Why I won’t be going #4gee

September 23, 2012

I’ve been interested in what @ee were going to do when they finally launched since the annoucnement that they’ve been allowed to re-provision their network to support 4G.

Since the announcement, just over a week ago, of the iPhone 5, it seemed a logical pairing to move to T-Mobile or Orange, and then transfer onto EE. I’d asked on twitter a number of times, and the response always was “We’ll make it easy to move to EE” which never answered my question of 1 month sim only contracts etc.

Well, in the past few days, there has been more information on the EE website on how you can move. It’s so limited to what you can do, they’re just screwing customers at any given opportunity.

These are the rules to move over to EE when it launches if you’re on SIM Only.

1 – Must be on a 12 month SIM only Contract with T-Mobile or Orange

If you have bought your iPhone 5 in the UK you can move to EE. If you bought it from outside the UK you need to make sure it’s “GSM model A1429″, as the other versions won’t work on our 4G network.

Here’s how to be ready to move to EE when it launches

  • Join Orange or T-Mobile now on a 12 month SIM-only contract
  • If you’re already with Orange or T-Mobile as a pay as you go customer, or as a pay monthly customer on a 30 day plan just take a 12 month SIM-only contract on Orange or T-Mobile

2 – Must sign up to a new contract with EE

If you decide to move to EE you will need to start a new contract with EE.

There’s no charge to move. Depending on the cost of your Orange or T-Mobile plan and the EE plan you choose, you may need to pay more than you do today.

3 – That new contract will either be 18 or 24 months. This bit is hidden in the Terms and Conditions on this page

You’ll have to agree to a new 18 or 24 month minimum term on EE. Other terms apply. No charge to move to EE if you join or upgrade on T-Mobile or Orange before 31 Dec 2012 and move to same length plan on EE or longer. Charges apply if you move to a shorter plan on EE. You’ll need to choose a new EE plan with the same monthly charge or higher than your old Orange or T-Mobile plan.
iPhone 5: Phones from other networks will need to be unlocked by them. You should check with your network. Superfast 4GEE: just how fast your 4G will be depends on a couple of things: where you are and how many other people are using 4G too. Have a quick look at ee.co.uk for more info.
Largest 3G network: based on total number of 3G transmitters. 5 times faster 3G: based on 1.5 Mbps UK average speed for 3G (source: most recent Ofcom speed survey) and 8-12 Mbps average speed for 4GEE (source: EE data). Coverage: When we launch 4G, not all of the cities listed will be immediately enabled. See ee.co.uk for more info. When 4GEE launches, you should complete a personal coverage check and decide whether to move to EE.

So, I’ve bought my own handset, so there are no network subsidies, and they still want to tie me into a minimum 18 month contract? Surely the reason of buying a handset outright is NOT to tie yourself into a contract. I would have considered signing to T-Mobile to a 12 month contract and to CONTINUE the same 12 month contract when switching to EE, but a 12 month contract, then to sign up to a NEW 18 month contract is madness. What if EE doesn’t launch til December? That means I’ll be tied in for 21 months in total if I moved, and if you sign a 24 month, that’s actually 27 months which is longer than Ofcom say is legal, however, the loophole that it’s a new contract is EE’s get out clause. Even EE’s terms [PDF] are written to make it sound like it’s a good offer (which I don’t think it is).

I’ve been considering what to do, and currently running a PAYG sim in my iPhone from O2. I may attempt to cut down my GiffGaff sim later today, and stick with that for a month or so, but it looks increasingly like that I’ll end up heading back to @ThreeUK because they have a decent data network, a decent signal (outside of my home), and if I need to make calls, I’ll just end up paying the call costs on the landlords landline.

I think with the requirement of an EIGHTEEN month contract to join a network where they are ONLY supplying the connection is extreme to say the least. I also think it is anti-competitive, as they’re ensuring you’re tied in when other providers will launch their 4G networks. Three have some frequencies they can launch on next September (11 months away), and O2 are planning and have trialled in London.

I don’t want to sign up to a contract, and I feel that EE are using their exclusiveness to lock customers into something that might be slower than what is already out there.

5 times faster 3G: based on 1.5 Mbps UK average speed for 3G (source: most recent Ofcom speed survey) and 8-12 Mbps average speed for 4GEE

Now, I’ve seen faster speeds on Three with my iPhone, and even with O2 and know they’re not fast, get more than 1.5Mbps. Thanks for the chance to enjoy the first 4G network in the UK, EE, but you really need to offer something better than tying people in to minimum terms.

I hope that the upgrades that Three have put in the area near where I live will work, because I think I’m heading back to them very soon.

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