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05 February 20130 Comments by Jon M

Unlimited 4G coming

three mobile 4gThree Mobile have stepped up to be the first mobile network to offer unlimited data on 4G. In contrast, EE was roundly criticised earlier this year when it launched the UK’s first superfast mobile internet service. This is because the largest data allowance on offer by EE at launch was only 8GB a month.

This may sound like quite a lot but people are finding that with powerful smartphones, you need a lot of data to make the most of them. If you watch a TV show or film on your commute to work, it will run through that 8GB rather quickly. In fact, you’ll only get just over 10 hours of video streaming out of your whole bundles – that’s just over 20 minutes a day! And that’s not including email, web browsing, music and all the other things you want to use internet on your phone for.

In fact, such a small allowance makes even less sense when you think about the reasons why you want 4G internet. The whole point of having superfast broadband on your phone is that it’s, well, superfast. With 4G internet, you could get through your 8GB limit on EE in as little as fifteen minutes leaving you no allowance for the rest of the month!

Even worse, EE decided to take full advantage of the monopoly granted to it by Ofcom and market 4G internet as a premium service that attracted a hefty price hike. The 8GB package from EE will set you back a whopping £56 every month.

In response to this criticism, EE quickly launched a new plan offering 20GB of data. However, they also decided to charge through the nose for it – the normal price is £76 a month! Yes, that’s not a typo. This tariff is currently on offer at £61/month instead but over the two year contract that makes a total of £1464! And that’s not including any overage charges you might be liable for.

So that’s why we commend the news from Three Mobile today. The price war will be well and truly under way when Three’s more usable 4G tariff comes out and at no extra cost to customers. Hopefully the other networks will quickly follow suit. Offering unlimited data on 4G is certainly throwing the ball back into EE’s court. And we hope it will be a real game changer to the market.

Three Mobile are due to turn on their 4G service later in 2013. They will use the 1800 Mhz spectrum band their bought from EE last year and all existing customers can use it at no extra charge once it becomes available.

Three are already in a good position as they have a strong reputation as one of the best value main mobile networks. They are also renowned for having the best data network in the country and some very attractive offers for people who need unlimited data on their phone. In fact, Three Mobile users account for far more than their fair share of mobile internet data usage in the UK because of their generous packages. They have been pioneers of the forward-thinking all-you-can-eat unlimited data price model and this news looks like they are pressing forward with this plan.

Did EE shoot themselves in the foot by launching a separate brand for 4G and preventing existing customers use it? Are their price plans really that miserly with data and overpriced? And which network do you think you’ll choose for 4G services?

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