EE is set to launch shared bundles this summer, as the operator revealed it has signed up half a million people to its 4G service.
Consumers will be able to share their data allowances between phones and tablets or with other people. This means a family would be able to use unlimited minutes, texts and a pool of data although there will be a cap on how many people can use the same bundle. Pricing will be revealed in around four weeks but it is expected to be different from its current 4G offer.
EE will be the first British operator to sell shared packages of data, a product that has been a fixture in the American market for some time. Vodafone announced last month it will sell shared data packages in 2014. EE also revealed it is readying prepay 4G mobile broadband for tablets, laptops and mobile wi-fi devices. Pricing will be revealed within the next month.
Kester Mann, senior analyst for operators at CCS Insight, said: 'Offering a prepaid LTE service brings the technology to a much wider addressable market. However, the availability of lower-cost 4G devices will be critical to the success of pay-as-you-go services.
'The move to launch shared data plans is crucial to satisfying the demands of data-hungry customers and capitalise on the tablet opportunity. CCS Insight has seen huge growth in the UK tablet market this year and launching a shared data plan ahead of its rivals would give EE an important opportunity to tap into this burgeoning market.'
EE said it will launch its double speed 4G service to 10 cities within weeks, with average speeds hitting between 24-30MBps. The launch cities are Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Sheffield.
As well as hitting the 500,000 4G customers milestone, EE revealed it has signed up 2,200 businesses up to 4G, including Clifford Chance, IKEA, Renault UK and Vector Aerospace.
EE CEO Olaf Swantee said: 'By the end of June, we will have rolled out 4G across 55% of the population, and will continue to switch on new towns and cities. And with commuters spending an average of 75 minutes travelling every day, EE will also roll out 4G across the busiest airports, commuter routes and shopping centres across the UK, powering the areas that matter most to Britain.
'We recognise that with 4G, customers connect to the things they care about more frequently, across more devices. Our Shared 4GEE plans and Pay as You Go 4GEE Mobile Broadband will offer our customers more ways to do this.'
Author: Graeme Neill