Customers of Everything Everywhere (EE), the largest wireless carrier in the United Kingdom (UK), will soon be able to stream Apple Music on their smart phones without charge as a result of an agreement signed by EE and Apple last Friday. The deal is the second of its kind for Apple, which entered the music streaming market in June 2015 after paying $3 billion for digital streaming firm Beats Electronics. (Last year, Apple struck a similar streaming deal with Telstra, Australia’s top national carrier.)
Viewed as a fast-emerging rival of Spotify, Apple Music gained more than ten million subscribers within six months of launch and now counts 15 million subscribers globally. (By comparison, Spotify, which recently recorded 39 million customers worldwide, took six years to reach the 10 million subscriber milestone.) Because EE, the mobile phone service subsidiary of BT Group, serves 27 million customers, Friday’s deal could offer Apple an important new platform for Apple Music’s continued growth.
Starting yesterday, new EE customers and existing EE customers who upgrade their subscriptions will be provided free access to Apple Music for a period of six months. Subscribers will be able to stream Apple Music through their iPads, PCs and Apple TVs as well as through their smart phones and may download music for offline use. After the free offer expires, customers who decide to continue the service will be charged a monthly rate of £9.99 (US$13).
EE CEO Marc Allera told reporters that “we’re delighted to be the first UK operator to offer Apple Music, with its incredible catalog of songs, playlists and Beats 1 radio.” Highlighting EE’s goal of bringing “our customers services from the best companies in the world,” Allera declared, “in Apple Music, there is no doubt we have found that, and together, we’ll provide customers with an outstanding music experience.”