September 4, 2013

Three 4G Won’t Be Available in 16 Named Cities Till 2015



The article you came to was written in September, 2013. The latest details can be viewed by following the link below.


Roll Out of 4G in the UK

The launch of 4G by our 4G mobile operators ( EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three ) is currently not going to impress many people – the one exception to this is EE.

It seems a shade disappointing – no a huge disappointment to me – that the roll out of 4G is going to take such a long time, and in some cases, a great number of towns and cities won’t get 4G until sometime in 2015.

The exception to this is EE. They have already launched 4G in 105 towns and cities and will increase this to 120 by the end of 2013. They also have double speed 4G in 20 cities. Of course, there are 66 cities and over 2000 towns in the UK so even EE have a long way to go. EE say they will make 4G outdoor coverage accessible to 98% of the population by the end of 2014.

Vodafone and O2 both launched 4G on 29th August this year. Vodafone launched in London and will launch 4G in Birmingham, Bradford, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield before the end of 2013. O2 launched its 4G in London, Leeds and Bradford with Birmingham, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow, Nottingham, Leicester, Coventry, Sheffield, Manchester and Edinburgh coming on-line by the end of 2013.

This shows EE have a significant lead over Vodafone and O2 for the foreseeable future. This will all balance out by the end of 2015. We can’t be more exact than that as Vodafone and O2 have not provided their roll out plans for 2014 and 2015.

Three 4G Rollout – Where and When in 2013 / 2014

This is not the case for Three 4G. In a move that is either very clever or a bit short-sighted they have actually confirmed exactly where 4G will launch in 2013 and 2014. And it makes for grim reading.

Three have confirmed they will launch 4G during December this year in London, Birmingham and Manchester and then in a further 42 cities in 2014 : 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 4G Rollout – Where and When in 2015 or Later

By comparing the above information released by Three to the total number of cities ( 66 ) in the UK reveals that 4G will NOT be available in the following cities until 2015 or later : Edinburgh, Bangor, Swansea, Newport, Bath, Canterbury, Chester, Hereford, Lancaster, Lincoln, Salisbury, St Albans, Sunderland, Wakefield, Winchester and Worcester. Three have not listed which and when of the 2000 towns in the UK will get 4G but we would expect a similar position as with the cities above.

The above indicates to us that Three will lag considerably behind EE and some way behind both Vodafone and O2. It is likely that Three won’t catch up the rest of the pack till mid 2015 or later.

On the plus side, and this may be the clever bit, Three has said that it will not charge extra for 4G. More can be seen here : Three 4G at No Extra Cost

You may find our article on 4G useful – What is 4G ? An Easy to Follow Guide

  • Felim Doyle

    I think it is also important to mention, as Three have stated, that their existing HSDPA+ and DC-HSDPA technology compares favourably, in terms of speed, with early 4G/LTE implementations and that Three customers will notice little difference when 4G/LTE is initially launched on the Three network.

    Although I currently experience some coverage issues in my immediate area, I chose the Three network because of their existing 3G (or 3.9G as they refer to it) speeds and the promise of no extra charges for 4G/LTE when it is rolled out over the next two years.

    • John Stevens

      What a load of rubbish I get 50 ish down and 20 ish up on threes 4G network I have speed speed test to prove it

      • jason

        Just because you get a decent speed on 4g does not mean everybody does so its not bloody rubbish at all, my 4g connection runs at around 20Mbps max, my H+ 3.9g connection runs more frequently at a steady speed of around 25Mbps. My.4g connection is also hit and miss in my area but in areas where is no 4g my older connection still outpaces it

  • Joe

    As far as the 4G in Chester until 2015 is concerned, im not sure if this statement is correct, hearing off ee only a few months ago they plan on fitting 4g in over 70% of the uk by Christmas 2013, plus the date today is 06/11/2013 and i have 4G connectivity in Handbridge, Chester, so seems to me like the roll-out here has begun.

  • Lee

    I commend Three for taking this move. By delaying the roll-out they have saved money. In my view it’s actually Three who is ahead of the pack by consistently giving phone owners free unlimited / un-metered data access in the first place.

    The networks have made a big mistake by messing up their pricing structure. Nobody wants metered internet access hence the poor uptake thus far. Three is the only company that has traditionally offered unmetered / unlimited internet access and it looks like subscribers will continue to get this when 4G is launched. I dare say Three will be seeing a lot of new subscribers as well.

    Sorry but yes I’m biased when it comes to Three, I’ve been on the net since the freeserve days, I’m sure those reading this will know of the struggles we all went through to get unmetered access in the UK, offcom, the petitions etc. Therefore I will back any company who’s ethos is unmetered internet access.

