EE 4G data caps that are broken in 5 mins
Britain's first 4G network imposes strict data caps on its newly announced tariffs
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."
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.
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.