EE has revealed it wants to have six million customers signed up to its 4G network by the end of the year in light of positive 2013 financial results.
The UK’s largest network doubled its 2013 sign-up target in January as 2 million customers switched to the ultrafast network. CEO Olaf Swantee wants to add 4 million business and consumer customers to that base in the next 12 months as market trends develop.
He told Mobile: ‘We expect 6 million 4G customers including b2b and consumer to sign up by the end of the year.
‘With increased 4G sign-ups there is a general trend happening. As competitors start advertising 4G and we make the service available at more price points more people are taking it up. As a consumer, why buy and iPhone 5s or Samsung Galaxy S4 without getting 4G. We offer customers the chance to have double 4G for an extra £5, so it makes sense.’
EE’s 2013 results revealed a surge in 4G sign-ups in Q4 as 816,000 people switched over, representing a 68% increase over the numbers at the end of Q3. Chief financial officer Neil Milsom said that revenue figures had not been split between 4G and the rest, although its data ARPU had seen a year-on-year increase of 10 percentage points to 44%.
The operator revealed a loss of half a million prepaid customers, although a proportion of those transferred onto EE contract tariffs. Swantee added: ‘We will continue to focus on the value side of things. Postpaid customers bring in six times the amount of ARPU that prepaid customers generate, but this is a general industry trend. It’s more of a market phenomena. You’ll also see people with multiple connections and moving over to good value Sim-only deals.’
Swantee also suggested that although the ultrafast network was being made available at several price points, EE’s proposition would still maintain its premium. In recent weeks O2 and Tesco Mobile made 4G available to existing customers at no added cost, while Three brought its proposition to market with no premium from launch. He said: ‘I want to stress that we have maintained our 4G premium throughout. Some of our competitors are offering 3G and 4G without a differentiation in price which I can’t quite understand.’