EE has announced the 4GEE Action Cam, capable of private, but not public, video live streaming over 4G networks. The camera is capable of live streaming at 720p at 30fps over 4G or at 480p over 3G. Live streaming is provided in partnership with Skeegle.
The 4GEE Action Cam will come with a durable companion wristworn device that acts as a viewfinder and remote control for the device, and a ruggedized case up to 60 meters under water. The camera includes a microSD card slot for extra storage. Additional attachments and accessories will be sold separately.
The 4GEE Action Cam will launch in summer and it will be sold nationwide on shared plans, pay monthly and prepay subscriptions in EE stores, and with a prepay subscriptions through third party retailers including Jessops, Carphone Warehouse, Amazon, and Selfridges.
EE is not the first company to try and market a camera as an accessory to a mobile consumer. HTC launched its Re camera last year, Sony had its attachable QX series lenses, and GoPro has been making action cameras since 2009.
EE is looking to ride the buzz that live streaming apps Periscope and Meerkat have generated. However, the lack of public broadcasting will not allow it to compete for the same use cases.
By combining the two EE hopes to address a gap in a market for live streaming action. However, the additional functionality offered by the mobile connectivity will cater to a very niche market. The ‘action’ part of the 4GEE Action Cam would ideally be used for extreme sports which often take place in locations where mobile signal is poor. The wrist worn viewfinder accessory does however offer additional value as action cam users cannot usually see what is actually being filmed.
With most of its subscription growth coming from mobile WiFi and tablets, EE will be hoping to further push its shared data plans with the 4GEE Action Cam. The device will be available for £15/month or £10/month with an upfront cost of £99, which will be waived during the introductory offer period. It will also be available on pay as you go, for £299 with 2GB of 4G data included for the first month or £399 with 24GB of 4G data for the first 12 months. Additional data will be available from £2 to £30 for 100MB to 10GB per month respectively. Daily tariffs will start at £5 to £10 for 1GB and 4GB respectively. It is also available for £15 and £20 per month for 2GB or 10GB of data respectively on pay monthly price plans.
The daily tariffs will appeal most to consumers who will only utilise the Action Cam sporadically. However, a growing number of cyclists and bikers elect to wear helmet cams in order to improve accountability on the roads, and the ability to live stream could be seen a safety measure for the rider’s family. Other use cases could include, family occasions or other events, however, such use cases are limited. The 10 minute limitation on live streaming could be a hindrance for every use case. EE’s guidance suggests the maximum streaming time of 10 minutes will use up around 100MB of data.
Pricing it at a point higher than some smartwatches however is also not going to help EE. Smartwatches are expected to be the must get Christmas present of 2015, and pricing it similarly will mean it will have to compete with the latest growing trend. The subsidized pricing through shared plans could offset this problem, but it is still addressing a niche market.
EE is pushing devices such as its 4GEE Action Cam and the in-car Wi-Fi solution EE launched last year in an effort to broaden consumers’ perception of what can be done on a mobile network. EE has the highest quality 4G network in the UK according to IHS Rootmetrics, and is therefore keen to push cutting edge data services.