Three scraps roaming charges in the US

UK operator Three is to stop charging its customers extra for using their mobile phones in the US, as part of a bid to end roaming fees in other countries across the world.

The move, as part of the company’s “feel at home” strategy, is an attempt by the UK mobile group to innovate its tariffs and mobile offers, with Three aiming to offer free 4G services in the UK next year.

Owned by Hong Kong’s Hutchison Whampoa, Three said it would introduce 4G mobile broadband to 50 cities in the UK by the end of 2014, and cover most of the country by 2015.

Its CEO Dave Dyson said Three had been affected by rival 4G launches from companies including EE, but there was still not a sufficient demand for 4G services to warrant a bigger investment.

“As and when 4G services take off, we will be in position not to miss the boat,” he said. “Being first is not the most important thing.”

Three claims to have the largest 3G coverage in the UK, and will accelerate its effort to roll out 4G in January. The company predicts it will have as many 4G customers as EE within a few months of its launch next year.

It will also extend its “feel at home” project to 10 countries that Hutchison Whampoa operates in, where it will scrap roaming fees for customers using data, text and call services.