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Three plays down 4G rollout as it adds 1m new customers

Three has suggested that it will not rush its 4G spectrum rollout, with the UK network provider revealing its 4G services will not be made available until the end of the year.

Making the announcement during the company’s annual earning’s call yesterday; Three has confirmed that, although it will hold off on bringing the 4G fight to EE, it has reached 9.1 million UK customers, up almost 1 million during the past 12 months.

Claiming a belief that its current 3G services would be enough to satisfy customers for some time to come, Three’s Chief Executive Dave Dyson has announced that the company will not rush to get its 4G coverage to market, instead taking its time to ensure it offers comprehensive coverage.

“We have the opportunity to move quite quickly with the 800Mhz spectrum that we acquired in the auction,” Dyson told Reuters reporters. He added: “Realistically, I think it’s going to be towards the end of the year before you see us launch (4G) LTE as a technology.”

Despite having seen a considerable rise in customers, a rise partnered with a 9 per cent revenue increase to a £1.95 billion annual revenue, Three still lags someway behind the 28 million customers boasted by EE, currently the UK’s only 4G network provider.

Although having acquired a section of the recently auctioned UK 4G spectrum, an auction that saw Vodafone and O2 also acquire considerable chunks, Three has suggested that it will hold off its 4G efforts as its 3G speeds are not a million miles away from 4G.

“Our network stacks up very well,” Dyson said. “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.”

Speaking more widely on the network’s upcoming 4G plans and recent activity, Dyson added: “In the past few months we have more than doubled our spectrum holdings and invested in upgrading our network with ultrafast technology.

“This investment in network capability and quality further strengthens our customer experience and our opportunity for continued growth.”

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