4G access will not cost more for Three customers

Woman on phone Three will be able to offer 4G data services later this year.

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Mobile phone provider Three says it will not charge customers extra to upgrade to the 4G data service.

Three is due to get access to the fast data network later this year.

Provider EE was the first company in the UK to be able to offer customers access to 4G and received complaints about its pricing structures.

Existing customers were asked to pay an extra £5 for the same amount of data they were entitled to with their 3G contracts.

Last month the firm cut its entry price from £36 to £31 but the reduced cost was only available for new customers.

Three says any customer with an "ultrafast-ready" smartphone, which includes Apple's iPhone 5, Nokia's Lumia 920 and the Sony Xperia Z, will qualify.

"As we add the next wave of technology to our ultrafast network, we've listened to our customers and thought long and hard about the right way to do it," said Three chief executive Dave Dyson.

"We don't want to limit ultrafast services to a select few based on a premium price and we've decided our customers will get this service as standard."

Ernest Doku, from price comparison website uSwitch.com, said the move "flew in the face" of the current pricing strategy for 4G in the UK.

"Three's move could really force the other networks to reconsider how they price their own forthcoming 4G deals," he said.

"That being said, there's nothing stopping Three from putting tariff prices up across the board ahead of a 4G rollout, so it's still a waiting game before we find out the true cost of super-fast mobile data in the UK."

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