EE mobile firm set to gain one million 4G customers
Mobile phone group EE has said it is set to beat its target for one million 4G customers by the end of the year.
The firm, which operates the Orange, T-Mobile and EE brands in the UK, said it had 687,000 4G customers at the end of June, up from 318,000 since March, after rolling out of the super-fast service to cover nearly 60% of the population.
EE posted a 9% rise in underlying earnings to £734m for the first half of the year, despite a 4.9% fall in its service revenues, which it blamed on regulatory changes affecting charges levied on other networks to call its customers' phones as well as EU roaming charges.
The group said it was benefiting from surging demand for higher value mobile phone contracts, including those on its 4G network, with 216,000 contract customers added in the second quarter on a net basis – those joining less those leaving.
But it lost 671,000 pay-as-you-go customers in the three months to June 30. EE, previously known as Everything Everywhere, said those on 4G were spending more each month than on other services, with average revenues per 4G user up around 10%.
A survey of its 4G customers revealed that 50% say they are using the internet more after switching to the service, with 40% going online to surf the internet or send e-mails. More than a quarter – 26% – use 4G to video download or upload, while 11% use it for music and app downloading.
A quarter of all its 4G customers check social media sites more than 10 times a day.
Olaf Swantee, EE chief executive, said 4G was also starting to replace the need for wifi.
"We see the number of customers that are switching off or using public wifi less increasing. So it's now 43% of customers that say we're not using public wifi anymore because we're 4G," he added.
EE, founded in 2010 as a joint venture between Deutsche Telecom and France Telecom through a merger of their respective T-Mobile and Orange businesses, is now the largest network in the UK with 25.3m mobile customers.