EE, the only large-scale 4G LTE provider in the UK, has begun offering SIM-only deals, allowing people with a compatible 4G-capable handset to start using the service for a lower cost.
On Tuesday, EE confirmed it is now ready to start selling contracts - though people won't be able to walk into a high street outlet and sign up.
"We're really pleased to announce our super-fast 4GEE SIM-only plans have launched today for customers. They are available initially to buy online or over the phone through our customer services team," an EE spokeswoman said. "They will also soon be available in store, and we'll confirm a start date very shortly."
The SIM-only tariffs, available for 12-month durations only, are around £15 cheaper than equivalent two-year deals that include a handset. For example, the entry-level 500MB contract costs £21 per month, compared with £36 per month. Two years of SIM-only plans would add up to £504, while a phone-bundle subscription would cost £864, not including the upfront cost of the handset.
Unlike phone-bundle deals, which come with up to 8GB of data use per month, the SIM-only plans max out at 5GB at a cost of £36. Those with handset contracts pay £51 per month for 5GB of inclusive data.
Ever since EE launched its 4G network at the end of October, some customers have been reporting problems getting their SIM cards activated, resulting in loss of some services for extended periods of time.