EE has unveiled a new perk designed to keep new and upgrading customers connected, even when their monthly data allowance has been gobbled up.
Starting tomorrow, new and upgrading customers will be eligible for the company’s new ‘Stay Connected’ policy, which gives users just enough speed to do the essentials: think instant messaging and checking their maps when out and about.
The perk comes off the back of research by the company that indicates instant messaging (38%) and navigation (33%) are the things customers worry about when their data dries up, and EE hopes that this will mean its users won’t feel obliged to track down Wi-Fi hotspots when in need.
Of course, the connectivity you get is nothing like the speed that EE normally offers, and the company says that the Stay Connected download speed is just 0.5Mbps. To put that into context, six years ago the average mobile internet speed in the UK was 20.4Mbps, so EE’s offering will feel painfully slow. But, crucially, painfully slow is undoubtedly better than nothing if you’re lost in the middle of nowhere and really need access to Google Maps in a hurry.
The offering improves if you happen to work for the NHS. EE says that not only will new and upgrading NHS customers get 20% off the cost of their monthly plans, but that Stay Connected will be a bit more generous too, capping at 2Mbps. This speed, EE says, should be enough to add a bit of music and TV streaming to the mix.
In a press release, Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s consumer division noted that this change makes EE “the only major UK network to enable customers to stay connected at no extra cost when their monthly data allowance runs out.”
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The word “major” limits that to EE, O2, Three and Vodafone, of course, and doesn’t include the various MVNOs (mobile virtual network operator) which piggyback off the big four’s network infrastructure with their own PAYG and monthly plans. Notably, Voxi’s big sales pitch is that it offers “endless social media”, where Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook Messenger and Pinterest usage doesn’t eat into the customer’s monthly data allowance.