Movie streaming comes as part of UK’s pricey first 4G network

The UK’s first 4G mobile phone network will bundle movie downloads and streaming when it goes live next Tuesday, October 30.

Announcing pricing and other details today, EE said the 4G access will include “EE Film”, a movie strand powered by FilmFlex, the white label digital film vendor co-owned by Sony and Disney.

4G network subscribers will get one free movie to download or stream each week, zero-rated from data usage, while additional titles from the library of over 700 start at £0.79 ($1.26) each.

The launch repeats a common strategy of telcos bundling content with their network access. But 4g may herald a step change in the strategy since the faster network speeds can serve more bandwidth-intensive content.

EE says EE Film movie playback can switch from viewers’ mobile to PC. But notably absent from its announcement are other content services like music, news or ebooks.

EE’s 4G debut pricing is interpreted as on the high side. A price premium of 10 to 20 percent over 3G equivalents Starts at £36 ($57.60)  per month for only 500Mb allowance, reaching £56 ($89.60) per month for 8Gb.

Plans include complementary free access to BT WiFi hotspots in locations like cafes —  somewhat defeating the purpose of superfast cellular 4G.