Three details plans for its U.K. 4G roll-out

It’s been a year – almost to the day – since the U.K.’s first 4G LTE network was announced. Since then, EE has had the domestic 4G market largely to itself, with competition having only just been announced by its rival networks, Vodafone and O2.

Three has also confirmed that it will launch 4G services later this year, but hasn’t yet committed to a specific date. It will be the last of the major U.K. networks to launch 4G services, putting it at a disadvantage against its competitors – particularly EE, which has used its head start well, with 4G coverage now extending to over 100 cities and large towns.

Three has now shared a bit more detail on its planned rollout. The company is still being vague on the exact date of its launch, reiterating only that it will happen in December, with London, Birmingham and Manchester the first three cities to get coverage. Coverage will extend beyond these cities to West Bromwich, Dudley, Wolverhampton, Oldham and Reading by the end of this year.

Next year, the company plans aggressive expansion of its 4G network to a further 50 cities across the U.K., with 98% coverage of the population by the end of 2015.

While other networks have loaded their 4G price plans with bundled extras – such as streaming music and TV, or other features designed to add value – Three’s 4G offering is much more straightforward. Gimmicky freebies aren’t part of the mix, and neither is expensive ‘early adopter’ pricing.

Instead, Three says it won’t charge customers any more for 4G connectivity compared with existing 3G plans; when its LTE signal goes live, all customers with a 4G-ready phone will be connected to 4G at no extra cost. Additionally, unlike its rivals, Three isn’t requiring its contract customers to sign up to a new 12-24 month plan to be able to use 4G.

Perhaps the most exciting element of Three’s 4G offering is that it has committed to providing “all-you-can-eat” data, again at no extra cost over its existing unlimited 3G plans. Other U.K. networks have rejected such offerings entirely, preferring to charge customers based on the amount of data they wish to purchase each month. 

Source and images: Three

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One area where Canadian providers have excelled is getting a reasonably fast LTE roll out and not charging extra for it...that said the prices are high in general anyway.

I'd caution people to not get too excited though. When I used LTE it had a big time effect on the battery life of my device at the time (halved it in fact). Not sure if it was just my device but it seems the LTE radios certainly take more juice. Speeds were great (over 40Mbit) but in the end I found it pointless when my phone would die after 8-10 hrs from a full charge. In the end I went back to 3G.

I'm glad 3 have chosen the "It's more efficient and costs us less so we wont charge more" route, rather than the "Let's grab a load of extra money from people" route that all other networks took. I can see 3 gaining ALOT of new customers with this.

Also loving the stab at O2 with the cat!

I just switched over to Three from Orange/EE. The reception is so much better, and it actually works. And I live in London ... So yeah, looking forward to their upgrades!

I've always used 3 but my new location in Clapham has signal probs which have actually got worse not better. However I'm firmly with 3 and am confident that it will get better sooner or later.
Meanwhile it's on with the baking tray and silver foil solution...

Will be jumping from EE to Three next year when my contract's up for renewal. EE signal is mostly attrocious, their 4G is too expensive and their customer service is crap to boot.

My girlfriend is with Three and has nothing but good things to say about them. The fact that they'll offer 4G for no additional charge is just icing on the cake

BavonWW said,
I've always used 3 but my new location in Clapham has signal probs which have actually got worse not better

That's known as the Clapham Triangle and has affected commuters on all carriers from Vauxhall to Thornton Heath for years.

Three haven't really lost out to EE by "late" adoption. Aside from the fact that EE shouldn't have been allowed to jump the gun by reusing spare capacity to the detriment of all other providers, Three is rolling out in a less money grubbing way to everyone else. No "lock in for another two years" bull, freebies that aren't really (one year of Spotify. Nice, but those who care already subscribe and those that haven't would prefer the period to be the contract length). Just a faster connection for those that can receive it.

All I need to do is flash a hybrid radio so my N4 can receive LTE again.

I wonder how far past the edges of the cities the signal will extend...I live just outside Reading, so fingers crossed I get it at the end of this year...but i doubt it.
Still 98% by 2015 is pretty good going.
And you gotta love the free upgrade and all still you can eat data

Agreed on this, I live in Warrington which is sandwiched right between Manchester and Liverpool - be interesting to see if/when it rolls out to Liverpool next year if I get any.

Can't wait, all I need now is for them to announce their Galaxy Note 3 deals.

Nashy said,
Why no reporting for Australian networks going 4G?

There is nothing exciting happening - its being deployed on 1800Mhz and that is pretty much it till the 700Mhz is freed up.

Nashy said,
It's just as exciting as another standard operator upgrading in the US or UK.

Shrugs - I guess the website only thinks that the UK and US exist.

Nice to see Plymouth's on the list for next year; more good news for when I switch to them this year (just waiting on my final payback from giffgaff, which will be in December).

As usual no love for the north east. No Durham, no Sunderland, no Middlesbrough. But at least it is finally getting there.

Well considering the likes of Oldham, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Northampton and Southend are getting it, I'll stand by my comments.