EE chief encouraged Apple to change iPhone 5 for 4G

OLAF Swantee, the chief executive of Orange and T-Mobile owner EE, personally intervened to convince Apple and other smartphone manufacturers to make their devices run on EE’s new high speed “4G” network, Swantee claimed yesterday.

The new EE service, the details of which were announced today, will be the first 4G network in the UK, and the only one to work with the iPhone 5.

Speaking to City A.M. ahead of the announcement, Swantee said he had spent months convincing manufacturers to design phones that would be compatible with EE’s special 1800 MHz frequency.

Swantee said: “We started talking to Samsung, Apple [and others] over a year ago. We showed them this. We said: ‘Are you going to be supportive and if not, we’ll use someone else.’

“There were no plans for any of them to bring an 1800 MHz device to the UK.”

O2 and Vodafone will not be able to launch 4G until next June after Ofcom auctions off bands of pre-approved 800 MHz spectrum, and that particular frequency will not work with the in-demand iPhone 5.

EE’s self-branded 4G network – which will run alongside the Orange and T-Mobile brands – launches next Tuesday. 4G tariffs will start at £36 a month for unlimited texts and calls, rising up to £56 for higher mobile data allowances. The price point is on average £5 a month higher than similar allowances on slower 3G networks. EE is also selling superfast home broadband for the first time.