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Three to offer 5G at same cost as 4G with no speed caps

Jasper Hart
July 26, 2019

Operator is offering the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G from today

Three will offer 5G to its customers with no speed caps and at no extra cost across its contract, SIM-only, and pay-as-you-go mobile plans, making them cost the same as 4G.

The operator is also offering unlimited data plans, which it views as crucial given its claim to be the only UK operator to offer ‘true 5G’ through its holding of 100MHz of contiguous spectrum.

Three will be rolling out 5G to 25 cities across the UK by the end of 2019.

Three is also the first in the UK along with Sky Mobile and Carphone Warehouse to offer the Huawei Mate 20 X 5G from today (July 26), with plans to stock the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G “within the coming month”. The device’s release had been delayed earlier in the year due to the Huawei security controversy.

It will also be offering an unlimited 5G SIM-only plan from £22. uSwitch mobiles expert Ernest Doku said: “Three’s offer of an unlimited data SIM-only deal starting from £22 a month is excellent value, but consumers will need to factor in the cost of buying a 5G-ready handset.”

Three CEO Dave Dyson said of the news: “Three is leading the way with 5G, by providing our customers with unlimited data and the fastest speeds. Our customers will be able to enjoy and explore a full 5G experience, at the same cost as 4G.

“The forthcoming months are going to be game-changing and with our unrestricted plans, we are looking forward to unleashing the full potential of 5G to all.”

Commenting on Three’s announcement, CCS Insight director of consumer and connectivity Kester Mann viewed it as somewhat reactive to Vodafone’s announcement of unlimited data plans.

He said: “Three’s hand was likely forced to some extent by Vodafone’s initial disruptive and unexpected pricing strategy for 5G. But its enviable spectrum holding places it in a commanding position to undercut any rival.

“More than for any other UK operator, 5G is crucial to Three. It represents an opportunity to reinvigorate the brand, overcome a negative network perception, achieve the scale it as long-for craved and push into other segments such as convergence and enterprise,” he added.

Mann also noted the concerns about operators getting a return on investment for 5G, given the cost of implementing it.

“The attractive pricing trend for 5G is a boon for consumers, but it is looking increasingly challenging for operators to make a significant return on the huge investment required. This is worrying for an industry seeking new opportunities to reinvigorate the top line,” he said.

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