Three is a little different from the other major UK networks, because all of its contracts come with 4G coverage as standard. EE, O2 and Vodafone have dedicated LTE plans, allowing us to easily gauge the interest in its ultra-fast offerings, but for Three, where any customer can fall into a patch of 4G, it's trickier to quantify. The company has been quiet up until now, but today it's finally shared some figures: since switching on its 4G network a year ago, 3.1 million customers have benefited from the faster speeds. That means over a third of Three's 8 million subscribers have wandered into an area supported by its 4G network, which now covers 48 percent of the UK population. If you're keeping score, EE is out in front with 6 million 4G subscribers, followed by O2 with 3 million and Vodafone with 1.4 million. Although Three's numbers aren't directly comparable, they're still a useful yardstick.
BT is currently in the hunt for a mobile network of its own and is reportedly talking with O2 and EE. Meanwhile, Hutchison Whampoa, the owner of Three, is also thought to be considering a bid for one of the two networks. It's not a stretch, therefore, to see these numbers as a show of strength on Three's part. If any of the deals go through over Christmas, all of these figures could take on new meanings as we head into 2015.