EE introduces cheaper 4G plans, launches its own £99.99 handset [Update]

Three years ago, 4G mobile services had not yet launched in the United Kingdom. Less than two years ago, EE announced plans to launch the nation’s 4G first network. Last year, EE’s rivals were finally able to begin launching their 4G services, and now, there is plenty of choice for those shopping around for mobile plans.

4G is no longer the preserve of those with cash to burn, as competition has brought better value offerings and lower prices, and today, EE has announced some new additions to its range, targeting those for whom price matters most.

First up, EE is launching its first own-branded handset, which will be the cheapest device on the carrier’s 4G LTE network. The EE Kestrel features a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, along with a microSD slot. Up front, you’ll find a 4.5-inch qHD (960x540px) display and a 1MP camera, while around the back, there’s a 5MP shooter with LED flash. Manufactured by Huawei, the device even includes the OEM’s ‘Emotion UI’, running on top of Android 4.3 Jelly Bean.

The spec sheet may not be particularly exciting, but this device is not intended to compete with flagships, as its price attests. The Kestrel will be sold for £99.99 on EE Pay As You Go, but if you’re looking for a contract, you can get it absolutely free on EE’s newest entry-level plan.

EE has shaved £5 off the price of its cheapest plan, which now costs just £13.99 a month, and includes 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data. If the Kestrel isn’t your cup of tea, you’ll still be able to get other handsets on this 24-month plan, such as the new HTC One, but you’ll have to pay a sizeable sum up front towards the cost of the device.

A few other changes have been announced today, including the option to purchase a £2-per-day add-on to any EE plan which will give you unlimited texts and calls to use when roaming in an EU country. For those staying at home, mobile data allowances will be offered to those who take EE’s home broadband service alongside a 4G mobile plan.

The changes, including the new £13.99 monthly price plan, come into effect immediately, but if you’re interested in buying the EE Kestrel, you’ll have to wait until the end of April. 

top image via EE

Update: EE has asked that we make a small correction to this article - the Kestrel is, in fact, priced at £99.99, not £99 as we originally stated. This was entirely our mistake, and we apologize for the error. (Editor's note: The writer of this article has been repeatedly slapped with a wet fish, and once he's recovered from that ordeal, will hopefully not make the same mistake again.) 

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12 Comments

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Same, more than happy to keep paying £9.90 a month and wait for unlimited 4g. To be honest the 10mbps i get at home / work on 3g is more than enough for me anyway.

Perhaps he was referring to the "all you can eat data" aspect, rather than network availability. I still don't understand why somebody would pay a premium for a 4G service and only take a plan with 500mb of data allowance. Just seems nonsensical to me. If you're so into data use that the increased speed appeals to you, then I'm sure you'd likely want to use more than 500mb.

sanke1 said,
So still no competition to Three.

Three's brilliant data plans have been scraped for new customers... so if someone's looking around right now, there is definitely competition.

I'm on EE with 4G and 8Gb data of which I mostly never get near halfway through per month. But the main reason I took out 4G was simply because I wanted a 12 month contract... not available on 3G!

sanke1 said,
So still no competition to Three.

Threes's version of 4G is more like intermittent 3G, even in London. EE availibility and speed is way better, downside is that EE is expensive.

CrippsCorner said,

Three's brilliant data plans have been scraped for new customers... so if someone's looking around right now, there is definitely competition.

I'm on EE with 4G and 8Gb data of which I mostly never get near halfway through per month. But the main reason I took out 4G was simply because I wanted a 12 month contract... not available on 3G!

I dont think Three's data plans have been scrapped at all: http://store.three.co.uk/view/searchSimOnly?tariff=29150100

As for contract length i guess it really depends if you want the phone on contract, i would personally sooner buy my own phone and have a cheap 1 month rolling contract.