It may be in no hurry to roll out 4G, but operator Three is already promising that it won't make users pay any extra for its LTE packages.
To date only one operator offers 4G LTE services in the UK: EE, whose network went live last September and now covers 45 percent of the UK by population. The other main players — Vodafone, O2 and Three — will likely have to wait until new 4G spectrum is awarded later this year before launching rival services.
"LTE, otherwise known as 4G, will be added to Three's Ultrafast network later this year. Unlike some other UK mobile operators, it will be available across all existing and new price plans without customers needing to pay a premium fee to 'upgrade'," Three said in a statement.
The comment is a jab at EE, whose 4G plans have drawn criticism for their high-end pricing, coupled with less than generous data allowances. At launch, EE's 4G tariffs with a phone started at £36 a month for 500MB of data, and rose to 8GB on a £51 a month contract. Since then, EE has introduced more wallet-friendly options, including a SIM-only data package of 5GB at £15.99 per month.
"LTE will be available as standard with all customers' price plans when the rollout begins later this year... 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 added.
Three says it will be rolling out 4G LTE services later this year, when it's able to use the 1800Mhz spectrum band. Should all go according to plan in the upcoming spectrum auctions, operators are expected to add 4G LTE services from this summer.