Three Ireland will be launching a 4G Plus service next month, becoming the second operator in the country to do so.
Three’s claims its 4G Plus service will offer users theoretical download speeds of up to 225Mbps. To achieve such speeds, it is likely Three is using LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation technology having LTE-A category 6 enabled, which is typical of industry-wide 225Mbps LTE-A rollouts.
To supplement the increased 4G speeds on its network, Three is also offering inclusive 4G on all of its packages now, proclaiming it to be “free 4G for life”. In essence, what this means is all packages will come as 4G as standard, an upgrade on the basic 3G connectivity packages which has been the norm for years.
Three is coupling inclusive 4G with its now synonymous all-you-can-eat data bundles, effectively commoditising LTE data and driving down the average cost per MB. This trend is not unique to Ireland, after UK MVNO The People’s Operator earlier this week launched a 2GB 4G monthly package for just £6.99, far cheaper than its peers. Three’s disruptive pricing and bottomless data bucket approach could well spark a 4G data price war in a number of the markets in which it plays.
Speaking about the forthcoming launch of 4G Plus, Three Ireland’s Chief Commercial Officer Elaine Carey claimed it’s now providing the fastest mobile speeds available, ahead of rival MNO Vodafone which also operators an LTE-A network in the country.
“The availability of 4G Plus means that customers will now be able to experience the fastest speeds available on mobile with peak speeds of 225 Mbps,” she said. “4G Plus will be available to all customers with compatible handsets no matter what plan they are on.”
When EE launched 4G+ in the UK in 2014, it claimed users would benefit from theoretical maximum speeds of 150 Mbps, although achieving similar connectivity speeds in real-world scenarios, particularly in densely populated urban areas. Rudimentary speed tests run by Telecoms.com on a popular LTE-A operator in Central London showed download speeds of little over 14Mbps.