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EE 4G data caps that are broken in 5 mins


By Stewart Mitchell

Posted on 23 Oct 2012 at 09:31

EE will place strict data caps on its newly announced 4G tariffs, that could see customers exceed their quota in as little as five minutes.

The company recently announced plans to launch 4G services in 10 UK cities this year after tense negotiations with the industry and government officials.

Now, the company says tariffs for the high-speed data service will start from £36 a month - or £21 a month SIM-only - although the lowest package's 500MB download limit might put data-focused early adopters off.

With EE claiming average network speeds of up to 12Mbits/sec, that means users could theoretically exceed their cap in just over five minutes of full-speed downloads - or a little over ten seconds a day.

At the other end of the scale, a tariff with an 8GB download limit will cost £56 per month, and there are other packages in-between. Full details of the tariffs are published on the company's site.

Although customers may be deterred by the data caps, EE is at least taking a relaxed approach to tethering. "All customers will be able to tether or use VoIP services as part of their plan – with no need to buy specific data add-ons," the company said. "BT Wi-Fi is also included in all plans at no extra cost, providing on-demand access to millions of wireless hotspots across the UK."

Small businesses

The company was also keen to play up its credentials for mobile workers, offering business plans with more data that consumers get for the same price.

The company said small-business customers would have a range of 4GEE phone plans, with data allowances of 1GB - including unlimited UK calls and texts - starting from £35 a month, excluding VAT.

Companies would also be able to reduce costs by choosing the new 4GEE Sharer Plan, which allows sharing of data allowances across all users and devices, EE said.

For consumers with 4G-ready handsets, the company says it will offer SIM-only plans from £21 a month for 500MB of data.

Network limits

The services will only be available in London, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Glasgow and parts of Southampton at launch.

However, how widespread coverage is in even those cities remains to be seen, with the company saying the network would be "expanding further within those cities", and adding a further five - Belfast, Derby, Hull, Nottingham, Newcastle - by Christmas.

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User comments

Yet again....

Rip Off Britain.

I only hope that there aren't enough mugs who will sign up to this, leave the service alone, they'll soon reduce the prices & increase the amount of data within their packages.

This yet again is pure & unadulterated GREED!

By SKINHEAD1967 on 23 Oct 2012

Is it just me?

The only point of 4G is data, so why would anybody pay for any kind of limited data service?
Alas, I bet they do

By markcr6 on 23 Oct 2012

Why bother....

Utter ripoff. Simply get a broadband package that includes unlimited access to Wifi hotspots. Job done.

By everton2004 on 23 Oct 2012

Crazy data caps

I live in a rural area and get surprisingly fast 3G speeds - fast enough to stream YouTube and iPlayer videos. I pay T-Mobile £26 a month for the 'full Monty' plan, which came with a free Samsung Galaxy S2 and has truly unlimited data. 4G isn't going to be available where I live, but even if it was, why would I want to pay £10 more per month for just 500MB of data, which I'd use within 3 days? Absolutely crazy!

By David995511 on 23 Oct 2012

What's the point...

... of having a superfast network and then capping the limit? Seems pointless to me. Those people who will be happy with 500Mb limit will really not be bothered by the extra speed LTE gives them.

I've stayed with Vodafone who give me 2Gb data for £42. I know I won't get 4G/LTE with my iPhone 5, but they are upgrading their network to HSPA+ (21Mbps theoretical) which is about 3 times the speed of HSDPA (7.2Mbps theoretical - which is what my iPhone 4 was capable of). Apparently there is something called DC-HSPA+ (dual channel) which can drive it up to 42Mbps (again theoretically).

By mrmmm on 23 Oct 2012

Business plans cheaper than consumer plans?

Unless I'm missing something, aren't the phone-inclusive plans cheaper for business customers than consumers? The 16GB business plan is £50/month, whereas the 8GB consumer plan is £56/month!

By David995511 on 23 Oct 2012

Rename The Company

EE should rename themselves: "Nearly Nothing, Virtually Nowhere"

By nrmsmith on 23 Oct 2012

No Free phones with these plans either !

This article fails to mention the cost of the 4G capable phones, or the cost of an upgrade from a recently bought 3G version of the 4G models.

On the basic 500Mb service, a Galaxy S3 LTE or HTC One XL 4G, will cost £150. On the same tariff, a Galaxy Note 2 LTE or 16Gb iPhone 5, will cost £180.
A 32Gb iPhone 5 will cost £270.

Even on the top 8Mb service at £56pm, the phones will still cost £30.

Upgrading from a non-LTE Galaxy S3 or One XL, bought in the last 6 months, will involve an additional charge of £99 plus the forfeit of your phone (must be returned in good condition).

I can't see who is going to pay these prices, when all-you-can-eat and full monty type deals for 3G are already good enough for many people.


By GoneWithTheWind on 23 Oct 2012

"EE chief executive Olaf Swantee says his company has found the "sweet spot" over price" Nutters.

