Three has announced that when it flicks the switch on its 4G LTE service later in 2013, it won’t charge extra for super-fast mobile surfing, and will offer LTE as standard across its normal smartphone tariffs.
Three has also pledged that existing customers will get the benefit too, and not just new subscribers.
The move highlights, and goes directly against, EE’s policy of charging extra for its 4G LTE service, and indeed having some pretty pricey 4G plans as many people have been moaning about recently. Having a monopoly on LTE at the moment, though, EE can pretty much do what it wants…
Three notes that it already has a super-fast mobile network built on DC-HSDPA, which now covers 55 per cent of the UK, and this will hit 80 per cent at the end of next month. HSPA is often referred to as 3.5G, giving considerably faster speeds, but not quite up to LTE’s standard (though of course, any speed can vary given location, signal strength etc).
Three’s LTE network (on the 1800MHz spectrum, as is EE’s current 4G network) will go live in the second half of this year – and the network will be looking to bid on more LTE spectrum when Ofcom’s much-talked-about (and delayed) 4G auction goes ahead.
Three’s chief executive, Dave Dyson, commented: “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.”
Three is a smaller player compared to the likes of EE, O2 and Vodafone, but the network is making efforts such as this (and all-you-can-eat data) to gain traction – and fair play to them. As long as the network infrastructure can handle all this, of course…