Latest Orange/EE News, October 2017.

Tag Archive: EE

  1. Latest Orange/EE News, October 2017.

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    Ever since Orange and T-Mobile joined forces to become EE in the UK, there’s been no shortage of confusion around exactly what the relationship between Orange and EE actually is. Well, let’s clear it up.

    Since the 1st of April 2010, Orange and T-Mobile ceased to be, instead becoming Everything Everywhere, later EE. Though both brands continued to operate for existing customers for a number of years, they were gone in the publics eye and, for those changing their contracts, Orange branding and customer support disappeared.

    Today, all Orange customers are EE customers, so if you’re looking for the latest Orange news, you’re actually looking for the latest EE news. Luckily, we’re here to roundup all the latest stories from the company, as of October 2017. Let’s get going.

    EE Helikite Balloon Delivered 4G Data to Rural Event

    EE are understandably keen on getting strong 4G signal to as many places as possible across the UK, but it’s not always possible to build cell mast in rural areas. Now, the world’s first commercial Helikite “air mast” has taken flight over rural Wales in order to bring signal to hundreds of people at a sporting event.

    The air mast is designed to provide temporary data coverage for remote but densely populated events, like you’d find at music festivals. The inaugural Helikite test came 300 feet above a Red Bull mountain biking event in Machynlleth in Snowdonia Natiaonl Park. The balloon saw download speeds at the event hit 175Mbps, with uploads at 45Mbps – perfect for uploading clips from the event.

    EE suggest that the balloon can be completely inflated and functional within 50 minutes, and can stay airborne for weeks at a time.

    UK’s Fastest 4G Wi-Fi Device Launches from EE

    When it comes to 4G Wi-Fi devices, there’s not a great deal of choice available for consumers, but things are getting better. Case in point? EE’s new Netgear Nighthawk M1, which the company claim is the “fastest 4G Wi-Fi device” in the country.

    The device is now available online or in stores and can hit Cat 16 speeds. In their own testing, the device hit 429Mbps downloads in Wales, where their latest mast technology is active. Up to 20 devices at a time can connect to the Nighthawk M1 and the device can be used portably or at home, making it an ideal all-round Wi-Fi option.

    EE Apologises for Voice Outage

    Our phones might be for more than talking on these days, but that doesn’t mean we don’t notice when we lose the ability to call.

    On the 10th of October, voice services for countless customers went down across the country, leading to a spate of customers seeking the Orange contact number to solve their issue. Now, EE have said that the issue is resolved.

    “Some of our customers are reporting problems when trying to make calls to some numbers this morning,” the firm said in a statement.

    “All data and messaging services are working as normal. We’re working to fix this as quickly as possible and apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

  2. EE Announces Bold New Home Broadband Solution

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    When it comes to your home broadband, there’s no shortage of ways you can get yourself hooked up. From major broadband suppliers like BT, Virgin and Sky to smaller players like TalkTalk, Plusnet and others, there are literally dozens of options available.

    However, when it comes to home broadband, the UK’s major mobile networks haven’t been as active as they might have been.

    Typically, the likes of Three, EE, Vodafone and EE have focussed on mobile broadband solutions for travelling, rather than the home market. It hasn’t always been that way though. BT were one of the pioneers in mobile broadband and even made waves in the home broadband market, offering a range of packages through the Orange contact details.

    Now, the company Orange became (EE) have launched a new home broadband solution to the market, but it comes with a twist.

    Rather than using fibre or copper connections under the ground like you might get with a typical home broadband package, EE’s new 4GEE router utilises the same SIM technology as your smartphone or tablet, broadcasting that signal out to your entire home.

    The company claim that the router is capable of hitting download speeds of 90Mb/s – a number that’s higher than most company’s broadband offerings – with local connectivity provided by a built-in 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi radio. Whilst that means you’ll be able to connect any WiFi device to the router, the system does have its downsides.

    Much like a smartphone, the connection your router receives will be heavily affected by its location in your home and nearby radiofrequency interference, which could mean your speeds take a tumble. The system, therefore, won’t be suitable for people who suffer from poor 4G signal whilst within their home, but it may well be ideal for those who can’t get a regular broadband hook up.

    One major flaw with EE’s new broadband offering though is just how expensive it is. Rather than pricing the service like a typical broadband offering, they’re pricing it based on how much data a customer will use.

    Accordingly, EE have confirmed that the base-level subscription starts at a minimum of £25 a month for 10GB, rising to £50 for 50GB, £75 for 100GB, and maxing out at £100 for 200GB. Mercifully though, the 4GEE Router is provided free of charge at all subscription levels.

    The router is also available to purchase outright for £129.99 and can be used by buying blocks of data transfer allowance starting with a bundled 10GB.

