Strugging Getting 4G on Three in UK - not sure whether the phone even supports it!

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Cattywampus_, Sep 25, 2014.

  1. Cattywampus_ macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2006

    I am very confused at the moment...

    I live in the UK and bought my iPhone 6 (Model A1586, Part Number MG472B/A), Unlocked, direct from the Apple UK website.

    My previous iPhone was a 5 which again I bought direct from Apple and was never able to get a 4G signal, even though the 'Enable 4G' checkbox was available and enabled.

    Re: the iPhone 5, I bought (again direct from the Apple UK website - again Unlocked) was one of the first batches; and I do recall knowing then that the iPhone 5 wouldn't work on UK 4G networks as the radios were not compatible with UK 4G frequencies. Anyone who could confirm or deny this, it would be greatly appreciated.

    So I bought my iPhone 6 from Apple thinking that it would cover all UK 4G frequencies and I would easily be able to connect using 4G (my network is Three). According to the Three coverage checker - my house is covered with 4G - suggesting it should work outside without problem but inside buildings may be an issue.

    So one of the first things I tried was going outside in the garden and trying to get it to connect to 4G. Unfortunately, it is just not happening. I have tried (while outside), disabling both the 'enable mobile data' and 'enable 4G' toggles and re-enabling them in various sequences, and while a couple of times the 4G icon does show up, it only shows for a couple of seconds and then reverts back to 3G.

    I have checked on the Three website and Wikipedia and it looks like Three use the 800mhz and 1800mhz frequencies for their 4G network.

    I then checked the Apple UK website to see what frequencies the iPhone 6 supports (see the attached image taken from the Apple UK website - as their were too many to list). As I said above... my iPhone model is the iPhone 6 16GB Space Grey - A1586.

    Can anyone tell me from the information I have provided whether my new iPhone 6 that I ordered unlocked assuming it would work on 4G?

    I would assume the model I have is:
    Model A1586 (GSM): UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz)

    Would I be right? If so, does the 1700/2100 entry mean all frequencies between 1700-2100mhz?

    FYI: Three do sell iPhone 6's themselves that work with 4G. So unless they're doing something special with the phones they sell on their contracts to make 4G work.. I don't understand how 4G wouldn't work on my unlocked phone.

    Anyway - I think I have given enough information for someone to confirm or deny whether I should be able to get a 4G signal and use it.

    Many thanks for any advice offered.

    Attached Files:

  2. hamzapatel103 macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2010

    The supported LTE bands are:

    FDD-LTE (Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29)

    TD-LTE (Bands 38, 39, 40, 41)

    The frequencies your'e quoting are for UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA, not LTE. A quick search on wikipedia shows what frequency each bands number represents:

    3 in UK uses 800MHz and 1800MHz, which is Band 20 & 3 respectively.

    So the phone should support Threes 4G. I suggest you try different areas such as a city centre as these maps are not accurate.
  3. sparkie1984 macrumors 68020

    Dec 20, 2009
    a small village near London
  4. modelbehaviour macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2007
    I have the same model number as you directly from the Apple Store and mine also works on Three's 4G fine. I only get it in the city centre though (the joys of living in the countryside!)
  5. kalebnate, Sep 26, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014

    kalebnate macrumors 6502

    Sep 11, 2014
    I'm on Three with a 5S and 4G is not consistent really.
    I mostly get 3G and sometimes get 4G while in London. Three sucks.
  6. GlideStar macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2014
    I just switched to Three on my iPhone 6 plus and I'm getting 4G in areas where its available.

    Also, even if you don't get a 4G signal in your area, their 3G is is extremely fast as they use a different technology to the other networks.

    I've been on the network a day and I'm seeing average 3g speeds of 13-15Mbs and I've seen up to 17mbs.

    The downside is there is no 2G network as a back up so if you're out in the sticks you may well lose signal.
  7. Robfire macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2013
    I've got a 5s on Three, I do get 4G now and again but it's really intermittent mate (I'm in Leeds by the way).

    I think they are still in the process of rolling it out propery ouside of London etc.

    Saying that even on 3G im getting ~20Mbps, and unlimited data so cant really complain too much...
  8. sparkie1984 macrumors 68020

    Dec 20, 2009
    a small village near London
    I think it's more of a case that Threes 4G network isn't the best
  9. cookiesnfooty macrumors 6502


    Jul 1, 2009
    i'm on Three in Harrogate and get 4G all the time. Something to note when I first got it I was just receiving 3G, manually switching the radio off and on a few times did resolve that for me.
  10. zoonyx macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2011
    Northern England
    Er... the iPhone 5 DOES support 4G Three. I know because I've had it!

