Three happy with Ultrafast 3G network so in no rush to launch 4G
The news comes despite the UK's 4G auction ending and services to be launched during late spring or early summer. Three's CEO said the firm wants to wait until after its rivals have launched 4G networks first. See: What is 4G? A complete guide to 4G.
"We're in no rush to launch LTE," said Dave Dyson, CEO of Three during its financial results. "First we'll see how 4G is positioned by O2 and Vodafone and look at how we position it. I'm fairly relaxed about it."
"Realistically, I think it's going to be towards the end of the year before you see us launch (4G) LTE as a technology. Right now the latest version of 3G and the early versions of LTE are not dramatically different and I am very confident that our customers are getting the right experience." he added.
See also: 4G launch will affect millions of TV sets.
Dyson explained that Three has been getting 'excellent feedback' from customers about its current 'Ultrafast' network so is in no hurry to move to 4G. Three presently runs a faster version of 3G called DC-HSDPA (Dual Carrier - High Speed Downlink Packet Access). It allows theoretical download speeds of up to 42Mbps. See also: 4G LTE rollout schedule in the UK.
Three's goal, according to Dyson, is to increase its brand awareness promoting the speeds available on its Ultrafast network. "Ultrafast will take time to build awareness of just as customers understanding of 4G will," he said.
Its Ultrafast network currently covers 55 percent of the UK's population and will reach 80 percent by the end of March. Three spent £225 million buying 800MHz 4G spectrum in the recent auction.
Although it seems Three customers will have to wait a bit longer for 4G, the good news is that the telecoms provider has already said it won't be charging extra for the service. See also: Three to offer free 4G LTE broadband.