July 3, 2013 / 10:16 AM / 7 years ago

EE to double 4G speeds ahead of rival roll-outs

LONDON, July 3 (Reuters) - British mobile phone operator EE said on Wednesday it would start doubling the speed of its 4G network in 12 cities in a bid to snap up more customers before its rivals launch competing offers later this year.

EE, owned by Orange and Deutsche Telekom , said it would lift the current average speeds available to customers to between 24 to 30 Mbps from Thursday, putting Britain on a par with South Korea in terms of mobile network offerings.

The group will also run a promotion until the end of September, offering customers who sign up to a two-year contract both double speed 4G and increased data allowances as it ramps up its competitive advantage over its rivals.

The joint venture gained a head start in the 4G race when it re-used existing airwaves to launch services. Its competitors, including Telefonica’s O2 and Vodafone, will launch their own offerings later this year.

The group, which has signed up more than half a million customers to its 4G network, also said it would start offering its new shared 4GEE plans later this month, allowing customers to connect up to five separate devices to one 4GEE plan.

The offer of shared plans for customers who own numerous connected devices such as laptops and tablets has proved hugely popular in the United States, where it has increased customer loyalty.

“As the market leader in the UK, we will continue to monetise network differentiation,” Chief Executive Olaf Swantee told reporters on Wednesday.

“When we exceed our 1 million 4G customers by the end of this year we will have proven that we can get an adoption that is faster than other markets while maintaining a premium,” he said, in reference to the amount customers have been willing to pay for the faster connection.

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