Orange, T-Mobile and EE: What happens now?

EE, the new 4G network in the UK, has announced it is launching in the UK coming weeks in four major cities and a further 12 cities before Christmas. In a rather confusing move, the parent company of Orange and T-Mobile, previously called Everything Everywhere, will launch a third brand, EE, as well as renaming itself EE.

Put simply, you'll have the parent company called EE and then three sub-brands called EE, Orange, and T-Mobile. But what does that mean for Orange and T-Mobile customers, and will anything change in the future, or can you continue to live your life without any further interruptions?

Why does my phone now say EE for the network name rather than Orange or T-Mobile?

If you are on Orange or T-Mobile, even though your contract is unaffected, EE will be renaming the network to EE. That means at the top of your phone where it currently says Orange or T-Mobile, this will change from today and over the coming weeks to say EE instead.

Don't panic, it doesn't mean "double EDGE" or anything untowards, it’s the name of the network and even though you are an Orange customer, for example, they want you to know that you are using EE, even though you aren't surfing 4G speeds.

Will my current smartphone be able to enjoy the new 4G speeds?

No. To use 4G you’ll need 4G coverage, a 4G compatible phone, 4G SIM card and 4GEE plan on EE.

Can I get 4G speeds on Orange or T-Mobile?

No. You'll only be able to surf at 4G speeds if you have signed up to the EE brand, got a 4G EE SIM, and a 4G phone. There are a handful of devices at launch including the new Nokia Lumia 920, the Samsung Galaxy S3, and the HTC One XL.

Will I be able to get non-4G devices on the EE network?

No. It is 4G only devices. If you want just 3G, you'll have to go with Orange and T-Mobile. Those brands will still compete to offer the latest smartphones, deals, and benefits to compete with other operators such as O2 and Vodafone.

Will I still have a contract with Orange and T-Mobile?

Yes. There are still three brands, and they are completely separate from each other. All the benefits and tariffs stay the same. It's very much business as usual for Orange and T-Mobile customers who don't want to be fussed with 4G connectivity.

Can I transfer to the EE brand at any time or do I have to wait for my current contract to end?

EE hasn't officially announced anything yet. However, talking to EE representatives at the launch event in the UK, it is clear the operator plans to make it really easy to get 4G.

"When EE launches, we'll make it easy and straightforward for eligible Orange and T-Mobile customers to move to EE," says the company on its website.

It recommends going to ee.co.uk for more info on how you can get it and signing up to its alerts so you are one of the first to know when it does have something official to say.

Can I go Pay As You Go on the EE?

There won’t be any pay as you go plans available on EE at launch, says the company, but it has confirmed there will be a PAYG offering in the future.

If I do switch, is it going to be expensive?

EE hasn't announced any official pricing for the new EE 4G service, but the three brands are sharing the same network so we expect the service to have similar pricing and deals.

Will Orange and T-Mobile minutes and data work in the same way on the EE network?

Yes, is the short answer. Just because you are seeing EE instead of Orange or T-Mobile doesn't mean you are roaming or using up some form of minutes you weren't aware of. If you are on Orange, you aren't charged extra for using the EE network. No matter whether your contract is with Orange, T-Mobile, or EE you will use the EE network. 

If I have a problem with Orange or T-Mobile can I still get it sorted in one of their stores?

Yes, but they won't be called Orange or T-Mobile stores. EE has told Pocket-lint that all 720 Orange, T-Mobile, and Everything Everywhere stores in the UK will become EE stores in the future. Customers will be able to go into the stores, experience different areas like Apple, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry, and then chose the right package for them from the three different on EE, Orange, and T-Mobile networks.

Will consumers still be able to get Orange contracts?

Yes, although the brand on the high-street is disappearing, EE, has said that there is no plans to phases out either Orange or T-Mobile contracts. Confusing huh?

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