EE financial results suggests lukewarm response to UK's 4G rollout

EE financial results suggests lukewarm response to UK's 4G rolloutToday's not been the best day for notions of a shiny happy future for 4G in the UK.

First, Ofcom announced that its big 4G spectrum auction raised more than £1bn less than it was hoping for, and now EE – the only network already offering 4G connectivity – has revealed figures suggesting UK mobile customers haven't exactly been beating down its door to get signed up.

The results of the 4G auction show, predictably, that Vodafone, O2 and Three have grabbed a slice of the LTE pie, while BT has grabbed some of the action too and EE has topped up on its own bandwidth helping.

In total, though, Ofcom raised well below the hoped-for (and indeed budgeted for) £3.5bn, with the auction raising a significantly lower total of just £2.3bn.

But possibly more interesting is EE's latest earnings report, which reveals the network's figures for the Q4 quarter and gives us our first sense of how the UK's 4G pioneer has been doing since its LTE service went live at the end of October.

And it's not looking too good.

The figures for the quarter show that EE added 201,000 new customers in the last three months of 2012, which is 49,000 less than in the previous quarter and a massive 112,000 down on the same quarter in 2011.

EE's earnings report skirts the issue somewhat – it talks of a “record-setting 4G rollout”, but considering it was the first network to offer 4G its figures couldn't be anything else but a new record.

To be fair, the figures don't reveal how many existing 3G customers have made the upgrade to 4G, which would probably be the best way to gauge consumer sentiment towards 4G.

The initial knee-jerk reaction to the EE 4G rollout was that it was expensive for what you're getting, and it would be interesting to see many people decided to swallow the price increase and sign up all the same.

Via Engadget

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7 comments

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 20, 2013 at 17:27

Lets not forget: in the current, ahem, economy a lot of consumer related behaviour is not what it used to be at the height of smartphone mania... Heck, I hear people started eating horses o_O - that's pretty 1920s for my taste ;)

And just as other networks start to offer half-decent data packages, you're asked to 'upgrade' to 'less but faster'?

ricardinio  Feb. 20, 2013 at 18:05

I think a key point is that the data allowance for 4g includes 3g usage and is not in addition to it. since 4g is only available in certain areas, if you're not in one of those areas it effectively means you're paying more for less data and at the same speed as a standard 3g contract.

Pondlife  Feb. 20, 2013 at 18:54

Let's not forget they tried to rip everyone off and most went erm no thanks.

Not to mention that they only had it available in fairly small areas and not great depth to coverage in even areas supposedly supported.

Pondlife  Feb. 20, 2013 at 18:58

Oh and saw yesterday that they were trying to entice people with early upgrades to 4g phones from One X, 4S and other phones I didn't bother to read/forgot.

Oh and there's a word missing from last paragraph of article. How?

polla2256  Feb. 20, 2013 at 19:20

Once bitten twice shy, compounded with this climate we consumers control the markets not the monopolising telcos. EE took the micky with their pricing, smartphones change faster than the weather, we're skint and fatigued (3D tv, iphone 3,4,5, sgs 1,2,3 ipads, ipods, ivehadenough). Its a shame, if the tech was held it could have been a gold rush. Blame the politics and the economists ! I will get 4G - just not yet as I have to pay my gas bill, sell my organs to get next weeks rail tickets and buy some beef from the butcher !

JanSt / MOD  Feb. 20, 2013 at 19:24

I think a key point is that the data allowance for 4g includes 3g usage and is not in addition to it. since 4g is only available in certain areas, if you're not in one of those areas it effectively means you're paying more for less data and at the same speed as a standard 3g contract.

Good point!

matt101101 / MOD  Feb. 20, 2013 at 22:13

I think a key point is that the data allowance for 4g includes 3g usage and is not in addition to it. since 4g is only available in certain areas, if you're not in one of those areas it effectively means you're paying more for less data and at the same speed as a standard 3g contract.

Good point!

Yes, it is. It's a rather large and important point that EE conveniently fail to mention in any of their marketing material.

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