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Three and EE strike 4G network sharing deal

by Mark Tyson on 3 February 2014, 13:45

Tags: Three (HKG:0013), Tesco (LON:TSCO), Everything Everywhere

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The FT reported on Sunday about a new network sharing deal between UK mobile operators Three and EE. Its sources say the two firms will invest a further £1 billion of funds in developing their 4G capabilities. Also in 4G news, late last week Tesco announced that it is offering 4G data to all its customers without any extra charge.

Three already shares some network infrastructure with T-Mobile which makes up half of the EE joint venture. Now the arrangement is being extended to 4G capability says the FT. EE, the largest mobile network in the UK and Three, the smallest, will work together to build the next part of their 4G networks together. From that it sounds like Three customers won't suddenly get access to all of EE's 4G coverage but will benefit in the future. While EE will be able to boast approximately 70 per cent UK population 4G coverage this month Three is looking at a goal of 50 cities before 2014 is out with 98 per cent population coverage by the end of 2015.

The FT notes that EE has already spent £1.4 billion on 4G investment and the two firms will spend £500 million each on this next stage. Three is offering 4G data as an upgrade for users at no extra cost but EE charges a premium for its faster service.

Tesco 4G fees abolished

Late last week Tesco joined Three in offering customers 4G connectivity without any premium. The supermarket previously charged a £2.50 premium on identical plans with 4G rather than 3G data bundles. That pricing differential ended on Thursday.

Tesco said that the service upgrade was "4G to fit your needs. Not ours." It said that customers need to "just choose a 4G-ready phone and select the 4G option," for no extra cost. Both mobile phone contract and SIM-only customers can upgrade to 4G. Existing customers should ring up if they want the 4G data.

A number of analysts speaking to CNet saw Tesco's move as the beginning of the end of networks charging extra for 4G. That prediction may cause concern for EE with its huge investments in infrastructure, as outlined above.

 



HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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Like the Three/EE tie up, or should that be “ThrEE”, as it can only be good news for coverage - that bane of the potential 4G user (which I'm not)

Thumbs up for Tesco (and Three of course since they did it first) for the “no surcharge” deal. However, I took a quick look at the plans available, and was less than impressed with the limits on offer. For example, I honestly cannot see the point of offering a high-speed 4G connection and shackling it with a 500MB limit. Surely if you've got that 4G speed you'll be wanting to use it for things for which 3G doesn't work - which means a higher appetite for data. Otherwise you're surely just using that 4G connection to do “3G” stuff but a bit quicker - knocking microseconds off of the time to load an email for example. :wallbash:

And if you do want that increased limit (to make use of that fancy pants 4G connection) then you end up paying a lot more, and having a load of “useless” minutes and text.

Edit: just took a look at Three and - as expected - they've got a good range of AYCE plans, the one for less than £13 looks pretty attractive.
crossy
just took a look at Three and - as expected - they've got a good range of AYCE plans, the one for less than £13 looks pretty attractive.

Brought my Note 2 at full wrack sim free price on launch and got a £12.90 per month (month by month contract) with Three, unlimited data and texts for £12.90, yes please. Over 24 months, will have saved me money and got all the data I ever needed.

Shame they are still the smallest operator, would have thought they would have grown past one of the other operators by now.
This still does not work to the consumers advantage. Super Fast speeds, with the price premium on data used. I have already pulled 20GB on my (wifi) with phone and tablet this past week through using cloud/streaming apps (Bingcast/Xbox Music/Youtube/Drive).
Also if you look at your data usage many apps that you don't use often suck up data.
crossy
Like the Three/EE tie up, or should that be “ThrEE”, as it can only be good news for coverage - that bane of the potential 4G user (which I'm not)

Thumbs up for Tesco (and Three of course since they did it first) for the “no surcharge” deal. However, I took a quick look at the plans available, and was less than impressed with the limits on offer. For example, I honestly cannot see the point of offering a high-speed 4G connection and shackling it with a 500MB limit. Surely if you've got that 4G speed you'll be wanting to use it for things for which 3G doesn't work - which means a higher appetite for data. Otherwise you're surely just using that 4G connection to do “3G” stuff but a bit quicker - knocking microseconds off of the time to load an email for example. :wallbash:

And if you do want that increased limit (to make use of that fancy pants 4G connection) then you end up paying a lot more, and having a load of “useless” minutes and text.

Edit: just took a look at Three and - as expected - they've got a good range of AYCE plans, the one for less than £13 looks pretty attractive.

I actually wouldn't mind a 500MB 4G package, if it was cheap enough. I find the internet painfully slow to browse, and app updating on the move is always a nightmare. Making that more snappy would be hugely appreciated, and I really can't imagine myself being interested in watching TV on the move any time soon so I'm not bothered about massive data allowances.
I moved to Three 2 weeks ago (from GiffGaff) as I don't have much signal at work on the O2 network and man am I happy for it.

I went from spending £12 a month of GiffGaff to £18 on Three (1 month rolling contract, terminate whenever) but getting 6mb+ down on 3G (H+) while in the office (full signal on GiffGaff never used to give me anything close to that) and free 4G when in London (50mb+) and with this deal then that coverage should get even better!

2000 Minutes
5000 3to3
5000 Texts
Unlimited Internet (including 4G and Tethering allowed!)
Free roaming in:

Australia
Austria
Denmark
Hong Kong
Italy
Indonesia
Macau
Republic of Ireland
Sri Lanka
Sweden
USA.

No 12/18/36/48 month contract? yes please!