Three UK snares 1m new customers, but won't rush 4G LTE launch

Three UK snares 1m new customers, but won't rush 4G LTE launch
Three's 1m new subscribers will have to wait for 4G

Three Mobile says it is likely to wait until the end of 2013 before it starts rolling out 4G LTE services and will ignore the opportunity to "move quickly" on the next-gen mobile tech.

During Tuesday's earning's call, Three said it saw little reason to rush, while the speeds offered by its current "ultrafast" 3G service are not significantly below those on the fledgling 4GEE network.

Logistically, the company is able to roll-out 4G services on the 800MHz spectrum it acquired in the recent spectrum auction but, unlike rivals O2 and Vodafone, the Three seems happy to wait for the right moment.

CEO Dave Dyson told reporters: "Our network stacks up very well. 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.

"Realistically, I think it's going to be towards the end of the year before you see us launch (4G) LTE as a technology.

New customers and profits through the roof

It's little surprise that the company isn't willing to push the big red 4G panic button, considering the UK's smallest major mobile network announced the addition of a million new customers on Tuesday.

The annual slew of newcomers brings Three's customer base to 9.1 million, all of whom contributed to the company's £101m annual profit - only its second year in the black since Three began trading here in 2003.

Indeed, when the company eventually does decide to launch a 4G LTE service, it can expect to snare even more new subscribers.

Three earned a lot of goodwill back in February when it vowed not to jack up the prices for 4G tariffs, unlike Everything Everywhere's super-premium next-gen contract offerings.

Via Reuters

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.