January 9, 2014

Three’s 4G Mobile Network Status Round Up : 9th January, 2014

Three 4G

Three’s 4G Mobile Network Status Round Up

It’s 15 months since EE launched 4G in the UK and as we’re receiving questions from our readers about Three’s 4G mobile network status so we decided to compile a round-up.

We contacted Three today who confirmed that there were no further details other than what was released on the 4th December, and that no further information would be released in the near future.

To help our readers, I have broken Three’s 4G mobile network launch into three stages : One, Two and Three. Stage One covers what’s happening now, Stage Two covers what will happen in the rest of 2014 and Stage Three in 2015.

Three 4G Stage One – December 2013 to today

In December, Three confirmed it had put its 4G network live in London, Birmingham, Reading and Manchester.

However, Three had connected only 3000 of its customers with 4G as opposed to hooking up all its customers in the cities above.

Three say “We’re currently working with a number of them in the first phase of our launch and are paying close attention to their user experience to ensure we get it right before we accelerate the roll-out over the next couple of months”

We see this as a trial of the 4G network and 4G devices prior to a wider rollout. Three also confirmed today (09/01/2014) that no update on the trial was available.

Three 4G Stage Two – from today through 2014

Three have stated that it will launch 4G in the 50 cities listed below during 2014. No further details e.g. in what order or dates were released.

Aberdeen, Blackpool, Bolton, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Gloucester, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Kingston Upon Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Milton Keynes, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Preston, Sheffield, Slough, Southampton, Southend On Sea, Stoke On Trent, Stockport, Swindon, Watford and York.

Three did confirm that 1.5 million of its customers, who already have 4G enabled devices, will be able to access 4G in their area in February. However, Three did not confirm in which areas this covered.

If you live in one of the above areas and would like more details of when 4G will be coming to your area you could try Three’s customer services or pop into the local shop as they may have a heads up on this.

Three 4G Stage Three – 2015

Three have stated that it will launch 4G in the cities listed below during 2015. No further details e.g. in what order or dates were released.

Bangor, Swansea, Newport, Bath, Canterbury, Chester, Hereford, Lancaster, Lincoln, Salisbury, St Albans, Sunderland, Wakefield, Winchester and Worcester.

Three also confirmed it is on track to bring 4G to 98% of the population by the end of 2015.

4G With No Extra Costs

The good news is that Three will connect you to 4G with no extra costs, and there is no need to upgrade or sign a new contract. All Three need to do is upload an “over the air” firmware update onto your ‘4G Ready’ device and you’re good to go.

  • Simon

    I think you’ll find the staff in the three shops are being just as vague. i asked them about their go-live date for London again today and all i got was the end of the month. Only 3 weeks ago they said the start of this month and it changes depending on which member of staff you use and what day it is. They also told me Kent would be covered but Kent is not even mentioned at all in their 2014 or 2015 plans.

    Basically if you contact them again tomorrow i bet they will tell you a different story as I don’t think anyone, including Three, actually know what their plans are.

  • neil

    Does anyone have any details on what the “software upgrade” actually changes on the phone?

    Presumably it simply amends / creates new APN settings?

    If so , can anyone who has the 4G trial access post what settings they have now and we can all try the same??

  • Kevin Thomas


    If anyone has details of how the trial is progressing please let our readers know.

    I’ve asked Three and they didn’t give me any news

  • Derek

    Edinburgh is mentioned in Stage 2 and Stage 3!

  • Peter MacCabe

    I popped into the Three store in Highcross Leicester about a week ago and asked about when 4G will be activated in Leicester. The chap I spoke to said about April time. He also stated the masts etc are all ready to go but need approval from a ‘government body’.

    I think that perfectly plausible so fingers crossed I’ll be enjoying unlimited 4G data for £15 per month via my Samsung S3 LTE and my Three ‘The One Plan’ SIM Only

    • Kevin Thomas

      Thanks Peter

      Yes that sounds good for those in Leicester

  • Dan

    I’ve already had the 4G update on my iPhone 5. It’s just a carrier settings update which is Three 15.6 in settings. It now gives the 4G on/off options in mobile/cellular settings. I’m not part of the trial and can’t get 4G in Birmingham (my nearest 4G town). From what I’ve read it’s all down to your SIM card being activated for 4G with Three and once they roll out everyone’s sims.

