Customers will be allowed to upgrade for nothing
Mobile network Three plans to offer 4G at no extra charge to its users when it launches the service later in the year.
The company will add 4G to its 'ultrafast' network, which currently holds the operator's top-end 3G service. Customers with 'ultrafast ready' devices such as the iPhone 5 and Nokia Lumia 920 will then be able to upgrade to 4G at no extra charge.
This move is a direct contrast to rivals EE, who unveiled their 4G service months ahead of any other network but has been inundated with complaints about its pricing structure ever since.
The cheapest 4G offer available from EE, formed by a joint venture from Orange and T-Mobile, started at £36 per month with just 500MB of data. This has since been reduced to £31, but only for new customers.
Three chief executive David Dyson said: "We've listened to our customers and thought long and hard about the right way to do it. 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."
Will Three raise tariffs before launch?
While on the face of it the offer seems to have trumped EE, some analysts are suggesting this may not be the whole story.
It has been suggested that Three may well raise prices slightly across the board between now and its 4G launch to counteract any loss they would be likely to make from providing free 4G.
However, its decision could well influence the other two networks set to offer 4G to UK users, Vodafone and O2, which have yet to reveal any pricing plans for their users.
Kleon West, business development director at theEword, said: "This move will certainly shake up the 4G process, with Three really throwing down the gauntlet to its rivals. Of course, we don't know if it will put prices up before 4G arrives, so it remains to be seen exactly how this situation will pan out."