EE has reported its best quarter yet for new 4G customers yet – fresh on the heels of a series of price cuts.
EE now has 2.9 million 4G customers according to its latest set of financial results – up 889,000 from the last quarter of 2013. The mobile operator claimed this was its best 4G take up in a single quarter, and that it’s now on target to exceed six million 4G customers by the end of 2014.
EE pinned the growth in 4G customers on “growing appetite for superfast mobile internet”, but the 30% increase in 4G uptake follows a series of significant price cuts during the last quarter of 2013 and first quarter of 2014.
At launch, the company was charging almost £56 per month for its “premium” 4G tariff, when it launched in 2012 as the only 4G operator in Britain.
The company said it would be “vindicated” in its pricing policy, claiming O2 and Vodafone would have similar pricing strategies when they rolled out their 4G networks, but cheaper tariffs from these competitors helped force EE’s prices down, according to analysts.
Indeed, EE’s new entry level tariff of £14/month, announced last month, is less than half its original price.
EE said the rate of migration of existing customers from Orange and T-Mobile to 4G is accelerating, and that one in four new customers is opting for its new double speed 4G Extra plans.
Despite the reduction in pricing, the company reports its data and messaging revenues have increased, thanks to growth in its customer base during the past three months.
Data and texting made up 58% of average revenue per user (ARPU) in Q1 2014, compared to 51% in Q1 2013. Non-text revenue now makes up 47% of ARPU compared to 36% at the same time last year.
The company, which was the first to offer 4G in the UK, has been rolling out the service to an increasing number of cities. Currently 200 locations are covered, although some of that coverage is patchy – something the organisation says it’s working on improving.