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Subscribers will get 4G at no extra charge, as carrier promises no price hike

The UK LTE market just got a whole lot more interesting tonight, as Three UK has announced that it'll bring 4G LTE service to its existing customers at no extra charge. The network, which plans to roll out 4G on newly-acquired 1800MHz spectrum later this year, says its subscribers will get the LTE upgrade as standard, assuming they're using a compatible handset.

Currently EE is the only network offering 4G services in the UK, and due to its effective monopoly the carrier is able to charge much more than its competitors. Today's announcement heralds the arrival of unlimited LTE -- something not offered by EE -- for as little as £12 (~$19) per month on a rolling one-month contract.

The news may give prospective EE customers pause, as that carrier's contracts all run for at least 12 months, and there's no unlimited option available. If Three can pull off its promised 4G launch without any price hike, EE -- and rivals planning LTE networks of their own -- may be forced to reexamine their pricing.

Three didn't give any exact timeline as to when in 2013 it'll launch LTE, but the terms of its 1800MHz purchase from EE require the latter to hand over the spectrum by September at the latest. In the meantime, all the major UK mobile networks are competing for 800MHz and 2600MHz airwaves in the long-delayed 4G spectrum auction.

Source: Three UK