EE has stepped up its 4G proposition by allowing customers to exchange their handset for a 4G ready smartphone before the end of their contract.
In another sign that 4G competition is heating up, ‘Swap’ will allow those with selected devices to upgrade after six months for a one-off fee, which could be as little as £49 as long as their existing handset works and has no cosmetic damage.
EE revealed yesterday that it had reached one million 4G customers and the incentive goes some way in showing the operator’s intention to retain them. O2 and Vodafone launched their own 4G propositions last month.
The plans will be available from 17 September and start at £36 per month with a one-off payment of £249, but customers are required to enter a fresh 24 month deal.
Pippa Dunn, chief consumer marketing officer at EE, said: ‘With smartphone innovation moving at a relentless pace, we realise that some customers want to move to the latest handset at the earliest possible opportunity. That’s why we’ve introduced ‘Swap’ to sit alongside our existing upgrade offers – providing a new, simple and easily affordable option for pay monthly customers to move to the latest 4G smartphones.’
Telecoms expert at uSwitch, Ernest Doku, said: ‘EE's early upgrade scheme could make keeping up with the 4G revolution simpler and easier for many. Being able to move into the mobile fast lane for a one-off fee could be the offer many consumers need to make the switch. And with the smartphone market evolving at a breakneck pace, many mobile lovers may start to get itchy feet when they’re tied into a lengthy contracts. Buying your way out of a contract has never been easy or cheap, but this scheme keeps things straightforward, and for those looking at moving to a higher-end 4G plan, relatively affordable.
‘However, tying the one-off fee into the tariff type could prove to be a blessing and a curse. Customers looking to move just six months into a 24-month contract will be the winners, whereas those in sight of the finish line may feel hard done by.But it’s hard to keep everyone happy, and what EE has done is simplify the process and 'swap' could give those EE customers with a phone in good condition the chance to enjoy 4G without the hefty outlay they may have feared.’
Author: Matthew Campelli