Mobile operator Three UK (Hutchison 3G UK), which still misleadingly insists upon calling its existing 3G based Mobile Broadband network “ultrafast” (fixed line ISPs tend to associate this with speeds of at least 100Mbps), has confirmed that it’s future 4G (LTE) product will be last to market when it arrives in Q4-2013.
The operator recently spent £225m to secure a useful slice of the 800MHz band in Ofcom’s auction (here) and it will soon compliment this with a chunk of EE’s 1800MHz band during September 2013 (here).
In theory this means that Three UK could launch its first 4G service before the summer via 800MHz, like many expect O2 and Vodafone to do, although they’re apparently in no rush. Quite the contrast given that not so long ago they were crying out for more radio spectrum.
David Dyson, CEO of Three, said:
Ultrafast will take time to build awareness of just as customers understanding of 4G will.“
The operators existing 3G network is currently being upgraded to support its new “ultrafast” DC-HSDPA (Dual Carrier High Speed Downlink Packet Access) platform, which can offer faster mobile internet download speeds of up to 42Mbps and should reach 80% coverage by the end of this month.
But DC-HSDPA is still technically a 3G solution and must be supported by your hardware for any benefit. In reality most consumers will never receive anything even close to the peak theoretical speeds being promised above, which has to be shared with other users. Not that any of this will stop Three UK diluting the already vague definition of Ultrafast with its own unique twist.