Everything Everywhere, the joint venture between UK mobile network operators Orange UK and T-Mobile UK, has made a number of notable announcements, chief among them being a corporate rebranding and the release of a timeframe for the commercial launch of 4G services.
While confirming that it plans to continue using the Orange and T-Mobile brands for customers, Everything Everywhere has revealed that it is rebranding simply as EE, with the new moniker also set to be used as a customer-facing brand for its to-be-launched Long Term Evolution (LTE) services. In line with the name change, EE has also revealed that it expects to open more than 700 EE-branded retail stores across the UK, replacing the existing Orange and T-Mobile shop fronts.
Alongside its rebranding efforts, EE has set out its timetable for the inauguration of LTE services, while also revealing that it will add fibre-based broadband services to the range of products that it offers. The operator has announced that its 4G network has already been switched on in four cities – London, Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham – in order to allow engineers to begin live testing and systems integration, ahead of the consumer launch. In terms of commercial access, meanwhile, the operator has said that it aims to launch in a total of 16 cities by Christmas 2012, with those being: London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Derby, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and Southampton. This initial coverage, EE claims, will mean that its LTE network covers around a third of the population (or more than 20 million people) by the end of the year. Looking ahead, the operator has said it expects coverage to increase to 70% by the end of 2013, before rising to 98% by end-2014.
Developments related to the company’s 2G/3G network have also been detailed. As of yesterday the combined infrastructure – which it inherited from the sum of the JV parts – will be known as the EE network. Claiming to have spent around GBP1.5 billion (USD2.4 billion) on upgrades to the infrastructure over the last three years, the operator has confirmed that T-Mobile and Orange customers will begin switching over to the new seamless network. It expects to complete this process by the end of the year, and has said that the move will allow all of its 27 million subscribers to ‘get faster 3G service, with speeds of up to 21Mbps, and more coverage than ever before’.
In the fixed line arena, meanwhile, EE has announced that it will launch superfast fibre broadband services, offering downlink speeds of up to 76Mbps and upload speeds of up to 14Mbps. The new broadband product is expected to launch at the same time as EE’s 4G mobile service, and will be available to around eleven million premises by the end of 2012. It has also noted that it expects to continue offering ADSL-based services.
Commenting on the raft of announcements, Olaf Swantee, EE’s CEO, noted: ‘Today we launch a new company, a new network and a new brand for Britain. Our plans to revolutionise the UK communications market with a faster network and an exciting new brand for the digital age are built on solid investment and a simple belief that customers deserve better. We look forward to connecting the country with superfast mobile speeds in the coming weeks, months and years.’