Three Says 3.1m Customers Are Now Using 4G

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Three 4G now available to 48 percent of the country with a third of customers now using LTE

A third of Three’s eight million customers are now using 4G, ten months after the full commercial launch of LTE on its network, although it started the rollout in some locations last December.

Three was the last of the four major operators to launch 4G but offers the technology to its customers at no additional cost to their existing contracts, unlike EE, O2 and Vodafone. This means that anyone in a coverage area with a compatible device can take advantage of the next generation network – something which 3.1 million people have done.

Since March, the firm has worked to expand its coverage across the UK, and now claims its 4G network covers 48 percent of the country, with an ultimate aim of 98 percent coverage by the end of 2015 as it builds new sites and deploys 800MHz spectrum, which has better range.

Three 4G rollout

Dave Dyson Three CEO“The rollout of new capacity is progressing well and, most importantly for me, customer satisfaction is higher than ever,” says Three CEO Dave Dyson. “With an advanced 3G network already in place all our customers are able to benefit from a reliable and high performing network.”

“The addition of low frequency spectrum is just one part of our plans to expand Three’s coverage and bring our network to more people in more places in 2015.”

Dyson has previously said the company’s approach to 4G has justified its late launch and that as the UK’s smallest mobile operator, it has always had to do things a little bit differently, citing the Feel At Home roaming offer and free 0800 calls as other examples.

Research from Opensignal found that Three users could receive a 4G signal just 20.9 percent of the time with average LTE speeds of 8.95Mbps, while a recent Ofcom report claimed the network had the slowest average LTE speed of any operator in five major UK cities at 10.7Mbps. Ofcom also did not offer any data on Three’s 4G coverage in recent research due to discrepancies between the regulator’s figures which could not be resolved in time for publication.

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