    Those prices make 4GEE broadband a much more expensive option than competing home broadband solutions and a less than ideal everyday solution for most. It is, however, a fine option for those temporarily without internet access or those with very poor traditional broadband access. To that end, EE are promising that their coverage of the UK will extend to 95% by 2020 for 4G+ coverage, though it currently sits at around 80%.

     

  3. Three Planning Litigation to Stop EE and Vodafone

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    The upcoming 4G and 5G spectrum auction is posed to be a huge boon for consumers over the coming years, with signal improving in major towns and cities, alongside rural locations. However, not all is well when it comes to the networks bidding to buy the spectrum.

    In particular, Three have registered their severe dissatisfaction with how the telecoms regulator Ofcom are planning to operate the upcoming auction. After a long war of words, Three have declared that they’re willing to go to court against Ofcom, should the regulator fail to address what Three consider to be anticompetitive sets of rules guiding the auction.

    Three have hand delivered a letter to Ofcom, notifying them that they intend to seek a judicial review, a significant ramping up of tensions over their previous actions.

    Three’s issue with Ofcom stem from the current situation with spectrum ownership. Specifically, the combined forces of BT and EE control around 42 percent of mobile spectrum in the UK. Vodafone owns 29 percent, while Three and O2 lag behind with 15 and 14 percent, respectively.

    Three wants Ofcom to impose strict spectrum caps in the upcoming auction to prevent companies like EE and Vodafone from stockpiling the airwaves. Three contend that if they can’t increase their spectrum share, they can’t improve their service and will therefore lose competitiveness, weakening the market. That’s obviously something that Ofcom would be keen to avoid.

    Indeed, EU regulators and Ofcom blocked the merger of O2 and Three because it would negatively affect competition levels in the UK. The companies, once merged, would have boasted a combined spectrum holding at least on par with Vodafone.

    Nevertheless, Ofcom are taking steps to even out the playing field in the auction. Last November they announced that they would block BT/EE from bidding on any spectrum in the 2.3GHz band, which is the usable 4G spectrum. Three launched a campaign at the time, urging customers to lobby Ofcom for stricter rules.

    Ofcom then announced that it would introduce a cap on “all the mobile spectrum expected to be useable in 2020.” That’s set at 37 percent for all carriers, and means that BT/EE and Vodafone will be limited in how much spectrum they can acquire in the 3.4GHz band, which is earmarked for future 5G services.

    So, what does this mean for customers of the likes of EE? Well, it means that whilst their service will improve somewhat, EE will be held back from improving their network quite as much as they would have hoped. That’ll be a source of indirect frustration for those using the contact details for EE to speak to their customer service team, but it won’t be immediately noticeable.

    Ofcom have not yet commented on the stance Three have taken, but the regulator is understood to be considering their options before making word official.

  4. How Much Does EE Broadband Cost?

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    So, you’re in the market for a new broadband provider, are you? Well, you’re not the only one. Though much of Britain is already locked in with a broadband provider, every single day thousands more join the market, and many thousands more decide to leave their current provider in search of a better deal.

    The only issue is just who you sign up with. From big hitters like BT, Sky and Virgin to some of the lesser known providers who save money on advertising to offer lower rates, it’s a big market out there.

    One of the dark horses of the broadband race has been EE, who’ve made an effort to break out of their mobile-centric business model and offer a range of other services like broadband, home phone and even television to their customers.

    If you’re thinking about getting EE Broadband though, you’ll need to know just how much they cost. So, join us as we share the details.

    All information correct as of January, 2017.

    How much does EE’s Broadband cost?

    EE have two broadband options, and two further options which add EE TV to the equation for an extra fee. Their two broadband plans are:

    • Broadband – The standard broadband deal for EE customers has speeds up to 17Mbps and has a completely unlimited data cap. That’s a nice bonus for customers, who don’t need to worry about streaming too much and hitting their limit. Also included are weekend landline calls, 5GB extra mobile data if you’re an EE mobile customer. Total monthly cost: £19.50 for 18 months, with a £7 router delivery fee.
    • Fibre Broadband – The Fibre Broadband deal ups the speed to 38Mbps, but otherwise keeps the features the same as the standard broadband deal. That means you’ll be getting unlimited broadband, inclusive weekend landline calls and 5GB of extra mobile data if you’re an EE mobile customer. Total monthly cost: £28.50 for 18 months, with a £32 router delivery + fibre connection fee (currently reduced to £7)

    These two deals can be augmented with EE TV for an extra fee. EE TV takes Freeview and juices it up with access to mountains of catch up and on demand content from the likes of YouTube, Wuaki, Now TV, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and many, many more. You can also rewind, fast forward and record live TV with EE TV. Best of all? You can take your TV with you around the house, watching via a smartphone or tablet.

