Three UK has made an early announcement regarding the price it’ll charge for 4G LTE connections later on this year, and the news is sure to please customers and worry the competition. Instead of creating a new set of premium tariffs, Three will add 4G LTE connectivity to its existing plans at no extra charge.
The company’s CEO said in a press release: “We have listened to our customers and thought long and hard about the right way to do it.
“We don’t want to limit [fast data] to a select few based on a premium price and we’ve decided our customers will get this service as standard.”
If you want a 4G connection in the UK at the moment, the only choice is to get one through EE, which refarmed its extensive 1800MHz spectrum late last year, but has been criticised for its high prices and an absence of an unlimited data option. Three provides unlimited packages which will remain competitive if the price isn’t hiked as promised. Like EE, Three will use the 1800MHz spectrum which it purchased from EE after the merger of Orange and T-Mobile to form Everything Everywhere.
Of course, to take advantage of 4G data speeds, you’ll need a 4G enabled phone, but as Three notes, the iPhone 5, Sony Xperia Z and Nokia Lumia 920 are all compatible with its 4G network, and it will be launching the Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II and the BlackBerry Z10 in the next month or so. All these phones will receive Three’s 4G signal when it goes online.
When will this be? Three is working on increasing its 3G network at the moment, which it expects to cover 80% of the population by March. 4G will be added in “the second half of the year,” so sometime after summer. There’s no mention of coverage expectations.
EE still has the monopoly on 4G in the UK, but Three’s decision is likely to see it reconsider its pricing strategy soon.