EE may have made a mistake by charging too much for its 4G mobile services, a leading technology commentator has claimed.
Emeka Obiodu, Principal Telco Strategy Analyst at Ovum, believes the early launch of 4G broadband in the 1,800MHz spectrum represents an opportunity missed for the service provider.
He said that with rival broadband providers gearing up to launch their own long-term evolution (LTE) services, EE should have made more headway in terms of attracting customers.
Mr Obiodu said it is "encouraging" that EE signed up 318,000 LTE subscribers in the first five months of service, and is on course to achieve one million by the end of 2013.
But he claimed the firm would have done even better if it had taken "a more aggressive approach towards wooing customers".
"EE effectively has a monopoly on LTE in the UK and has achieved a commendable LTE network coverage," Mr Obiodu stated.
"It also has a good LTE device portfolio. Accordingly, EE had all the ingredients it needs to sew up the market before its rivals move in with their own LTE offerings."
However, he said that by demanding a price premium, EE may have dissuaded many consumers and businesses from becoming early adopters.
Mr Obiodu noted that EE has assumed people will "pay extra for the privilege of using LTE", but he said this misses the point.
"LTE is an evolutionary technology, and is absolutely necessary for every mobile telco who wants to remain in business for the long term," he claimed. "But crucially, as every other telco is going to get it, having an LTE network will ultimately not be a differentiator."
That is why, in order for super-fast mobile broadband to be a mass market proposition, broadband providers need to focus on the cost efficiencies it brings rather than the potential revenue uplift, Mr Obiodu stated.
"Given that EE rolled out the network quickly and, importantly, said LTE was a ‘mass market proposition’ at the outset, we believe the premium contradicts the rest of the strategic elements," he added.