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Three UK to Offer 4G Ultrafast Mobile Broadband At No Extra Cost

Posted Monday, February 4th, 2013 (7:45 am) by Mark Jackson (Score 1,909)
three uk mobile broadband

Mobile operator Three UK (Hutchison 3GUK Ltd.) has announced that their forthcoming 4G (LTE) based “ultrafastMobile Broadband network will, unlike its rivals, offer the service across all existing and new price plans “without customers needing to pay a premium fee to upgrade“.

The move, aside from adding more confusion to the already vague definition of “ultrafast“, could spark a new price war as most operators had been expected to charge extra for the service in an attempt to reverse falling revenues (partly caused by more customers using the less lucrative data / internet services than old style voice calls).

Mobile operator EE became the first to launch a 4G service last year (using the 1800MHz radio spectrum band) but most commentators and consumers alike were left feeling somewhat underwhelmed at the high prices and meagre data allowances. Since then EE has moved to improve its service but many consumers appear to be waiting for rivals to enter the market before taking the plunge.

Dave Dyson, CEO of ThreeUK, said:

Our customers choose Three because they love the internet and know they can get great speeds and great value on our award-winning network.

As we add the next wave of technology to our Ultrafast network, we’ve listened to our customers and thought long and hard about the right way to do it. We don’t want to limit Ultrafast services to a select few based on a premium price and we’ve decided our customers will get this service as standard.

With Three, it’s simple, great value and Ultrafast. What you might expect from the network that was built for the internet.”

Three UK hope to grab a slice of the 800MHz and or 2.6GHz band in Ofcom’s current 4G spectrum auction and its first services could go live before the summer. The operator has also signed a separate deal to use a slice of EE’s now divested 1800MHz spectrum (2 x 15MHz), although this won’t be usable until September 2013.

Meanwhile Three UK’s existing 3G network already claims to cover “more than 97.8% of the population“, although such statements should always be taken with a pinch of salt. In addition some 55% of the UK population (in 50 UK towns and cities) are also said to be within reach of its current “ultrafastDC-HSDPA (Dual Carrier High Speed Downlink Packet Access) network, which can offer faster mobile internet speeds (up to 42Mbps peak) and is set to reach 80% coverage by the end of March 2013.

At this stage Three UK cannot announce the full expectations for its forthcoming 4G service because that would naturally still depend upon the outcome of Ofcom’s on-going auction.

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7 Responses
  1. DanielM

    i wonder if payg is included.

  2. Phil

    EE T-Mobile & Orange should follow the same too or will lose their customers soon if they don’t follow Three.

  3. Vince

    Just to be clear…

    Three aren’t “using a slice of EE’s” spectrum – that implies they’ll rent it.

    They’re acquiring it because EE had to sell it otherwise they’d have too much (because they had that capacity only because Orange/T-Mobile used to be distinct)

  4. dragoneast

    There seems to be some sort of assumption, perpetrated by people who should know better, that all broadband is some sort of social service supplied to the deserving on the basis of need. It isn’t. It’s a commercial service supplied where and how the suppliers think they can make most money out of it. So the good (or bad) experience is here today may be gone tomorrow and what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander. More like a lucky dip, or for the more sophisticated, a roulette wheel. You play their game not the other way around.

    I’ve used 4 different broadband sources in my time, and in terms of both speeds and value for money, they’ve been leapfrogging forwards and backwards like some never-ending kangaroo race.

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