It appears that the rollout of 4G from Three across the UK has finally begun in earnest, but in the way we’ve now come to expect from Three, there’s very little noise being made about it. The 4G coverage map on the Three website is showing an indoor 4G connection as far north as Blackpool, yet the last time 4G was mentioned on the Three blog was in a post dated 4th December 2013 explaining that the rollout was just getting started.
So what is happening with 4G from Three?
It seems that Three is currently in the process of enabling 4G for all their customers, whether they live in a 4G area or not. For some devices this involves a software update which customers should receive during March 2014 if not before. It is possible that Three is sending out updates on different dates for different devices, but that is purely speculation. Once customers have installed the software update, Three will automatically enable 4G so they can access super-fast mobile internet when they move into a 4G area.
The stealth rollout has certainly begun in London, with customers all over the capital reporting 4G connectivity. 4G from Three also reached Manchester at the beginning of February. Birmingham is said to have good coverage, and 4G can also be accessed by Three customers in Coventry. Some users are reporting having coverage even though the coverage map suggests otherwise, while others have contacted Three to see when they can expect 4G only to be told it’s still limited to a few accounts in London.
The full list of cities that should have 4G from Three by the end of the year is Aberdeen, Birmingham, Blackpool, Bolton, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Dundee, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Gloucester, Huddersfield, Ipswich, Kingston Upon Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Luton, Manchester, 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 Signs Deals with EE and Virgin Media Business
One thing that Three certainly has been busy with recently is negotiating deals to secure the future of its 4G network. We recently wrote about a network sharing deal between Three and EE, and just days later Three signed another deal with Virgin Media Business. It is thought that Virgin will be upgrading Three’s backhaul services through its fibre optic network, providing a better connection between Three’s core data centres and aggregation sites, and the Three and EE shared network.
According to Bryn Jones, Chief Technical Officer at Three, “With the new high-capacity backhaul network from Virgin Media Business we are ready to welcome even more people to the Three family. Regardless of where they are, now all of our customers will receive the best possible experiences when using 4G.”
While we’re busy trying to second guess what stage the Three 4G rollout has reached, the best people to tell us are likely to be Three’s customers. Let us know via the comments box whether you have received your software update yet, where in the country you are, and whether you can access 4G?