  • lee

    problem with 3G in general is when to many are connected to one mast you run into issues where phones randomly just do not work even with full signal (phantom network, where you phone says you have a signal but no text voice or data works for about 1-2 mins until the phone times out and forces a reconnect to network) , once 4G comes what should happen most of the data abusers should move over to 4G network it should also make the 3g network for calls and text a lot more reliable as well

    the BBC not understanding this 3G issue, reported that issue with Vodafone somewhere in London i think, where the phones data text and voice was not working correctly on 3G, the reporter did not switch the phone to 2G only to resolve the issue, as 2G seems to be mostly immune to this unless there is 10,000 or so phones trying to use the same 2G mast but due to the way 2g works its Very robust and phone will switch over to another mast with no fuss, where as 3G if the phone does not move over to the other 3G mast correctly it get stuck with no service for about 2-3 mins and it cant handle the same amount of phones as 2G it can get bogged down to the point it does not work

    i beleave 4G was made more like 2G so should not suffer same issues as above when under extreme utilisation that mostly Three network does with there The One Plan (unlimited data and tether)

    in my area Threes network is not to grate unless your in the middle of no ware ( there is a nice spot near the power station where i get 14mb/s in Warrington until i get to housed areas and it drops back to 1-2mb/s) but not 100%sure but be do not have 41mb DC-HSPA+ here what is a shame really

  • John Stevens

    I got 4G in Peterborough today on my iPhone 5s postcode pe1 5qy speed was 25 up and 12 down :-)

    • Kevin Thomas

      Hi John

      That’s very interesting that you have 4G in Peterborough as Three have only confirmed it would come sometime in 2014. Is good news. Do you get good indoor and outdoor coverage and does 4G work in other areas of Peterborough ? Just wondering.

      • John Stevens

        Just the postcode I was in yes it surprised me to just got it in edinburgh to so think three is being very quite where it is lol

      • john

        i have been back in Peterborough today and 4G is live i had it on the A47 near eye

      • john

        hi i spoke to three in store yesterday and they said they are testing it and when they are down they will be cranking it up happy days

  • John Stevens

    Sorry I’m on three mobile

  • kev

    3mobile 3g My Ookla Speedtest result
    Check out my Ookla Speedtest result. What’s your speed?

  • Max

    I am on Three and I got 4G on my 5s about 2 weeks ago in Leeds city west yorkshire.. Itz super fast… Three company iz doing what they promised and its also unlimited… RIP haters 😛

    • Kevin Thomas


      Thats great does it work right across Leeds ?

      How did you find out you could get 4G?

  • Raymond Diston

    O2 4g Plymouth 171nor

  • Jin

    I was in Birmingham yesterday and LTE kicked in, dam it’s fast in car I was getting 20 meg up and 20 meg down, but the thing is, this was on my octa core Korean E300S galaxy s4. But the other thing to note I don’t live in Birmingham I live 27 miles away from Birmingham, and when I had a iPhone 5 that was getting around 27 meg download speed and 12 meg upload speed. but that’s not on 4G that’s on DC-HSDPA so from my experience DC-HSDPA is faster the LTE as LTE for where I live, is going to launch around 2015 that sucks….

  • David

    I got 4g on my iphone 5s yesterday in Dundee even though they say its not available on the three website

  • John Stevens

    Just got 4g in edinburgh 51.46 Mbps down and 11 Mbps and was in the car doing about 50mph

  • John Stevens

    Oh yeah I’m on three

  • octavius ramses III

    People are getting 4g on 3 mobile on iphone at the moment in Dundee, still not working on android devices.

  • Peter S

    In some parts of Glasgow you can pick up Three’s 4G signal and it was fast, super fast, 68 down and 17 up. I just wonder when more people get access to 4G will you get those kind of speeds.

  • SteveB

    I was told by the Three store that Brighton would be getting 4G by the end of April. Well its April 26th now and still no sign of it. Heres hoping!

  • James Body

    All of the discussion about differences in coverage between EE and Three are interesting – particularly as both share the same MBNL operated Radio Access Network. Availability of LTE in certain areas is dependent on commercial agreements and local back haul connectivity; the radio network is the same MBNL provided resource!

    • john

      ive tested EE 4G and three 4G and three outperforms in most cases and with threes 4G being unlimited on the one plan and threes 4G is growing rapidly EE will have to pull its finger out lol i no three have been naughty and capped tethering to 2GB for new contracts but you still get way more for you buck

  • Alan

    I have 4G in East Glasgow. Not consistent connection though indoors or outdoors, have to go down a side street to do a speed test on 4G, 30 Download and 22 Upload.

  • Faizan

    Hmmmm I’ve got 4G in Bath and I’m on Three…

  • James

    Well Three’s 4G is now live in Newport South Wales so it’s early.

  • paul

    Three was supposed to get 4g in swindon in 2014 but still haven’t implemented it. Now they are stating 2015 on their website. When I asked to end the contract, they told me I had to prove it’s been changed on their website! Needless to say I’ll be leaving ASAP.