EE reaches 1m 4G customers ahead of schedule

Mobile phone operator EE has signed up one million customers to its superfast 4G service four months ahead of its Christmas target.


Mobile phone operator EE has signed up one million customers to its superfast 4G service, four months ahead of its Christmas target.

The company launched 4G last October and revealed in late July that it had 687,000 customers subscribed to its 4G network, suggesting it has signed up over 300,000 customers in just over a month.

EE, which operates the Orange and T-Mobile brands, has invested heavily in a national advertising campaign led by actor Kevin Bacon to secure its place as the UK's 4G market leader and this may have helped to boost the number of 4G customers.

Rivals O2 and Vodafone launched their own 4G services in the UK on August 29. However, they only cover three cities between them while EE has been expanded to over 100 towns and cities across Britain. EE is aiming to outdo competitors with an even faster 4G service, which is now available in 20 towns and cities in the UK and said to be twice as quick as conventional 4G.

EE was given a head start in the battle for 4G last year when industry regulator Ofcom granted it permission to use its existing 2G spectrum to roll out 4G services.

The big four operators in the UK (EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three) have spent a total of £2.4 billion on 4G services, after the government auctioned off further spectrum earlier this year.

Olaf Swantee, chief executive of EE, said the UK had seen one of the fastest adoption rates for 4G in the world.

However, EE has over 27 million customers which means that only a fraction are using 4G. The mobile operators may find it hard to convince customers to sign up to 4G after a survey released by Ofcom in July revealed that only a quarter of mobile phone users see any benefit of moving to the superfast mobile network.

Ofcom has also estimated that 4G services will provide at least £20bn in benefits to UK consumers over the next ten years.

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