IF YOU'VE GOT A TON, get a dog and bone. That was the message from mobile operator EE as it announced the EE Kestrel on Wednesday, its first own-branded handset priced at £99 on pay as you go.
The Kestrel is an entry-level 4G Android smartphone running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean. It has a quad-core 1.2Ghz processor with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD card. It boasts a 5MP rear-facing camera with another 1MP camera at the front.
The more keen-eyed will notice that this sounds a lot like the Huawei Ascend G6 that we saw at Mobile World Congress, and in many respects it is, albeit with slightly lower specifications.
Along with the low-priced phone comes a range of price plans that are also easy on the pocket, starting at £13.99 a month, including a free Kestrel handset, 500 minutes of talk time and a 500MB data allowance.
Tariffs range up to £74.99 for EE's 4GEE Plus service, capable of speeds up to 300Mbps, with 50GB of data and unlimited talk time. All plans come with unlimited text messaging.
The addition of unlimited text messaging is a reflection of recent findings that users are abandoning SMS in favour of online messaging apps such as Whatsapp and BBM, meaning EE can afford to be generous.
EE also announced business plans on Wednesday starting at £17 per month and sharing plans starting at £5 per month for a SIM-only contract.
The reductions might herald the start of a price war in the 4G market as networks fight for leverage to earn returns on the billions invested in next-generation LTE infrastructure. µ