Hot on the heel of Apple announcing its latest iPhone 5 back in the last quarter of 2012, UK Telco company Everything Everywhere (or just EE) became the first UK network provide that provide the super-fast 4G/LTE connection. If you remember, that time I was writing about what we could expect of 4GEE in term of speed and cost.
As far as 4G/LTE concern, in theory it can go as fast as 300 Mbit/s! iPhone 5 according to Apple can go up to 100 Mbit/s.
4GEE however, at the time when they started offering the service, could only reach in average up to 10Mbit/s (the same speed I get on with my home broadband), with possible instances of up to 60 Mbit/s. It’s still far from the top speed that iPhone 5 can handle, but nevertheless it’s still 4/5 times faster than the normal 3G.
Fast forward 10 months later, EE last week announced that it’s officially turn on Double Speed 4G for selected cities (Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Nottingham and Sheffield).
Recently I had the opportunity to experience this ‘beast‘. Rather than having a 4G Sim Card for my phone, I was given one of those Mobile WiFi dongle (Huawei E5776). I felt a little bit nostalgic when I hold it in my hand because I used to play with its older siblings, the MiFi! I must admit this version of Huawei Mobile dongle looked and felt more ‘professional’, albeit bigger and heftier than its predecessors.
So, let’s answer the most important question everybody has been asking, How Fast really is Fast? Let’s turn on the MiFi, connect my iPhone, and fire up the Speedtest app! You can see the result in the screenshot below:
Now, I admit that I took several tests and the above was the fastest one. As you can see, with the Double Speed 4G, the network speed has been literally doubled! Though from the tests I conducted, in reality it’s not easy to reach more than 20 Mbit/s but it did keep steady above 15 Mbit/s, which is pretty fast indeed!
How much this 4GEE going to cost me?
Next favourite question is, how much doest it cost to get this ‘privilege’?
Let’s just say 4GEE costs a lot!
For example if you check the chart below for a SIM only 24-month contract, you can see that the cheapest tariff you can get will only get you 500MB data allowance! That is not nearly enough for all the mobile internet activities that people have these days. A decent data allowance, the 5GB one (trust me you will need this much if you have 20 MBit/s speed), will burn through your pocket with £51. That’s pretty much out of reach of an average UK mobile user. More importantly, nobody wants to spend this much when you can get Unlimited data on 3G for the same price as the cheapest 4GEE tariff!
But for the Mobile WiFi Tariff, however the tariffs are quite different, it’s considerably cheaper! Of course you will not get an call or text allowance, but as far as the data plan go, the cost is reduced for than half! The 5GB data plan for example, will only cost you £21 that’s much less than the SIM Only equivalent!
Granted that we used to pay more than this not so long ago for a mere Edge connection. As a matter of fact, I used to pay the same money, similar to this tariff only 3 years ago. Nevertheless, for now at least, I don’t feel that I have the need to fork more money just to get the advantage of speed. Who knows, in time, as always, these prices will go down.