    It'll be down to three I suspect. For example last time I checked Sheffield (closest 4G), 3's coverage was basically classed as 'the A57 viaduct just east of Crystal Peaks'.

    If you don't know Sheffield, hopefully that description gets the point across that the coverage is terribly limited still - nothing in the centre.

    The good news is while Three's 4G is bad, their 3G is often as fast as EE's 4G.


    That's why I moved to EE (well that and 40% discount).

    But in truth, the places where you can't get three 3G, on EE rarely get a usable signal anyway. Certainly not for data, and even 2G calls cut off etc. I'd rather be on three.
  11. palemonkey macrumors member

    Sep 26, 2013
    I'm with three and rarely get 4G at home which apparently is a 4G area. I don't think it's just you.

    My work phone is on EE and I get much better 4G coverage.
  12. kmpowell macrumors member

    Aug 16, 2003
    I'm on Three, my previous 5S and my current 6 (both bought unlocked directly from Apple) display and use 4G properly.

    To be honest though, since 4G was rolled out for all customers on Three, I've noticed the coverage and speed has been getting worse.
  13. modelbehaviour macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2007
    I've just changed to Three to coincide with getting my iPhone 6.

    So far I'm getting much better signal than I was with giffgaff, especially out in the sticks where I live. I can now get 3G on pretty much all of my train ride to work, with 4G in the city centre, whereas it was patchy before. And my phone calls actually get through now!
  14. Mercenary macrumors 65816


    Sep 17, 2012
    Three currently use the 1800mhz spectrum. Which gives faster speed but really poor building penetration. They own some 800mhz spectrum which will fix this but thats not rolled out yet.

    4g should work but coverage is still patchy. Would help if you gave us your area.
  15. NeshyD macrumors regular


    Apr 28, 2009
    San Francisco, CA
    I'm currently on Three with my iPhone 6. The 4G coverage is pretty spotty, but I'm able to get signal.

    I've turned off 4G as 3G is suffice for me.
  16. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    How old is your sim? I had to get a 4G sim as my old one would only do 3G. O2 checked it and swapped it for free? Could it be the same issue? Also does your contract support 4G? Worth checking that too.
  17. Mercenary macrumors 65816


    Sep 17, 2012
    No such problems on three. There is no such thing as a 4g sim. O2 have to change your account and the easiest way for them is to issue a new sim. On three they just blanket enabled everyone.

    Ring 333 from your phone to make sure they enabled your account.
  18. IBradMac macrumors 68000


    Jun 27, 2008
    The 6 seems to not get a great of service as my 4S.
  19. Ggvfvgbffbf macrumors member

    Sep 10, 2014
    Manchester, England
    I've got a 6 and am on 3 in NW England. I would say it's down to 3. I was in the Trafford Centre: no 4G. M60? No 4G. Prestwich (large Manchester suburb)? No 4G. Bury? No 4G. All of these areas are fully covered on the coverage checker.

    I was on the M65 (East Lancashire) as well recently where there's some coverage. Got a sporadic 4G signal. Ping and speed were no better than 3G and more often my phone would switch to 3G.

    Not quite sure what's going on with 3's 4G. Otherwise I'm very happy with them. Was in Skipton a few weeks back, (3G only), and got 22 down.
  20. Cattywampus_ thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2006
    Thanks for the replies guys. Glad to know that it will work. I contacted Three on their Facebook page and they basically said the same thing...Phone supports it but just a crappy signal. I replied saying that their coverage checker is all lies then.

    To be honest right now I'm not that fussed if I can't get on 4G. Yes it would be nice as it is one of their major selling points. If I signed up with Three purely to get 4G I would have been pissed. I was more bothered that my iPhone wasn't compatible with their 4G network full stop.

    Hopefully over the next few months things will improve. If not I will just switch carriers if.

    Thanks again guys.
  21. Hustler1337 macrumors 68000


    Dec 23, 2010
    London, UK
    The iPhone 6 does support Three's 4G network. I'm currently using it on my 6 Plus and previously had 4G from Three running on my iPhone 5S. It's not your phone that is the problem but the lack of 4G signal in your area. I think you should put in a complaint to Three about not getting the advertised signal in your area as per their signal coverage map. (Coverage maps are not very accurate anyways, but don't tell them you know that :p). You could potentially get a discount and could terminate your contract. Also, they do offer indoor signal boosters, but I think they are for calls and texts only. It is possible that they may be doing maintenance works in your area which is affecting the signal strength, so worth having a look.

    When their 4G does work, it's very good. Since 4G came to my area, I've been getting speeds on average of 30mbps+ down and ~20mbps up. Here's one I did just now:


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