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Three and EE announce £1bn investment in joint 4G LTE rollout

Network operators Three and EE have agreed an investment of £1 billion to jointly speed up the rollout of their 4G LTE coverage.

This is actually an expansion of the two operators existing network sharing deal (Three originally began sharing with T-Mobile before the merger that created EE, and that agreement continued post-merger).

EE has already forged ahead with its 4G coverage, being the first network in the UK to get up and running, and aiming to have 98 per cent coverage of the country by the end of this year. Three is a smaller operation, although it still intends to have a similarly full UK coverage, albeit by the end of 2015 instead.

The move should speed the overall pace of the 4G rollout in the UK, and of course save the networks some money via the sharing of mast infrastructure, transmission costs and so forth.

As ISPreview notes, this £1 billion investment is apparently coming from existing 4G budgets, namely the £1.4 billion EE has earmarked for its superfast mobile rollout, and £500 million in the case of Three.

It’s all good news for consumers, of course, as anything that gets 4G out there faster has to be welcomed – particularly when it’s Three’s brand of 4G, which the network doesn’t charge a premium for (unlike EE).

Although that said, Three has come in for a bit of flak recently, when at the end of last month some of its One Plan prices got a hike – with some folks suggesting that this was just another way of charging for the 4G rollout, just without doing it directly.

Three was also under fire over a major network outage last week, as well.