    To add EE TV to your package increases the cost of the Broadband package to £28.50 a month for 18 months. For Fibre Broadband customers, taking EE TV increases the monthly cost to £33.50 a month.

    As a final deal, you can add anytime landline calls, an additional 1500 minutes to your EE mobile contract and calls to landlines in over 40 countries for another £6.50 a month.

  5. How Will BT’s Takeover of EE Affect You?

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    There’s no denying that when it comes to convoluted histories, EE has the competition beat. Formed from the coming together of two British mobile telecoms giants in Orange and T-Mobile (a duo which have changed hands 9 times between themselves), EE became the latest chapter in a long and, frankly confusing, story.

    Their merger completed in 2010, creating the single biggest mobile network in the UK. Alongside that came a new name, Everything Everywhere, which quickly became EE. The years of cosy co-operation between one time rivals in Deutsch Telkom and France Telecom would soon come to an end, as rumours of BT’s interest in the mobile giant emerged.

    At a cost of £12.5 billion, the merger finally completed in 2016. BT officially became the owner of EE, becoming the biggest combined telecoms company in the UK by a long, long distance. It certainly wasn’t cheap, and it was met with scepticism from business and customers alike. Questions like whether BT would keep EE’s name, whether the takeover would affect the cost of your contract and more arose.

    So, with BT not doing the best job at explaining their plans for EE, we’ve decided to put together this guide of frequently asked questions and their answers. So, let’s dig in.

    Q: Will EE be renamed?

    A: Thankfully, for those of us who’ve dealt with the transition from Orange to Everything Everywhere and then EE, BT have signalled that there will be no change to the name of the service. We can all expect EE as a brand to stick around for a long while to come, BT Mobile just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    Q: Will this affect EE’s roll out of 4G and WiFi calling?

    A: EE have made a number of promises in recent years, but few as prominent as their planned rollout of 4G and WiFi calling for customers. The good news is that despite the significant cost of buying EE, BT have no plans to slow down or halt their rollouts in this area. We might, however, see an end to initiatives like EE TV, which directly compete with BT TV.

    Q: Will BT take over EE’s customer service department?

    A: EE might not have the greatest record for the EE contact number in regards to customer service, but BT are significantly worse still. That’s sparked fears that BT might consolidate their customer service teams, further reducing the quality of help offered on the line.

    In this regard, EE have been quick to downplay that possibility, saying that EE’s customer service will remain independent.

    Q: Will your phone number change?

    A: No, your phone number will remain exactly as before, unless you opt to change it by dialling 150 or moving to a different contract. Equally, there won’t be a change in how easily you can access a PAC code.

    Q: I don’t want to be a BT customer, can I cancel my EE contract?

    A: Some people have strong feelings about BT, leading some to question whether they can leave their EE contract early because of the takeover. The answer is yes, but not without paying a cancellation fee if you’re still within the terms of your contract. Early termination charges are commonplace, and you’ll likely be forced to pay one if you want to leave your contract early

    Q: You’re already a BT and EE customer, will you save money?

    A: Because you’re tied in to EE and BT contracts, there’s no way for you to get a better deal at present. In the future, however, it’s expected that BT will have some combination deals with EE which will deliver saving. So, when it comes time to renegotiate your EE and BT contracts, keep an eye out for ‘quad-play’ deals which bundle TV, mobile, home phone and broadband.

    Q: Can you now get help for my BT products and services at EE shops?

    A: BT have signalled they would like to keep EE shops specifically for EE customers, and won’t be training EE staff to deal with BT issues. They feel that blending the two together would create confusion and customer congestion, and they’re probably right in this regard.

    Q: Will your bill change because of the takeover?

    A: No, your bill will remain exactly as it was. BT are operating EE as a subsidiary, which means that the structure of EE has remained largely unchanged since the takeover. As such, your billing and statements will be as before. No need to worry about your direct debits either, because the payment location hasn’t changed either.

  6. Where did T-Mobile Go?

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    It wasn’t so long ago now that if you were to glance at your phone, the most likely network you’d see written on the top right of your screen would be T-Mobile. The brand were everywhere, with representation on our high streets, constantly TV advertising and a strong online presence. Today, however, the brand is completely gone in the UK, though it maintains a presence elsewhere in the world.

    The birth of T-Mobile

    T-Mobile began life as another recognisable name from the early days of mobile telecommunication – Mercury One2One. An early GSM mobile network, Mercury One2One were operated by the long defunct Mercury Communications. Later, the company would be rebranded as One2One following the launch of Orange and the broader move to simplify and soften the hard-core techy image of mobile networks.

