Earlier this week, EE - the UK's first and largest 4G carrier - announced new initiatives to reduce the cost of upgrading to 4G plans. In addition to lowering the price of its cheapest 24-month plan to just £13.99, the company also introduced the UK's cheapest 4G handset - the £99.99 EE Kestrel.
With 4G becoming more affordable - and with rival carriers, such as Three and Tesco Mobile, now making 4G the norm rather than an extravagance - EE is beginning to see less use for its subsidiary brand. EE's brand extends only as far as its 4G network, but its parent company also owns T-Mobile UK and Orange UK, which continue to offer 3G services.
T-Mobile has been positioned as the 'value-focused' carrier in the group's portfolio, while Orange focuses on a more 'premium' experience. Perks, such as 'Orange Wednesdays' 2-for-1 cinema tickets, have been extended to EE's 4G customers too.
But we may well be seeing the first steps in the phasing out of the T-Mobile and Orange brands in the UK, as CoolSmartPhone reveals that EE has terminated online sales of devices and plans for the two 3G carriers. Those attempting to buy online from either network's store will be redirected to the EE site. From now, anyone wanting a T-Mobile or Orange plan will have to visit an EE high street store to do so, or call the companies' sales teams, or visit their official eBay shop.
Carrier stores are already branded heavily with EE's identity, with tiny T-Mobile and Orange logos displayed in a corner on store fronts. It seems like it is only a matter of time until EE becomes the exclusive UK brand for the nation's biggest carrier group.