EE will be aggressively targeting customers from rival networks with its new shared 4G plans, with the operator accusing competitors of playing ‘catch up’.
The aggressive push on shared plans will raise the stakes in the 4G race ahead of O2 and Vodafone’s imminent announcement of their own 4G propositions and EE’s attempts to sign up one million customers to 4G by the end of the year. While EE has said its strategy had been upgrading existing Orange and T-Mobile customers onto next generation contracts, it said it is now on the hunt for rivals’ customers.
Pippa Dunn (pictured), chief marketing officer for consumer, told Mobile: ‘We think it’s a good opportunity to acquire new customers and give them encouragement to move... Every six months we are coming out with new innovations and exciting things that keep us ahead of our competitors. They are in the realms of playing catch-up.’
The network revealed details of the shared plans last week, as well as lifting the lid off prepay 4G plans, a new NFC mobile wallet, extending data allowances in a summer 4G push and a ‘plug and play’ fibre broadband router. EE is set to target the shared plans at families and people with multiple devices. While the plans have been a fixture in the US for some time, the operator has made the move now to launch shared plans because of the growing use in data. EE’s 4G customers are mostly consuming between 1GB and 3GB of data per month. Next year, Vodafone will follow suit with its own shared packages for UK consumers.
Dunn said the operator has looked closely at how the US tailored its shared packages and she said the launch of 4G late last year gave EE a jumping-off point to introduce them, given the increase in data usage. She said: ‘What we know from the States is that they would be incredibly popular and that we would see growth in terms of tenure and ARPU.’
In the autumn, EE will launch tiered 4G plans, with consumers paying a premium for greater speeds. The operator rolled out double speeds to 12 cities on 4 July. Dunn said that existing and upgraded 4G customers will not be charged extra for these speeds of between 24MBps and 30MBps for the duration of their contract. She said further details about the plans will be announced in the autumn.
Speaking at last week’s launch event, EE CEO Olaf Swantee said the operator was selling an average of more than 100 4G contracts every hour of every day since it launched in October. He said the operator needs to continue to innovate in order to safeguard its position. He said the new products were in response to asking ‘how do we stay one step ahead and change how people use their tablets and smartphones when 4G comes to their area?’.