EE customers who haven't already requested a code for a 'free' power bar – a portable smartphone charger – will have to wait until the end of June before they can get one. Here's our Q&A on the deal.
The mobile network has "paused" its promotion due to an "unprecedented response", after more than one million requests from customers for the gadget in just over four days.
We put the deal as the lead in our weekly email last week and we've heard from hundreds of Money Savers who have requested codes and stood in queues in stores discussing with each other that they heard about the offer on MoneySavingExpert.com.
However, this "pause" affects only those who haven't yet been sent a code. We explain what's happening below. Also see our Cheap Mobiles guide for our top tips on getting the best deal on your handset.
Customers should be aware that the power bar is subject to a hire agreement, so if you leave EE you will have to give the power bar back or you'll be charged a £5 fee.
I've NOT received a code. Can I still get a power bar?
Annoyingly, if you didn't send a text requesting a code before 3pm on Monday 20 April, then you'll have to wait until after 8am on 24 June, when EE is resuming the promotion.
Don't worry. If you missed the cut-off, you won't be charged for any text sent after this date, but you'll need to text again after 24 June to get a code. Once you've got it, you can pick up the power bar from any EE store.
I've GOT a code from EE. Can I still get a power bar?
If you've got a code but haven't picked up your power bar, you'll still be able to get one. EE says those who already have a code can still get the power bar at any time, although it may be better to go quick just in case stock runs out in your local store.
At the moment, some stores have run out of stock, but EE said there are enough power bars (some are currently being moved around to busier locations) for everyone who has already received a code.
Check with your local store. They'll be able to tell you where to pick one up.
I've GOT a power bar. Can I still use it?
If you've got a power bar you can continue to use it as normal and those who already have the device can continue to swap it for a fully-charged replacement at any EE story nationwide for free, as many times as they like.
Am I eligible to get the power bar?
All EE, Orange and T-Mobile customers with a 30-day, 12-month, 18-month or 24-month mobile, tablet or broadband plan can get the power bar for free.
Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) mobile customers can also get the deal as long as they've been with EE for at least three months.
How do I get the power bar?
The power bar deal launched on Thursday 16 April but EE paused it on Monday 20 April due to low stock levels, so you'll need to wait until 8am on 24 June before texting or calling to get a code. But when you can...
- Mobile customer: Text POWER to 365 (texts cost 35p).
- Broadband customer: Text JOIN plus your EE landline number to 60005 (texts cost 35p).
- Tablet customer: EE said that tablet customers must call customer services on 07953 966 250 (call costs will vary) to get a code.
Once you've sent the text you'll receive a code, which you need to show in any EE store to get the power bar (you can't get the power bars in third party stores such as Carphone Warehouse). Most people get sent a code immediately, though some have found it hasn't arrived for a few hours, so you may need to be patient.
Some people also reported receiving a reply saying the service launches on 16 April, despite them having texted on 16 April. EE says this is because some people texted before 8am when the deal launched. If this is the case, try again.
In the terms and conditions it says the power bar is a hire agreement – what does this mean?
Technically this is a hire agreement. So be warned that if you get a free power bar but later decide to cancel your EE mobile, broadband or tablet contract, you must return the power bar to any EE store within 60 days. If you don't, EE will apply a £5 fee to your bill.
The terms and conditions also imply that the charger must be returned to an EE store after 18 months when it will then decide if you can get another power bar.
However EE says this is in relation to it reviewing the scheme as a whole after 18 months, rather than requiring customers to return the power bar after 18 months and swapping it for a new one.
How does the power bar work?
The power bar includes a micro USB lead, which is used to charge the bar but also to charge the phone from the bar. However while this should work for the majority of phones, if you have an iPhone you will have to use your own iPhone charger cable to connect to the power bar.
If your phone isn't a smartphone you might also need a separate adaptor.
EE says the power bar has enough life in it to charge a typical smartphone once before it needs to be recharged itself. It takes around four hours to recharge and EE says it has a guaranteed life of 500 charges.
That said, EE customers can swap power bars for free in EE stores whenever theirs runs out. The bar itself will indicate how much charge it has left in it so you know when to recharge it.
What's the power bar worth?
EE is selling its power bar to non-customers for £20. But if you're thinking of getting one, compare prices first as it's likely you can get a similar charger cheaper elsewhere.
A brief look on Amazon revealed chargers with the same capacity as EE's (2,600mah) costing around £5-£10.
Why has EE launched this deal?
When EE axed its decade-long running 'Orange Wednesday' 2for1 cinema deal and 2for1 offer on both mains and dough balls at most Pizza Express restaurants it said two deals would be launched to replace it.
Last month it revealed that all new and existing EE, Orange and T-Mobile mobile and broadband customers will have access to a blockbuster film rental every week for £1 from streaming service Wuaki.tv (see the EE reveals online streaming offer MSE news story).
And earlier this month EE revealed free rechargeable batteries as its second rewards deal, although at the time no launch date was announced (see the EE unveils portable smartphone chargers MSE news story).
EE says its research shows that nearly 60% of UK smartphone users claim their battery doesn't last a full day, while over half of all smartphone users wish there were more ways to charge their phone in public places – this rises to over 70% of 18-24 year olds.
A spokesman for EE told MoneySavingExpert that it has had more requests for power bar codes in the four days since launching the offer than it had in four months of its 241 cinema ticket deal.
Additional reporting by Helen Knapman.