£36 for unlimited texts and uk calls but whats the point? The whole point of having 4G for that? I assume people that want a 4G phone want to use lots of fast data? Perhaps I am missing something

By doncasterrunner on 23 Oct 2012

bye bye EE

I have been an Orange customer for over a dozen years, back when I paid £100 per month for a whopping 100Mb (yes one hundred Meg) at GPRS speeds. Admittedly, it could take a month to download that amount at that speed.
While I have stuck with orange for Handsets, I have tried Vodafone and now 3 for Mobile Data on the Laptop. (I know that that's a different thing, but bear with me!)
Having experienced those networks, one appalling and one very good, I will definitely be switching from Orange EE come the new year when my contract is up.
3G on Orange doesn't work for me, hasn't for about 18months. HSPDA is ok, but coverage flaky. And still a 750Mb cap that is regularly overrun all for the still princely sum of £36.
Handsets permitting (920 or 8X thank you) my money will, on current performance, be going to 3.

By nickallison on 23 Oct 2012


Unlimited hotspots....!
Ah, the unmistakeable words of a city dweller.
I have unlimeted WiFi on hotspots With my Broadband. Have yet to find any building site on which I work, that I can use it.
Some of us are stuck with mobile.

By nickallison on 23 Oct 2012

My wife has gone the otherway and just moved from her iPhone contract to a T-Mobile SIM only deal for £10 per month. That includes small internet allowance which she wouldn't use anyway.

By james016 on 23 Oct 2012


I saw EE Tweet this earlier and it does seem incredibly stingy and high priced.

I guess the cost of recouping the 4G spectrum licence is forcing their hand.

By Gogster on 23 Oct 2012

Presently the only 4G...

Price gouging before any competition, clearly.

Silly though, as soon as the other providers get their spectrum, EE will lose the few customers they may have had.

May have, I say, as been pointed out - with such a stupid data cap, aside from bragging rights (Look at my new 4g phone!) there really is no point.

Stupid, short-term thinking...

By greemble on 23 Oct 2012

Truly unlimited data, 2000 minutes, 5000 3-to-3 minutes, 5000 texts, tethering perfectly okay. Costing me £34 a month on Three. EE's prices are simply not competitive, and I doubt there are enough that need 4g speeds to make EE's price premium make up for the lower numbers.
I'm guessing they'll gouge the early adopters then drop the prices to something a little more competitive.

By Mark_Thompson on 23 Oct 2012

Unlimited data

I bought a phone sim free and use giffgaff who give me unlimited data for £10 per month (soon to rise to £12 when £10 will be limited to 750Meg). I never have a problem with speed (giffgaff use O2 network) so this deal and many of those listed in the comments are way over what I would consider.

By neil_aky on 24 Oct 2012

EE offer a sports car with a moped fuel tank

It's a company presenting a complete contradiction.

Everything Everywhere! and it's badly capped, so it's definitely not everything and it's only in a few cities so it's definitely not everywhere.

.. and Olaf's "sweet spot" comment! HE'S the ONLY person that thinks it's a sweet spot. Everyone else thinks it's the worst mobile deal around.

EE's delivering you a sports car with a moped fuel tank. Sure, you can go fast, but only to the end of the road.

By ilowe123 on 24 Oct 2012

EE offer a sports car with a moped fuel tank

It's a company presenting a complete contradiction.

Everything Everywhere! and it's badly capped, so it's definitely not everything and it's only in a few cities so it's definitely not everywhere.

.. and Olaf's "sweet spot" comment! HE'S the ONLY person that thinks it's a sweet spot. Everyone else thinks it's the worst mobile deal around.

EE's delivering you a sports car with a moped fuel tank. Sure, you can go fast, but only to the end of the road.

By ilowe123 on 24 Oct 2012

Don't take up

Surely with these overpriced paltry data limits EE will have to have a radical rethink about their rip-off policy if we, their potential customers, fail to take up their offer.

By SteveMabin on 25 Oct 2012


4G access, but if they havent built their core transport network to scale to take all these high speed connections they will be providing a rubbish service. Hence the need to dissuade large numbers of folks from taking the service until the infrastructure is appropriately sized. Thats when the price drop will occur. Remeber AT&T and the iPhone, it crashed their network. Verizon in the US is recognised as the innovators in 4g/LTE in the US, their network is superb. My 2 cents.

By wan2lanman on 25 Oct 2012

4G data speeds 'up to'...

It's not so long since we were promised Megabit speeds for 3G connections, only to find that with contention we were lucky to get dial-up speeds. Let's see if network capacity meets the hype.

By richardpenney1 on 25 Oct 2012

I wouldn't bother as they can't even get 3g right

Orange/TMobile (EE) can't even run their 3g network correctly. I lose the network (data and phone) just travelling 3 miles between work and home. I will probably move my phone from Orange and my data from Vodafone and get one single package with Three and tether my Android phone with my laptop.

By eLJay on 26 Oct 2012

faster speeds so you can hit your cap faster?

What the hell is the point of a Data cap on a high speed connection allowing tethering.

you just burn though data quickly if your a tablet/laptop user tethering a phone and then get hammered with a stupid bill.

I'm on Three, i tether all the time on my One plan, and have never paid more than my contract base amount EVER! and Three also will upgrade my speed to the 3.5G network when they make it available in my area. No hidden changes no hidden costs this is how a telecom company should be run.

By tuggray on 6 Aug 2013

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