  • nahsar ali

    Has anyone tried three 4g yet what are the speeds like

    • Rikki

      my 4g speed test with only 2 bars signal was 35.23 down and 3.45 up, done yesterday in milton keynes.

      • Kevin Thomas

        Nice one Rikki

        Thing is there is virtually no one on the network so you may be getting great speeds now but as more and more people use 4G in your area it will slow up, by how much we will have to wait and see.

    • John Stevens

      I’ve had 56mbps down and 20mbps up in Birmingham and Edinburgh

  • vik

    The latest news is Three is launching 4G to all customers in the beginning of March.
    Thats a month earlier than the planned launch in April

  • vik

    Also the ‘Trial People ‘ are under contract by Three not to share any ‘Secret Information’ about their
    4G experiences on any social media!!! I was told by Three

    • Kevin Thomas

      Hi vik

      Thanks for the post
      This is standard practice for trials like these

  • Andrew

    Recently in Liverpool a network scan showed Three 4G so it must be one of the first. This would make sense seeing as Manchester is getting/got it, the fill in between the 2 cities would go away towards the population percentage. Also EE (mbnl) cover this area and O2 and Vodafone do, to not wouldn’t make sense to gain customers.

  • Steve

    It’s up and running on Nottingham

  • Rodrigo

    I am Newcastle and my connection interrupted abruptly, when I checked the phone I found a 4G symbol on the data status bar! Can it be??

  • Stu

    Newcastle-upon-Tyne definitely, but it’s very patchy in and around Central Station and over by the Tyne bridge

  • Adam

    4G is up in Glasgow, albeit in selected areas, the city centre not one of those.

  • Craig

    I’m in Oxford on a note 3.its showing 4G occasionally on my status bar! I’ve had no software update or anything. Weird.

  • Mani

    Hello I am from Leicester I checked my phone yesterday and found a 4g symbol on the data status bar but after a couple of mins it was gone

  • Rikki

    I just noticed yesterday morning my three phone had the 4g logo for the first time at my home in milton keynes. So we are live!!

  • Kevin Thomas

    More info on what’s happening with the Three 4G network can be viewed here

  • Pirrie

    Sighthill area in Edinburgh is live and listed on coverage checker. Was also picking 4G up at Royal Infirmary towards opposite end off city, but isn’t on coverage checker.

  • John

    I noticed a 4G signal on my iPad 4 the other day in Edinburgh, looks like one site in Edinburgh showing 4G on 3’s coverage map but I was a fair distance from it but travelling by bus and it dropped to 3G too quickly to speed test. I was back in the area (Straiton) later in the day and ran a speed test and got 54.70 down and 8.23 up. Mightily impressed.

    • John Stevens

      Three store in Birmingham told me iPads where not getting the 4G update until all phones where updated to 4G don’t no why they just can’t be honest lol

      • John

        I’ve had no update, I think that bit’s not correct. There should’t be any reason to update the settings on the iPad anyway, it should just see the 4G signals coming in like 3G or 2G, it’s not as if the APN is changing.

        • lee g

          same here my phone got no update i just drove to a 4G area and it worked, it may have been in my case my sim was only 3 months old so had the 4g stuff on it already just needed it enabling at there end

          but when i had the three sim in my HTC One 4G was not available but it is on my nokia lumia 820 the option is, seems windows phones ignore the sim card settings, mite explain why i only got 3G speeds when i was on 4G but upload was 18mb/s download was normal 4-8mb/s on 4G

  • John Stevens

    4G in milton keynes 60 Mbps

  • Charlotte

    I live in Luton and all of a sudden these past few days in certain areas of Luton I get 4g coverage but it seems to run very slow on the Internet when my phone is showing 4g it doesn’t last long and it goes back to 3G and am on the network 3

  • Graham Wells

    I just drove my car to straiton on the outskirts of Edinburgh and got 4g on the 3network on my iphone5s this was at 17.49 on 8th march 2014 and the speed is 20.2mps so very impressive indeed

  • Dave

    It’s Saturday, May 3 and I have 4g on my iphone in Maidstone

    Wonder if this is trial or permanent ???

  • Abz

    I had three 4G, in East London, up until four weeks ago. All of a sudden its disappeared and I’m on crappy 3g. They say there is no fault in my area. So how does go from working to not working all of a sudden. Good job I’m on PAYG.

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