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EE and Three plan to share their 4G network costs in £1bn deal

UK networks EE and Three are teaming up to improve their respective rollouts of 4G across the UK.

EE is a brand synonymous with 4G in the UK, whilst Three has boasted ultrafast mobile data speeds which it’s referred to a ‘3.9G’ preceding its entry into the world of 4G in 2014.

EE and Three team up for fast 4G propogation

Three was already engaged in a network sharing initiative with T-Mobile before, during and after the latter merged with Orange in the UK, creating EE back in 2010. The partnership has endured between what are currently the largest and smallest major mobile networks in the UK, preumably facilitating the creation of this new deal, which should hold mutual benefits for both carriers.

Although EE was the first to bring 4G to the UK some 12 months ahead of the next competitor, Three is one of the last major carriers to bring its customers up to 4G, but this latest deal will help financially towards providing coverage in more rural areas, throughout the UK.

Up until this point EE had invested £1.4bn in strengthening its network presence, coverage and quality but Three is now offering up some £500m or just under half on continued improvements going forward.

This latest plan comes as EE hopes to reach 70% coverage of 4G across the UK by the end of the month, while Three is hoping to offer 50 cities 4G coverage by the end of 2014 and 98% coverage across the UK by the end of next year.

As the FT points out, both networks offer consumers very different takes on providing access to 4G speeds. EE treats it as a premium service, boasting ‘double speed’ 4G to select consumers and reserving more affordable 3G-only plans for the Orange and T-Mobile brands, whilst Three has been working to improve its existing 3G networks and has promised free upgrades to 4G for all current customers on compatible handsets.

If you’re not already a 4G user, does news of this new partnership entice you to either EE or Three? Lets us know.

Image credit: Three Blog


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