EE refuses to talk unlimited data as it doubles 4G speeds

EE has announced it's doubling 4G speeds in ten UK cities, but still isn't willing to discuss unlimited data plans.

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Andrew Lanxon headshot
Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
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Andrew Lanxon
2 min read

EE will be doubling the speed of its 4G offering in ten UK cities, taking its data speeds over a claimed 80Mbps. Exciting stuff, but those speeds mean you'll chew through the megabytes in no time at all. Annoyingly then, EE still isn't willing to discuss unlimited data plans.

I caught up with an EE spokesman -- who declined to be named -- at the announcement of its increased speeds. He wouldn't elaborate on the company's plans for heftier data packages, only indicating that it's not something we should expect imminently.

"We are always evolving our prices," he explained. "We will continue to watch the [mobile network] market and develop plans around our customers' needs. We're not talking about our price plans today, though."

We worked out that if you snag the upcoming Galaxy S4 on their 'best value' £41 per month tariff, at 20Mbps (the average speed you're likely to achieve) you'll eat 1GB of data in less than 7 minutes. An unlimited plan then seems like an essential offering so it's rather annoying that EE isn't yet coming up with the goods.

EE's CEO, Olaf Swantee (pictured above) explained that its customers are generally staying "within their data caps". For those who do go over, you'll have your data cut off to avoid unexpected bills. You can then pay a princely sum of £15 for a data add-on. Of course, as a business, EE naturally wants you to spend more money buying expensive bundles, rather than offer cheap and cheerful unlimited plans.

Previously, EE has deemed unlimited data plans "unnecessary." However, plenty of people -- myself included -- would disagree. Streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer chew up quite a large amount of data. EE's current highest data offering is 20GB per month, which will set you back £76 per month.

The Three network will be launching its own 4G service probably sometime toward the end of the year but has already announced that it won't charge extra for the speed -- all existing customers will benefit. O2 and Vodafone will be launching their services too, so it's possible that a 4G pricing war will see fast, unlimited data bundles become a realistic possibility for those of us who haven't struck oil recently.

What do you think of EE's prices? Is it way too high, or a fair amount for fast speeds? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or over on our Facebook page.