From today, EE is offering passengers in black cabs in London and Birmingham the 4G experience for free via built in WiFi in the cabs. Well, it’s free for the next 3 months anyway. Why? EE is the UK’s first 4G network and in my opinion, the marketing isn’t going too well. If you walk into an EE Store, there are no 4G devices that you can use to road test the much anticipated 4G network. They had to think of other ways to show people what they’re missing out on and what better way than utilising one of the most popular modes of transport?
MiFi devices have been fitted in 40 London cabs and 10 Birmingham cabs that you can connect to free of charge. EE had a massive head start on other companies in regards to 4G, being allowed to use a part of the radio spectrum ahead of all other companies bidding in the recent 4G auction. This means they had a chance to build up a massive user base before any other company had it – and it also means they can charge an extortionate amount for data because at the moment they’re the only supplier. They should be worried though as in the coming months, Three are launching their 4G network and have announced that it will cost no extra to use.
EE’s Spencer McHugh had this to say about the three month project:
“The first motorised black cabs hit the streets in 1901, nearly 70 years before the first smart phone was available to consumers, now we are bringing this icon of British transport into the 21st century with a 4G makeover”
EE aren’t the first company to offer free WiFi – even if theirs is 4G Speed. For the 2012 Olympics, Virgin Media installed WiFi on London Underground Stations for commuters to use free of charge until January. From January onwards, to get the WiFi for free you had to be on a EE or Vodafone contract or use Virgin Media at home, everyone else has to pay a fee. Is this the way that EE will conduct itself? Only time will tell!
Are you on EE’s 4G Network? Is it all its made out to be? Or are you one of the many waiting for the other networks 4G services to be launched so EE drops their prices? Let me know in the comments below or via The Strand‘s Twitter account!