EE's launch of 4G will give the mobile industry and economy 'a much needed boost', the CCO of Carphone Warehouse has said.
Graham Stapleton was speaking after EE, which has rebranded from Everything Everywhere, switched on its 4G network, with live testing taking place in four cities. The entire 700 store-strong portfolio of Orange, T-Mobile and Everything Everywhere shops will rebrand as EE.
Stapleton said: 'The UK has lagged behind other countries in the development of 4G, which is why we very much welcome the launch of EE. There is no doubt this will give a much needed boost to the industry and economy and help put the UK back at the forefront of mobile technology and innovation.'
Kester Mann, senior analyst at CCS Insight, applauded EE's 'undoubtedly ambitious' plans. He said: 'The operator has confirmed five 4G phones from Samsung, Nokia, HTC and Huawei with 'more devices coming'. While it's made no mention about the availability of the iPhone, this better than expected handset availability will inevitability help Everything Everywhere achieve good first mover advantages, drive consumer adoption of the technology and encourage migration of customers to the new brand.'
However, while the combination of both fixed and mobile networks in a single brand indicate a greater enterprise focus from the operator, maintaining three brands will not be straightforward. In particular, EE needs to be careful positioning the Orange brand alongside the premium new name.'
Mark Newman, chief research officer at Informa, said: 'EE will have to be careful about overpromising on 4G capabilities, particularly given that the network will only cover 30% of the population by the end of this year. It will need to strike a balance between extoling the virtues of 4G in terms of speed and latency while, at the same time, continuing to invest in and market its 3G capability.'
Matthew Howett, practice leader for regulatory telecoms at Ovum, said: 'For it to be an attractive proposition for consumers, it requires a good degree of network coverage, an attractive range of handsets and easy-to-understand pricing. From what we learnt today, EE certainly seems to have done everything right on the first two, but pricing will not be known until the firm launches in a few weeks' time.'
Blog: A not so small scale launch of 4G
Editor: Graeme Neill