UK network EE has long been criticized for its over-priced 4G LTE tariffs. It has responded to this by launching not only a new cut-price plan, but also a budget 4G phone to go along with it. EE says the new deal is the cheapest way to get a 4G plan and phone together in the country. According to reports, the EE-branded phone is also the first in a new range of hardware wearing the network’s name too.
How cheap is cheap? It’s £14 ($23) per month for two-years, and this gives you 500 minutes of talktime, as many SMS as you can send, and 500MB of 4G speed data. If 1GB of data is more inline with your needs, then the monthly charge increases to £19 ($31).
Sign up to any of these tariffs, and you get the new phone, called the Kestrel, for free. It’s a rebranded Huawei device, and 4G LTE connectivity is about all that makes it stand out. The screen measures 4.5-inches and has a 960 x 540 pixel resolution, and a 1.2GHz quad-core processor with 1GB of RAM provides the power.
Android 4.3 Jelly Bean is the aging OS, to which Huawei and EE have added a simplified user interface, along with a selection of pre-installed apps. There’s a 5-megapixel camera on the rear, a 1-megapixel video call lens over the screen, 8GB of internal memory with a MicroSD card slot, and HD Voice support. If you’d prefer to buy the Kestrel on Pay As You Go, it’s yours for £100 ($165).
It’s hard to argue with EE’s budget option. Head over to Vodafone, select the similarly specced Samsung Galaxy Express 2, and the cheapest 4G tariff option has 3GB of data each month for £34 ($56). That’s a lot more data. but it’s a lot to pay for a relatively basic phone. It’s the same story at O2, where the Sony Xperia SP comes with 1GB of data for £28 ($46) per month over two years. If you can live with 500MB of data, and a basic phone, EE’s Kestrel will end up costing £336 ($555) when your contract ends.
The Kestrel isn’t available on EE’s website at the time of writing, but we’ll update when it appears.