Broadband News

EE launches 4GEE Home Antenna as potential USO solution

People rolling out their own 4G router combined with an antenna mounted on the outside of the property is not new, but by launching a professional install option at £100 EE with its 4GEE Home service has made it a lot easier for people since no need to find the right antenna or attach it to a wall while also up a ladder.

The data allowances on the 4GEE service are more generous than you get on your mobile phone, a basic 10GB monthly allowance is £25/m higher allowances are 50GB £35/m, 100GB £45/m and 200GB £60/m. Existing EE customers on a pay monthly plan can get an extra 5GB added for free. If you commit to an 18 month contract the 4G router is free, but a 30 day plan is available when you pay £99.99 for the router. The router is the same as that used in the antenna trial and thus includes a SMA connector which an EE installer would use connect the external antenna too.

The data allowances and pricing mean the service will not compete for price with fixed line broadband solutions, but if struggling with no broadband or speeds so slow that cannot enjoy any video streaming the extra cost may prove worthwhile. 200GB spread between a household with a couple of teenagers might not last long, if everyone embraces online video, but 200GB is enough for 30 5GB films over the course of a month and leaving 50GB of allowance for all your other activities such as software updates, web browsing, banking etc.

The service is described as offering up to 100 Mbps, which is entirely possible over 4G and generally people using 4G routers find so long as they can get some 4G signal in downstairs indoors that with an external antenna mounted high up on a property facing the mast superfast type speeds are possible. If you can only only get a 4G signal when upstairs then speeds with the antenna may be less exciting but a good chance they'll exceed 10 Mbps.

The service is being promoted as part of the solution to the broadband issue and EE estimate that some 580,000 households that fall into the USO zones could benefit from the service, which is roughly half the premises within the USO footprint. Of course we have a map of the postcodes where fixed line speeds are expected to be under 10 Mbps which is showing around 206,000 postcodes spread across the UK.

There has been a trial of course in the Northern Fells area of Cumbria and we may have seen someone using the service, showing a 29 Mbps download and 14 Mbps upload speed which while a long way shy of the 100 Mbps of the press release is likely to be influenced by the Wi-Fi service the 4GEE Home router provides. Our recommendation for anyone using the 4GEE Home router is to if at all possible run an Ethernet cable from the router to your main devices, e.g. smart TV, desktop PC, games console.

To make it easier to find out which is the best service the EE broadband checker is now a combined broadband and mobile coverage checker, but at the time of writing this article the EE shop does not appear to mention the external antenna option.

 

Comments

The pricing for the larger data amounts + aerial seems reasonable - I know Three is cheaper but it doesn’t have the coverage or speed the EE network offers. That is my experience anyway.

  • New_Londoner
  • 11 days ago

My experience and most I know of is that mobile coverage is very patchy when it comes to area covered as opposed to population covered. I believe the government have already commented on this. That's not to say some will benefit from this service, but I think it won't have a great effect on figures for those who can't get a decent broadband service.

  • burble
  • 11 days ago

Yep just double checked the EE coverage map for my house (I've done this before) it's as big a joke as the BT checker which tells me I can get above USO.
For reference, the EE map shows I can get 3g and 4g indoors and out, in reality to get any signal at all I have to stand the phone in my kitchen window, even then it's not guaranteed depending on conditions, even outside you cannot be sure on getting a signal, the last OR engineer I had visit had to drive down the road to get any signal on his mobile.

  • burble
  • 11 days ago

@Burble
Your handset, contract and operator choices can impact on your signal quality. No all handsets can receive all frequencies, not all contracts support them (eg PAYG) and not all operators can access them (eg MVNOs).

It’s worth checking with your provider.

  • New_Londoner
  • 11 days ago

The 4g checker does seem rather optimistic, says outdoor coverage, which is only available a few hundred yards away above the house. But when you do get coverage, the pricing although expensive compared with fixed line, is much cheaper than satellite.

  • brianhe
  • 11 days ago

@New_Londoner
Been there, done that, got the Tee shirt.
I now have a phone which covers all the frequencies used by all the networks, might have well saved my money and kept my old 1520. I've now changed networks and have gone from no signal or on a good day G or E to getting H with TalkTalk on the Vodaphone network but the signal strength means I get far from the max speeds.

  • burble
  • 11 days ago

Being still stuck on 4Mb ADSL in 2018, im currently using a Three data sim 40GB @ £24 a month (1 month rolling contract). Using a dual WAN setup on my router, I use a policy route to feed all traffic for my Nvidea Shield & my LG TV to be over the Three WAN which also comes with their "Go Binge" for free Netflix traffic (doesnt come out of the 40Gb allowance), this gets me 4K Netflix streaming. The rest of the 40GB allowance adds some load balancing/failover. I quite often use about 70-80GB over the allowance just on Netflix traffic and Im not really a huge Netflix user.

  • rolandrat
  • 11 days ago

I should also point out we had an external aerial at workshop to plug in a s2 or s3, at the time (about 5 years back) this turned an erratic signal into one suitable for calls and texts but still slow for internet.

  • burble
  • 11 days ago

EE's coverage claims do seem to count "variable and weak indoor coverage". In both my current and previous houses, 15 miles apart, the Openreach engineer has had to use my mobile phone has the EE network they are forced to use was inadequate.

  • gerarda
  • 11 days ago

External antennas can make the difference between no 4G signal and 3/4 bars, don't rule it out!

  • DrMikeHuntHurtz
  • 11 days ago

I have this same setup but in a different guise :-) I have two EE SIM cards and a RUT950 router, feeding into my LAN. The omnidrectional antenna is on the TV aerial mast. I get a reliable 70Mb down and 60Mb up - mind you, where I live I reckon I have the local EE mast to myself.

Shame this package seems to be capped at 10Mb upspeed, and I bet there's still no static IP address option, just CGNAT cr*p. I pay £60 for 100GB, so it's not a cheap option - this shoebox will give 2x that allowance.

  • jimwillsher
  • 10 days ago

I wonder if Ofcom will now consider access to 4G like this to be considered good enough for the USO?

  • ian72
  • 8 days ago

I'm using this sort of solution having received the Government grant available for households with broadband speeds less than 2megs. A loft aerial and TP link router with an EE sim works well for me (far better than the landline ADSL) though obviously I have to watch the monthly usage figures!

  • ianswithinbank
  • 8 days ago

@ian72
I think 4G solutions like this should be part of the USO, in principle.

Whether these particular EE packages are good enough is another question. There are obviously some criteria that Ofcom need to figure out beyond the down & up speeds.

  • WWWombat
  • 7 days ago

The thing with 4g or satellite is the higher data costs. The USO needs to address the higher monthly costs and data limits of these services. The 4g signal here appears patchy, but have a reasonable 3g, which would still be faster than the ADSLmax connection, but find it very hard to justify the large increase in cost.

  • brianhe
  • 5 days ago

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