EE, O2, and Vodafone all have their LTE networks ready to go, leaving only Three remaining. So when exactly is the data-friendly carrier going to offer up its own LTE service? December, according to the company. And Three has reaffirmed its promise to keep offering unlimited data too. The networks says that its “all you can eat” LTE data will incur no extra charge on existing or new contracts.
Naturally, Three’s LTE network won’t be widely available at launch. The company says that it will be coming to London, Birmingham, and Manchester in December. After that, Three will slowly increase its LTE coverage, with the carrier ultimately aiming to hit 50 cities by 2014 and cover 98% of the UK by 2015.
Three customers won’t need to change their SIM or swap out their handsets either. Any LTE-equipped devices – such as the HTC One or Samsung Galaxy S4 – will be able to take advantage of Three’s increased speeds right away with a simple over-the-air software upgrade. Anyone using O2 or Vodafone’s network, meanwhile, may have to swap over to a new SIM depending on its age.
The general population has been trained to believe that 4G and LTE services inherently lead to additional costs on already expensive smartphone bills. Not charging extra for LTE and retaining unlimited data is a sly move by Three – it will definitely appeal to anyone looking for the best value for money. And if that offer eventually extends to Three’s £15 PAYG bundle, then it will be the cheapest way of getting access to LTE speeds in the UK.