|Founded||1 April 2010|
|Headquarters||Hatfield, United Kingdom|
|Olaf Swantee (CEO)|
|Services||Fixed line and mobile telephony, broadband|
|Revenue||£ 6.482 billion (2013)|
|Owner||Deutsche Telekom (50%), Orange (50%)|
Number of employees
EE, formerly Everything Everywhere, is a British mobile network operator and internet service provider. The company was formed in 2010 as a 50:50 joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and Orange S.A. (formerly France Télécom) through the merger of their respective T-Mobile and Orange businesses in the UK. It is the largest mobile network operator in the UK, with around 28 million customers.
EE is headquartered in Hatfield, United Kingdom, and also has main offices in Bristol, Darlington, North Tyneside and London. In addition to mobile telephone services, EE also provide an IPTV service through their EE TV Box.
- 1 History
- 2 Operations
- 3 Marketing
- 4 Controversies
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Deutsche Telekom and France Télécom (now Orange S.A.) announced plans to merge their respective UK ventures on 8 September 2009. The initial planning suggested a joint revenue of around £7.7 billion for 2008 with savings via synergies expected to total around "over £445 million annually from 2014 onwards". The two companies also announced an expected investment of "£600 to £800 million in integration costs". The initial press release outlined a primarily clear vision for the two brands citing that "the T-Mobile UK and Orange UK brands will be maintained separately for 18 months". The merger was cleared by the European Commission on 1 March 2010.
The joint venture was announced as completed on 1 April 2010, and the name Everything Everywhere was announced on 11 May 2010. On the same day the company confirmed that "roaming across both networks [would be] due later in that year, at no additional cost to the customer" and further emphasised the separation of the brands at that present moment in time, saying that each brand would maintain "its own shops, marketing campaigns, propositions and service centres".
The companies' network sharing plans (allowing Orange customers to utilise T-Mobile's 2G signal and vice versa) were released to customers on 11 October 2010. The "switch-on" was rolled out utilising an opt-in page on each brand's website. However, the rollout did not initially include automatic network roaming mid-call or the two brands' 3G services.
On 18 July 2011, Tom Alexander announced unexpectedly that he would step down as CEO. Alexander had joined Orange in 2008 and had led the company since its formation on 1 July 2010. It was announced that he would step down from his post on 31 August 2011 and thereforears from 1 September 2011, he would be replaced by Olaf Swantee, who had held the position of Executive VP of European Activities and Sourcing for France Télécom in addition to being a member of EE's board. Alexander said that he would remain with the company throughout the remainder of 2011 and continue to advise Swantee in his new role.
In April 2012, the T-Mobile network in Northern Ireland was switched off, meaning that all customers there roam onto Orange. However later most T-Mobile sites were turned back on as EE has a mast sharing agreement with 3 (MBNL).
In Great Britain, Orange sites were removed where the more advanced MBNL (T-Mobile / 3 shared sites) were deemed to provide a similar coverage footprint. Sites where Orange provided coverage, but not MBNL, are being upgraded (ready for 4G) and brought into the mast sharing agreement. This process has had negative consequences for consumers in some areas where the T Mobile signal was not as strong as the Orange signal, despite the masts being in similar locations.
Everything Everywhere announced on 22 August 2012 that it would introduce a third brand as part of a future 4G launch to sit alongside Orange and T-Mobile, and that Everything Everywhere would continue as the company's legal name. Further speculation commenced on 7 September 2012 when the company announced details of a press conference on the morning of 11 September 2012, the earliest date set by Ofcom to launch 4G services. It was also noted that this date was only 24 hours earlier than the expected launch of the latest generation of iPhone (the iPhone 5), thereby arousing suspicion that the new iPhone would support 4G and that Everything Everywhere would launch its service on this widely anticipated handset. Other commentators suggested that the HTC One XL would be the first handset to launch utilising Everything Everywhere's 4G network. The handsets that the company initially launched on EE are the iPhone 5 (iOS), HTC One XL (Android), Samsung Galaxy S III (Android), Samsung Galaxy Note II (Android), Huawei Ascend P1 (Android), Nokia Lumia 920 (Windows Phone), Nokia Lumia 820 (Windows Phone). The company also announced that they would be using two 4G mobile broadband devices manufactured by Huawei - the E589 Mobile Wi-Fi device and E392 mobile broadband dongle.
