EE Rook is the cheapest 4G smartphone in the UK market

Low-budget 4G smartphone unveiled by EE

Mobile network operator EE has launched the cheapest 4G smartphone in the UK market, selling for £50 to pay-as-you-go customers.

The Rook smartphone, as EE has dubbed the device, will be running the latest version of Google’s Android software, 5.1 aka Lollipop, and comes with a four-inch touchscreen and a five-megapixel camera.

Existing EE customers will be able to purchase the device for £39, while new customers pay £49. EE said it hopes the Rook will make fast 4G mobile data available to a wider range of customers.

"The new Rook from EE provides a great 4G smartphone at a compelling price, allowing even more people to enjoy the benefits of our superfast mobile network, from high-speed web browsing and downloads to gaming and streaming," said Sharon Meadows, EE’s director of devices.

EE said the Rook is the only device in its price category offering 4G connectivity. The low price tag, the firm believes, will enable a further 2.5 million smartphone users in the UK to switch to 4G, the fastest data network currently available.

The firm is targeting pay-as-you-go customers who don’t have access to subsidised gadgets.

"We believe everyone should have access to 4G and the experiences it offers on the go,” Meadows commented.

The Rook is the newest addition to EE’s series of own-brand products following the introduction of the Harrier range (which includes a smartphone and a tablet) earlier this year, designed as an alternative to the high-end devices on the market from companies such as Apple and Samsung.

Ben Wood, from technology industry analysts CCS Insight, said the price positioning of the Rook by EE represents a very good opportunity for consumers.

"It's an eye-wateringly low price," he said. "It's taken the 4G market to somewhere we didn't expect for some time yet and it's really interesting from that perspective."

Wood added that while some similar priced options were available from lesser known brands, the EE connection could make the new device more appealing to many.

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