Tesco today announced it will no longer charge £2.50 extra per month to allow its customers to use 4G on its pay-monthly tariffs. 

The charge was originally an opt-in/opt-out setting, meaning users could choose to toggle the 4G service as and when, but it seemed like an unnecessary waste of time, as well as money, so it’s great to see Tesco is now thinking the same as Three, which is also charging no extra for 4G when it properly launches.

And I’d go as far as saying that I wish every operator had the same view of 4G.

While LTE is a new technology that offers many benefits to the network operators (in terms of managing demand), which in turn offers new benefits to customers (lower latency times and faster upload speeds being key improvements), for most people it’s not something that’s worth the extra cost.

How about charging nothing extra for 4G, and just letting me decide to subscribe to Spotify or Sky Sports if I want?

Of course, operators want more money from subscribers and to justify the extra cost, many have opted to throw in subscription services for ‘free’.

But, how about charging nothing extra for 4G, and just letting me decide to subscribe to Spotify or Sky Sports if I want?

A good 3G service, using DC-HSPA for example, can easily surpass the needs of most customers – especially those not sharing their data connection with a computer (when allowed) where the higher speeds can be better appreciated and used.

For mobile broadband, 4G is awesome – but does anyone need 50 megabits or more on their smartphone?

On a PC, you might be syncing data with Dropbox, SkyDrive, or whatever cloud based service you prefer to use, and high speeds in each directions are vital. For many 4G outperforms fixed broadband, although data allowances are perhaps still too limited for many, or too expensive. 

As sites are upgraded for 4G, the same places will also get a 3G upgrade (bringing DC-HSPA support and speeds of up to 43.2Mbps)

On a phone, a lot of data (like the YouTube videos that operators are so keen to use to demonstrate how good 4G is, as if you couldn’t access it before) is streamed. You don’t need 30, 40 or 50 megabits to stream video well, you simply need less latency and a good 3G service will offer that just as well.

As it happens, as sites are upgraded for 4G, the same places will also get a 3G upgrade (bringing DC-HSPA support and speeds of up to 43Mbps) too. So, even those who don’t pay to get 4G will be seeing significant speed improvements too.

4G is also far from achieving its full potential, as sites are kept on lower power levels to ensure nobody will have 4G only (thus being unable to make or receive calls before Voice over LTE arrives in the second half of 2014), and even faster speeds are still on the horizon, bar EE’s testing in central London of LTE-Advanced.

There’s a long way to go before we speeds of 300 megabits or more, but even then, I can’t see it being possible to ask people to pay a premium for it. There’s already a way to make more revenue, and that comes from having data caps and charging more to the heaviest users.

Ironically, Tesco has now beaten Three to offer 4G at no extra cost (as Three is still in the process of activating customers to use it’s ‘launched’ network)

The word is that even Three will be introducing a cap on users that take advantage of tethering.

Ironically, Tesco has now beaten Three to offer 4G at no extra cost (as Three is still in the process of activating customers to use it’s ‘launched’ network) but what about the rest?

O2 is offering 4G for no extra cost on some (higher) tariffs, but what about Vodafone and EE?

And when will EE just bite the bullet and give those on legacy Orange and T-Mobile contracts access to 4G? Then let’s have 4G offered for free to the virtual operators.

We all know it’s going to happen. Have no doubt about that, but let’s make it sooner rather than later, please?

Until then, it seems that if you don’t want to pay a premium for 4G then you know the two networks to go to…

Press Release

“From 30th January, we will be making 4G free for new and existing customers.

As the first MVNO to introduce 4G, Tesco Mobile is now offering more customers the opportunity to benefit from quicker speeds and larger data allowances, by providing 4G at no extra cost on all Pay Monthly and SIM Only contracts.

The deal is the latest move in Tesco Mobile’s ambition to make 4G easily accessible for all its customers.

Customers can choose to use 4G and pay from as little as £7.50 a month with a SIM Only tariff that gives 250 minutes, 5,000 texts and 500MB data, with no long term contract commitment.

Over the coming weeks, in addition to free 4G, the network will be:
•    Launching 4G data bundles for Pay as you go customers
•    Enhancing its range of 4G enabled devices, launching handsets such as the Sony Z1 compact and Moto X to offer a wider variety of high-spec phones on affordable 4G tariffs

Simon Groves, Chief Marketing Officer of Tesco Mobile says:

“After giving customers the chance to try 4G at their own pace with our flexible 4G tariffs, we’ve seen people really benefit from what it has to offer.

“Customers should be able to expect more from their mobile network, so as we see demand for 4G become more widespread, we wanted to take a different approach.

“Introducing free 4G is a clear example of our intention to provide all of our customers with the very best at no extra cost.

“As a network we hope that this move will challenge others in the market and encourage the industry to follow suit. We want to see 4G with no extra cost become the norm and networks making the very latest technologies accessible for all.”

The current £2.50 4G premium will be lifted on 30th January 2014. Existing customers will receive a credit on their monthly statements.” – Tesco Mobile, 30 Jan 2014

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Written by Jonathan Morris

Writing about technology, with a focus on mobile, since the early 1990s! Former editor of What Mobile magazine, writer for The Telegraph, Stuff, Know Your Mobile, Pocket Gamer, Smart TV Radar and more. Regular Tweeter, occasional YouTuber, keen amateur photographer and forum moderator. If you like what I write, please consider deactivating your ad blocker or making a donation via PayPal to help fund this site.

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