Three announces free 4G upgrade

Customers to benefit from Ultrafast LTE this summer

Three has announced its customers will be able to upgrade to 4G at no extra cost when it launches its Ultrafast service in the summer

Three is one of the major UK networks that will join EE in offering 4G mobile connections later this year. But unlike EE - which charges a premium for the upgrade - Three is to offer it free to existing customers.

“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,” said Dave Dyson, CEO of Three UK.

Three's Ultrafast network currently runs on DC-HSDPA technology (3.5G), which it boasts is 85 per cent the speed of 4G and covers roughly 55 per cent of the country. So the jump up to 4G isn't huge - but undercutting EE (which charges around £5 a month more) could spark something of a price war.

No specific price plans have been released - and Three hasn't expanded on whether data caps will be put in place, but the company does hope to offer 4G speeds to 80 per cent of the UK population when it launches with the new standard.

"Three's manifesto really does fly in the face of the pricing strategy used by the competition at present where mobile customers have to pay a monthly premium to make the leap to 4G speeds," said Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com.

"Much like the introduction of unlimited mobile data with the One Plan back in 2010, Three's move could really force the other networks to reconsider how they price their own forthcoming 4G deals," he said.

There are already plenty of handsets ready to use the new speed when Three flicks the switch - including the iPhone 5, Nokia Lumia 920, Sony Xperia Z and the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE version.

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