The company announced on 11 September 2012 that the EE brand would be used to identify its network on all of the company's devices (EE, Orange and T-Mobile), alongside its 4G service and the company's fibre optic broadband roll-out. The brand was described by EE as The Super Fast Brand. It was also confirmed that all ex-Orange and ex-T-Mobile shops would be re-branded EE overnight, but that mobile products would continue to be sold under those brands inside the stores. The company's legal name changed to EE Limited on 2 September 2013.
EE announced on 30 October 2012 that its Orange broadband service would be rebranded as EE, and the company would be launching a new fibre-optic broadband service, using a Bright Box router and Openreach GEA. The change took effect on 5 November 2012 through a firmware upgrade that replaced the Orange branding with EE on customers' router web interface.
In March 2014, EE began to phase out the Orange and T-Mobile brands in the UK, removing these products from their website and retail stores. However, Orange/T-Mobile plans were still available via telesales and through third-party retail channels. The phase out was completed in March 2015, with new connections and upgrades only available on EE branded services. Existing customers will remain on their Orange or T-Mobile contracts until they upgrade.
Recent years and acquisition by BT
On 5 November 2013, EE began testing LTE Advanced (LTE-A) in East London Tech City. The LTE-A network will offer speeds up to 300 Mbit/s when rolled out to the public in 2014. EE's LTE-Advanced was launched at the end of October 2014.
During 2014, Orange and Deutsche Telekom were reported to be considering options to sell EE or divest it through an initial public offering. On 15 December 2014, BT Group confirmed that it had entered into exclusive talks to buy EE for £12.5 billion. On 5 February 2015, BT confirmed it would be acquiring EE for £12.5 billion, subject to regulatory approval expected by March 2016. Deutsche Telekom will own 12% of BT, while Orange will own 4%.
EE has main offices in Bristol, Hatfield, Darlington, and London and has around 15,000 staff. EE owns and operates national 2G, 3G and 4G mobile phone networks in the United Kingdom. It also has around 700 retail outlets across the country. It offers its services under the T-Mobile, Orange and EE brands.
Everything Everywhere's request to use its surplus capacity to launch 4G services in the UK was approved by Ofcom on 21 August 2012. As part of Ofcom's approval of the company's roll-out of 4G it was announced on 22 August 2012 that Hutchison 3G had acquired part of Everything Everywhere's 1800 MHz spectrum.
EE's 4G network along with its nationwide marketing campaign and store re-branding was officially launched on 30 October 2012. 4G coverage was initially "switched on" in 11 UK cities; London, Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, and Southampton. During the latter part of 2012 and 2013, the company added more cities and towns., and planned to boost speeds in some existing locations by Summer 2013. EE claims 2,000 square miles of 4G network would be added every month from launch and the goal is to cover 70 per cent of the population by the end of 2013, and 90 per cent by the end of 2014.
EE had early problems and issues of no signal across both its 3G and 4G networks with senior EE staff conceding they were facing 'teething problems'.
On 20 February 2013, Ofcom announced that EE had been awarded more 4G spectrum in the 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands, bidding around £588 million for the spectrum.
On 27 January 2011, Everything Everywhere and Barclaycard announced that they would be jointly introducing the UK's first contactless mobile payments system for consumers by early summer 2011. Everything Everywhere expanded its contactless mobile payments arm by announcing a deal with Mastercard on 28 August 2012 that would see the two companies work together on introducing Near field communication (NFC) technology and other mobile payment technologies into the UK. Everything Everywhere sustained their involvement in the future of NFC technology in the UK by announcing a joint venture between themselves, Vodafone and O2. The joint venture was designed to be a "single point of contact" for all those involved in increasing the adoption of using NFC for mobile payments in the UK.
On 6 November 2012 it was announced that EE had exclusively partnered with mobile payments company iZettle. The agreement allowed EE to sell the companies mini debit/credit card readers which allow small business customers to take payments using their mobile phones. The devices initially went on sale in 297 EE stores and via EE’s telesales channel.
HD voice calling
On 22 June 2010, Everything Everywhere announced plans to roll out HD voice calling throughout its network by the end of summer. The technology was initially trialled on Orange's network in Bristol, Reading and Southampton, before it was expanded to the rest of the UK by the end of summer.
On 25 November 2010, Everything Everywhere announced further connections between the two brands by announcing the opening of six "dual-branded stores" in Tooting, Palmers Green, Hertford, Bridgend, Weston-super-Mare, and Dorchester. The six new stores were described as "concession-within-stores". This meant that a selection of Orange propositions would be sold and promoted in the three T-Mobile stores being opened and that a range of T-Mobile propositions would be merchandised in the three Orange stores. They were described as concessions as the host brand would take the overall lead.
