March 3, 2013

4G on Three – No extra cost

three-go-ultrafast-4g-to-come-laterYou might have noticed that Three recently rolled out an optional new ‘Ultrafast’ service to customers. Essentially it’s an attempt to rival EE’s 4GEE service so that Three don’t get left in the dust. Technically Ultrafast is still a form of 3G, but Three have tweaked and upgraded it to deliver speeds that are up to twice as fast as regular 3G. Not bad for such an ageing technology.

On the other hand you would be well within your rights to think that this isn’t good enough when you could just go with EE and get true 4G speeds. You may also worry that once Three start offering 4G you’ll be tied into an Ultrafast service that has since been superseded. They’re both good points and Three have obviously taken them on board, as they’ve announced that their Ultrafast handsets will support 4G, and that once they are able to offer 4G, Ultrafast customers will be upgraded to it at no extra cost.

That’s great news for anyone who’s decided to give Ultrafast a try or was considering doing so. Of course there’s still an argument to be made for just going with EE and enjoying 4G speeds now, rather than at some none specific point later in the year, but consider the fact that EE are currently charging exorbitant prices for their 4G service (think around £41 a month for a phone with just 1 GB of data), while Three will give you a phone with unlimited data from just £23 per month.

Ultrafast also isn’t that much slower than 4G so far. Sure, on paper 4G can theoretically achieve speeds five times faster than 3G, but the reality isn’t quite so impressive, so going with Three now could save you a lot of money without sacrificing much speed, and looking ahead to when they roll out 4G you could end up in a great position.

It’s not entirely clear whether Three’s very generous unlimited data packages will continue once true 4G turns up on the network, but they’ve always been good with data allowances, so they’re still likely to trump the competition.

Bear in mind however that Three’s 4G service may not quite be able to match what EE are offering. Aside from the fact that EE will have had almost a year’s head start, they also have access to a much larger amount of 4G spectrum than Three.

There are already a number of Ultrafast devices available on Three, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3, the Apple iPhone 5 and the HTC Windows Phone 8X. You can also get it for the iPad Mini if tablets are more your thing, while in the coming months you can expect more and more devices to be made compatible- particularly now that the 4G auctionhas come to an end, allowing Three to look to the future with concrete knowledge of what they have to work with and what they’re up against.