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Unlimited data plans 'unnecessary' on 4G, EE CEO says

Olaf Swantee claims the average 4G punter chomps through just 1.4GB of data a month, rendering unlimited offerings pointless.

You don't need unlimited data on 4G, according to the head of the UK's only 4G network, the Metro reports. The average customer only uses 1.4GB of data per month over 4G, rendering unlimited data plans "unnecessary", EE's CEO Olaf Swantee said in a speech at Mobile World Congress.

EE has been criticised for its high prices and low data packages. Its cheapest SIM-only 4G package costs £21 per month, and that only gets you a paltry 500MB of data -- hardly even a bus journey's worth of cat videos. The 'average' user would have to pay £31 per month for 3GB of data to avoid extra charges.

What are EE's 4G customers using their data for? 25 per cent of all 4G traffic is for video, with 11 per cent for YouTube alone, Swantee said.

Swantee claimed EE's 4G network is averaging speeds of 16Mbps, peaking at 50Mbps, which is equal to many home broadband packages. He said 4G sales had increased by 10 per cent every week since it launched in October, after being formed from the merger of T-Mobile and Orange.

That may be the case, but it hasn't stopped the network closing 78 UK shops, mainly due to duplication on high streets with both a former T-Mobile and Orange shop.

EE also announced its financial results just a few days ago, and was suspiciously quiet about exactly how many of us Brits have taken the plunge for 4G. Having taken some flak for its high prices and limited data options, it has lowered the cost and beefed up its packages.

Soon EE will no longer be the only 4G game in town. O2, Vodafone and Three have all won the right to launch their own 4G networks, following Ofcom's spectrum auction. Hopefully this will see prices come down, as every network vies for your hard-earned. There's nothing like competition to make prices tumble, after all. And Three has already said it won't charge extra for 4G.

We're expecting the other networks to launch 4G in the spring, so it shouldn't be long until those wanting a speed bump have more options.

Have you opted for 4G? Is Swantee right about unlimited data packages? And who will be your network of choice if you do hop aboard the 4G express? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook.