Three will begin switching on its 4G service from December 2013, with London, Birmingham and Manchester targeted for the initial launch. The last of the major networks to announce their 4G plans, Three plans to cover 98% of the UK by the end of 2015.
All existing Three customers with a 4G ready phone or tablet will be eligible to upgrade to the 4G network via a free software update, with no need to change tariffs or sign up to a new contract.
Three 4G smartphone plans
Exact price details covering 4G tariffs for new customers have yet to be revealed. Three does offer a range of 4G compatible mobile phones however; with Sony’s Xperia Z handset available for free on a £29 per month contract for example. Other 4G compatible phones available from Three include the Nokia Lumia 925, Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One.
4G phone reviews – our mobile phone reviews rate the best 4G handsets.
4G launched by Vodafone and O2
The announcement by Three comes as O2 and Vodafone begin rollout of their 4G services in UK cities, joining established provider EE.
Like Three, both O2 and Vodafone plan to ultimately offer coverage in 98% of the UK. 4G was launchd by EE last year and now covers 105 towns and cities. The arrival of rival networks should see more competitive pricing for 4G and give consumers more choice.
Vodafone has initially launched its 4G service in London. The cheapest 4G package will cost £26 per month for a sim-only deal or £34 per month with a supplied, free 4G phone.
O2 has rolled out its 4G service in London, Leeds and Bradford. 12 month tariffs range from £26 to £36 per month for a sim-only deal; while existing customers can upgrade to 4G via O2 refresh from £22.
O2 4G vs Vodafone 4G vs EE 4G – we compare the best plans for by price and data.
What is 4G?
4G is the next generation of mobile technology that promises home broadband levels of internet speed on the move. The speeds of between 8 and 12 Mbps that users are likely to receive is significantly faster than the current 3G speeds of 1-2Mbps and ideal for streaming or downloading video and music.
Regulator Ofcom estimates that download speeds could be around five to seven times those of existing 3G networks. This would mean that a music album that takes 20 minutes to download on a 3G phone would only take three minutes over 4G.
- 4G explained – all you need to know about this new technology
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- Best Buy mobile phones – read reviews of the best phones you can buy