    Amazingly, One2One was the first company in the world to launch a GSM network, a standard which would become used across vast swathes of the earth. That was back in 1993, at a time when the promise of mobile phones was huge, but they were expensive and cumbersome, nothing but an expensive luxury.

    By the year 1999, One2One had grown into a company with a respectable market share in the UK, and was being scouted out for a buyout. That came from German telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom, who operated it under the One2One brand for 3 years before, in 2002, rebranding the company at T-Mobile.

    T-Mobile to EE

    The T-Mobile branding worked a treat as the company saw its strongest ever growth, becoming one of the two biggest mobile networks in the UK. The business was expanding at a rapid rate, taking on huge customer numbers through the T Mobile customer service number.

    It was also around this time that T-Mobile helped launch a little phone known at the G1. It had a slide out keyboard and was manufactured by HTC. It was also the first ever Android phone to see release. Though it didn’t set the world alight in terms of sales, Android took off and is today the most popular mobile operating system around the world. It powers phones, tablets, laptops, cars, televisions and much, much more, touching billions of lives.

    In late 2009, it was announced that Orange and T-Mobile would merge, to form the UK’s largest mobile network with approximately 37% of the market. By 2012, almost all of T-Mobile’s branding and presence in the UK had gone, and by 2015, the last vestiges of the brand were eliminated.

    EE becomes a BT company

    On February 5th, 2016, BT Group announced they would be purchasing EE in a deal worth £12.5 billion, subject to regulatory approval. That approval came on the 15th of January, 2016. The deal was finally closed on the 29th of January 2016 with Deutsche Telekom taking on 12% of BT’s stock and Orange retaining 4% of the stock.

    Only time will tell what BT plan to do with the EE brand, but it seems very unlikely we’ll see the return of the T-Mobile brand any time soon.

  7. A History of Orange, before EE

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    Today, we remember Orange as one of the true pioneers of the early mobile telecommunication era. From their inception to their ingenuous branding, the company not only helped us communicate on the go, but advance advertising in huge ways too.

    Here in the UK, the brand has been retired following a number of years slow integration with the EE brand, but that doesn’t mean we can forget all about its long and lustrous history. So, in this guide, we’re going to share with you the fantastic story which has brought Orange into the present day.

    Orange before Orange

    The company we now recognise as Orange began life right here in the UK under the name Microtel Communicatons Ltd. The year was 1990, and as a consortium formed by American owned Pactel Corporation, British Aerospace, Millicom and French company Mantra, MCL was a multinational and multilingual affair from the very start. However, that wasn’t to last for long.

    British Aerospace, spotting the potential in the space, moved quickly to buy out their partners in the enterprise, taking control of the young company, though retaining the Microtel name.

    In July 1991, Hutchison Whampoa (the current owners of Three) agreed a stock swap deal with BAe. As part of that deal, Whampoa would take a controlling stake (65%) in Microtel Communications. At this stage, Microtel had won a license to develop a ‘personal communications network’ in the UK, one of the very first dished out to a company.

    Birth of a Brand

    It was around this time that Orange set to work creating their revolutionary branding. Bold, innovative and entirely new, Microtel settled on the name Orange for their consumer facing business. In an era when telecommunications branding would never dream of being so opaque, Orange lit a path that has since been followed by the likes of O2, EE, Three and many more.

    This new branding was created by an internal team within Microtel, headed by then marketing director Chris Moss, with support from Martin Keogh, Rob Furness and Ian Pond. Wolff Olins were tasked with designing the brand values and logo, whilst WCRS worked on that incredible, iconic slogan – The Future’s Bright, the Futures Orange.

    Launch day

    On the 28th of April, 1994, Orange launched an 1800MHz GSM network in the UK, alongside a nationwide advertising campaign which teased the brand. Growth was explosive, and by 1995 a holding company had been established under the name Orange plc, ending all trace of the Microtel brand and ending a great deal of confusion on Orange customer services.

    Floated and sold

    By April 1996 the company was considered large enough to float on the London Stock Exchange. Following the float, the company was majority owned by Whampoa (48.22%), with a smaller amount owned by BAe (21.1%). However, such was the demand for shares in the young company that Orange became the youngest ever company to enter the FTSE 100, valued at £2.4 billion in July 1996.

    October 1999 would see the company purchased by German conglomerate Mannesmann AG for $33 billion, shortly before Mannessman was bought by Vodafone for $183 billion in February 2000. Vodafone, however, could not hold two mobile licenses, so sold Orange to France Telecom for £37 billion, a transaction completed in 2000. It would remain in the hands of France Telecom for a decade before the merger with T-Mobile.