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Three UK Begins Low Key 4G LTE Mobile Broadband Rollout

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013 (11:18 am) - Score 1,890
three-uk-mobile-broadband

It started with a whimper. Mobile operator Three UK has quietly revealed, through a small mention in an unrelated press release, that its new superfast 4G (LTE at 800MHz and 1800MHz) based Mobile Broadband network has now finally started to go live for existing customers “at no extra cost“.

The GO LIVE switch was officially flicked on Monday 2nd December for customers with a 4G-ready device in parts of London, Birmingham and Manchester, although the initial deployment could perhaps be described as more of a trial.

The roll-out is expected to accelerate in January 2014 and all customers with a compatible device should thus be able to access 4G “at no extra cost” by the end of Q1 2014, assuming they are in an area with 4G coverage.

Dave Dyson, CEO of Three UK, said:

We are building a brand and network that encourages and enables customers to enjoy the mobile internet. Customers are using more data than ever on Three, far more than on any other network. As we add 4G capacity to the network, this experience will only get better.”

Three UK aims to cover 50 cities with 4G by the end of 2014 and 98% of the population by the end of 2015. Customers have been told to expect early 4G speeds of around 14Mbps, although naturally some areas might be significantly slower and others a lot faster. The rough deployment plan is currently as follows.

three uk 4g rollout cities

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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5 Responses
  1. Toonshorty says:

    “Customers have been told to expect early 4G speeds of around 14Mbps”

    A little surprised by this. I was in Durham the other day and got 23.5Mbps on DC-HSPA+ with 3.

    1. DTMark says:

      I’m not sure why they don’t just advertise it as superfast broadband (up to 80Mbps) the same as VDSL.

      I bet 10% of their customers could get those sorts of speeds if they walked out across a field and stood next to the cell in the middle of the night.

      I did see over 20Meg on Three 3G quite often, though 12 to 15Meg was more usual.

      Sadly, Three broke the network round here, so my spend with them dropped from about £100/mo to nil.

      They even called me the other day perhaps fishing for why, so I explained. They promised to go away and find out why a 4 or 5 bar signal for four years started wandering between 1 and 4 bars and flicking from 3G to H+ and back again getting progressively worse until it was only managing about 4Meg.

      They never called back. But we have access to another network (EE) which is what we have now, and there’s an old phone network which can do some narrowband if ever needed. 4G might “fix” Three thanks to the frequency change. But we’ve already gone. The joys of competing infrastructure and choice 🙂

    2. Sean says:

      In the last month or so mine has also dropped from 15~20Mbit to about 4Mbit at best, though it’s more than usual to see less than 0.5Mbit.

  2. Stephen says:

    I’ve also had 20 MB/S speeds on 3G in certain areas.

  3. Eye to the left says:

    Another load of tosh from Three – Their 3g service is poor as it is which can be seen in numerous complaints from their users. Very hit and miss around the UK in my experience.

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