Orange and T-Mobile shops assimilated: EE stores open 30 October
EE has thrown open the doors to its flagship retail store on Oxford Street early for us to have a sneak peek before official opening on 30 October.
EE, the UK's first 4G network, emerged from the ongoing fusion of Orange and T-Mobile. The latest step before the new network publicly launches tomorrow is to get the stores refitted.
It's quite the transformation too, as EE has taken over stores previously run by the individual networks. As such, EE told us it has more than 700 stores in the UK. This flagship store, on London's Oxford Street, was previously an Orange shop and there's another, smaller store only 100m further down the road.
The important point, something you'll notice if you look at the storefront above, is that this isn't just for 4G customers. The entire Orange and T-Mobile shopping experience on the high street has been transformed into this single point of retail.
The orange and pink colours have been swept away in favour of the new EE livery. That's turquoise, yellow and grey. It's contemporary, bright and cheery when you step through the door.
That colour scheme runs throughout the store, but you'll find Orange and T-Mobile represented on labels, along with EE on the relevant 4G devices. When you spy a device you like the look of, you'll see logos for all the relevant networks you can get it on.
The important point is that the EE store not only gives you access to those 4G devices, but also everything that Orange and T-Mobile were previously selling in their own stores. This means you have everything from fibre broadband, to 4G dongles, to £8.99 pay-as-you-go phones. You'll also find the likes of the Orange San Diego here and, in the future, the iPad mini.
Not only can you get your hands on live devices in the play area - so you can test out 4G speeds for yourself - but there is a also small sit-down area upstairs to enable EE customers to steal a little network connection, as if they were hot-desking.
EE has promised a superior level of customer service in its new stores and, to help break the ice, the company is introducing profiles for its staff.
This will let glance at the big display, see who's working in the store, and decide which person has the best skills for you. Asking about the iPhone 5? Ask someone who owns one.
It's quite a change to the high street, brushing away those orange and pink hues and bringing a clean and modern facelift to go with the launch of the new 4G network.
The EE stores open for real on 30 October, as the network goes live.