If you don’t live in one of 11 major UK cities, you won’t be able to benefit from EE’s superfast 4G mobile internet for some time. So why is EE reportedly advertising 4G in areas where it’s not available?
At the moment EE’s 4G service has only landed in 11 cities. They are, in alphabetical order; Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield and Southampton.
As for everyone else, well they’ll have to keep hoping for superfast mobile internet to visit soon. You’d think that EE would stick to advertising 4G in the cities above, right? Well, you may be wrong.
‘Mobile 4GEE is here.’ Or is it?
A Plymouth resident, Jon McKnight, complained to Trading Standards that EE was advertising its 4G service in one of the provider’s local Plymouth stores. The poster (embedded below) claims that you can get the iPhone 5 ‘now on superfast #4GEE’ and that ‘mobile 4GEE is here’.
However, a Plymothian would have to travel 120 miles to start downloading at superfast speeds in the nearest 4G city, Bristol. It could be another year before EE graces Plymouth’s streets with its superfast 4G speeds.
Jon McKnight describes the poster as ‘grossly misleading’, which is difficult to disagree with. And if it isn’t misleading, it’s certainly confusing. We challenged EE on the issue, to which it responded:
‘The wrong poster was put up in one of our Plymouth stores. We have over 700 EE stores across the country and would like to stress this was an isolated error for which we apologise. The poster has since been removed.’
It’s good news that this poster has been taken down. The question is whether similar posters have been put up in other locations where 4G isn’t available. I don’t see a huge problem with EE advertising itself in other cities, but any implication that 4G is available where it isn’t makes me uncomfortable. EE defended itself by saying:
‘We have launched a new brand, across the UK, as well as a new 4G service that will be across 16 cities by Christmas, and will have rolled out to 98% of the population by the end of 2014. For this reason it is important that we raise awareness of the new brand and network, through a national campaign across the UK, even in those areas that do not yet have 4G coverage. However, we won’t be advertising 4G overtly in those stores that are not in 4G covered cities.’
This is where we need to hear from you – have you seen EE advertising 4G near you, even though it isn’t actually available locally? And do you think EE should be allowed to advertise 4G in areas where there isn’t yet any coverage?