EE has launched its fastest fibre broadband yet for UK customers, claiming its new enhanced service will deliver download speeds of over 1.6Gbps (1600Mbps).
This is a big step up over the 74Mbps average speed that EE says it delivers nationally. Currently, EE’s Full Fibre plans offers speeds up to 900Mbps, on a par with packages offered by other providers such as BT and Vodafone.
The new service will be available to the same areas of the UK covered by EE’s current Full Fibre plans, which it says is 10 million homes.
A spokesperson for the network provider said the new service will be launching for customers in “late summer”.
Currently the fastest fibre broadband available in the UK is up to 3Gbps with Community Fibre, though its service is available only in certain parts of London, and only offers Wi-Fi connections “from 400-800Mbps”.
EE promises customers who opt for the new high-end broadband plan that it will allow for extra capacity on home Wi-Fi networks so more people can stream, download, and game without bandwidth or speeds suffering. As of yet, the company hasn’t said how much the plan will cost or exactly when it will be available for new and existing customers.
The speedy service was announced along with a brand new “experience store” in White City, London.
“We’re big believers in retail, but we also believe retail needs to evolve,” said Marc Allera, EE’s CEO, at the launch of EE’s new ‘experience store’ in Westfield White City mall in London. He said EE wants to become a brand that plays a much bigger role in its customers’ lives.
The store, which EE says is the UK’s largest telco retail space, is kitted out with smart home set ups, a gaming room, coffee station and hot desks for people to drop in and work. It also has a ‘digital spa’ where employees can help customers learn more about digital detoxing and having a more healthy relationship with technology.
Three similar stores will launch soon in Manchester, Cardiff, and Bluewater shopping centre.
The new EE experience store in White City, London
Henry Burrell / Foundry
The company, which is owned by BT, also announced a new home Wi-Fi router called the Smart Hub Plus (pictured at the top), which supports Wi-Fi 6, not the newer Wi-Fi 6E or Wi-Fi 7 standard. This can be paired with the new Smart Wi-Fi Plus Wi-Fi signal booster or the new Smart Hybrid Connect, which can provide a 4G signal to the home if the wired fibre broadband cuts out.
These devices were designed by consultancy ZAG and designer Tej Chauhan, who has also worked with Lexus and Motorola.
EE said the Smart Hub Plus runs on a newly built in-house firmware that means the company can provide the hardware with more frequent software updates over time. At launch, the Hub Plus will have network-wide Wi-Fi controls, including parental control options but EE hopes you will be able to eventually direct capacity to specific devices on the network.
Christian Thrane, MD Marketing said the controls will give people’s Wi-Fi network “a front-end”, and that customers will be able to direct appropriate bandwidth to certain devices to ensure proper connectivity.
The store has a full smart home set up
Henry Burrell / Foundry
EE’s announcement comes a day after Vodafone and CK Hutchison, the owner of Three UK, said Vodafone UK and Three UK would merge to create the UK’s largest mobile network, pending regulatory approval.
According to Statista, EE is currently the largest mobile operator in the UK with 28% market share. The merger would combine Vodafone’s 21% and Three’s 12% to form a 32% market leader.
Remaining operator O2 has a 26% share, with the rest shared amongst the country’s mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) whose service piggyback on the main networks.