The company further expanded in retail over the following months by announcing five "new trial stores". These stores sell both brands' products, services and accessories; they were also designed to a give an "inspire, excite and educate" experience. Each store has an externally Everything Everywhere–branded fascia, however it also maintains a continued emphasis that the stores represent and sell both Orange and T-Mobile. The first store launch was in Altrincham on 18 February 2010, a little over a week after the initial announcement on 10 February 2010. The other stores were launched in Bishop's Stortford, Eltham, Lowestoft and Evesham within four weeks of the Altrincham shop launch. Everything Everywhere made a concerted effort to launch stores in "white-spot areas", or stores where they had little or no existing footprint from Orange or T-Mobile. During the same quarter, the company also launched a number of Orange concessions in selected HMV stores. These were designed to operate as normal Orange retail stores, however with an expected lower footfall and designed to cater for HMV's younger consumers. The company removed all of these concessions from HMV shortly before the re-brand with the approximately 100 staff employed within them transferred to local stores.
EE now operates over 590 EE retail stores in the UK after the re-branding of existing Orange, T-Mobile, and Everything Everywhere stores in October 2012. EE announced that in February 2013 it would close 78 stores with no job losses because in several locations EE then had two stores on the same street, often close together.
Virtual network agreements
Virgin Mobile UK along with ASDA Mobile operates on the EE network under a MVNO agreement, which was most recently renegotiated in December 2010 for Virgin, and November 2013 for Asda (which had previously operated on the Vodafone network).
Joint venture with Hutchison 3G UK
On 3 September 2010, Everything Everywhere announced that Orange would join Mobile Broadband Network Limited (MBNL), the 3G network sharing joint venture formed in December 2007 between T-Mobile UK and Hutchison 3G UK (H3G UK). MBNL will become a 50/50 joint venture between Three UK and Everything Everywhere, with Orange contributing several thousand of its base stations for network sharing purposes. MBNL was created after T-Mobile and Three UK agreed to pool their respective 3G infrastructures in a 50/50 joint venture. By September 2010 MBNL’s HSPA-based infrastructure covered more than 90% of the British population, and was expected to rise to more than 98% by the end of 2010.
Radio frequency summary
|800 MHz||LTE (planned)||4G|
|2,600 MHz||LTE Advanced||4G|
EE launched its first TV advertisement on 3 November 2012, four days after the company launched its 4G services and new brand. The advertisements featured Kevin Bacon and his related Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon concept. The advert initially aired on ITV during The X Factor, a prime-time slot on UK television. The adverts were filmed over two days during August 2012 in Lewes. the adverts made by Colebox Design.
As of June 2014, EE and its subsidiaries had been the most complained-about telecommunications company in the United Kingdom for each of the previous seven quarters, according to the regulator Ofcom.
In April 2013, T-Mobile UK were also embroiled in a mid contract increase controversy when they applied an above RPI increase to many Contract customers but refused to allow termination as allowed by the terms of the contract. A number of their customers complained to CISAS about the conduct of T-Mobile UK, and their handling of the matter.
In early 2013 Ipsos MORI signed an agreement with EE, wherein Ipsos MORI would commercialise the data on the company's 23 million subscribers, for example "how many of the phone users checked their Facebook accounts, or the website of their favourite shop". Later that year, The Sunday Times revealed that Ipsos MORI had negotiated an agreement to sell this data to the Police and other parties. The data included "gender, age, postcode, websites visited, time of day text is sent [and] location of customer when call is made". When confronted by the paper, the Police indicated that they would no longer go ahead with the deal. Ipsos MORI defended their actions, while EE refused to comment.
In August 2014 EE started a new service where customers 'queue jump' when calling Customer Service for a one off cost of 50 pence to be fast tracked to an available agent, sparking outrage among consumers who view the service as a money making service.
Later that month, EE was accused of trying to silence complaining customers on social media networks, such as Twitter and Facebook. Customers claimed that the company deleted their complaints on the company Facebook page. The company does discourage customers from posting their grievances in public, preferring private messages.
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The company also renegotiated its contract with Virgin Media Inc. to run the network for Virgin’s mobile-phone operations, Moat said. The deal was signed at the end of December, Moat said, adding that the contract has “shaped and evolved” over time. Virgin Media has more than 3 million mobile-phone subscribers.
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- Switch on and you become a goldmine | The Sunday Times
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