EE launches new SIM-only LTE plans; extends Cash on Tap to London's tube

EE launched a "refreshed" range of SIM-only LTE plans as a latest salvo in the LTE subscriber acquisition wars between UK operators.

The company--a joint venture of Deutsche Telekom and Orange Group--placed the emphasis on flexibility with 30-day and 12-month plans for subscribers that wish to retain their existing phone.

The new plans start from £9.99 (€12.6/$16) per month. Customers who take out an EE Extra plan from £15.99 will also receive unlimited UK calls and texts, so-called double-speed LTE services, and free calls to 080 numbers.

"Our new range of SIM Only plans will provide customers with even more value, simplicity and choice, allowing them to make the most out of their smartphone experience," said Simon Till, head of pay monthly propositions. Till also noted that EE's network now covers 75 per cent of the UK population.

The SIM-only move comes after EE also recently revamped its prepaid LTE packs to UK consumers, in a challenge to Vodafone UK's extension of LTE services to its prepaid customers.

EE, which also owns the Orange and T-Mobile brands in the UK, said the new prepaid packs would start from £1 a week, noting that 70 per cent of mobile prepaid users spend less than £10 per month.

In August, Vodafone UK marked the first anniversary of its LTE launch by offering prepaid LTE plans starting at £20 per month, for which users get 2 GB of data as well as 500 voice minutes and unlimited texts. Customers choosing this package or a more expensive option get unlimited data for the first month to help them decide what pricing plan will suit them best.

In a separate announcement, EE also confirmed that its Cash on Tap contactless mobile payments services was now available on the London Underground, tram, DLR, Overground and National Rail services that accept Oyster. The company said in August that customers were able to use their mobile phones to pay for travel on London buses if they have handsets enabled with Cash on Tap.

Vodafone has also confirmed that it plans to launch its mobile wallet in the UK in October, in what will be the fourth market for the service after Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.

EE and Vodafone UK are also involved in the UK mobile payments venture Weve along with O2 UK. Weve is a more far-reaching endeavour that ultimately aims to accelerate the development of the UK's "most comprehensive contactless mobile payments system" in conjunction with MasterCard.

However, it has recently been rumoured that Weve has abandoned plans to launch a standard mobile wallet following the launch of the iPhone 6, which comes with a mobile wallet based on near-field communications.

Weve has not confirmed the reports: "Weve's mandate has always been to explore new commercial opportunities in the mobile commerce arena and to build products and services that makes commercial sense to do so. To date, we have already launched two very successful products in the shape of a messaging and a new advertising display service," the company said in an emailed statement earlier this week.

Weve added that it continues to believe there is a great deal of potential in mobile contactless payments. "We are currently working on developments where Weve can help streamline the mobile payments process," it said.

For more:
- see this EE release on SIM-only LTE
- see this EE release on Cash on Tap
- see this Daily Telegraph article

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