faster to hit your data cap.

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Bronze badge

Oh, I must of missed the press announcement where they expressed deep regret for charging stupid prices and introduced a new range of competitive prices..... no? In which case we must have a lot of lottery winners in this country then....

I find it interesting that pretty much every tech blog I have seen in the last few months that runs an article about EE attracts lots of comments and generally a good 80% of them are along the lines of "I like Three" and "I'm staying with Three" (comments which I completely agree with)

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FAIL

EE's crap 3G needs 4G more than we do

Having used the O2 network for several years (in the form of giffgaff, these days) I was curious about 4G and ported over to EE a couple of months ago. Big mistake…

First of all, they ported my number to another EE customer, and were unable to fix it for 5 days (during which the other EE customer received all of my calls/texts, and had his number cut-off completely!).

Then there was EE’s diabolical 3G performance. Whenever the phone switched from 4G to 3G, even despite an often good strong 3G signal, the speed/latency was so bad that browsing pages, using Facebook etc was unusable as they either took far too long to load or just timed out. As for the 4G, my speedtest.net results averaged at 12mb which isn’t bad, but it troubles me that hardly anyone’s using it at the moment, and that the ‘browsing experience’ was hardly any different to O2/Giffgaff’s on 3G.

So, I think that the EE networks “need” 4G more than the consumers do, simply because their 3G performance is so bloomin’ poor compared to O2 and apparently Vodafone.

Fortunately, I was able to correct my mistake within the 14 day cooling-off period and am now back with giffgaff. I feel absolutely no worse off for having left 4G behind me (for now) and actually have far better service overall with the far better performing 3G O2’s network provides.

If you’re interested in giffgaff, earn yourself a fiver’s credit and check out: giffgaff.com/orders/affiliate/xpz393

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