Tesco Mobile will be offering free 4G to new and existing contract and SIM-only customers from today, it has announced.
Customers using the 4G network have up until now paid a £2.50 surcharge but that will no longer be the case as the provider aims to make 4G available for all of its customers.
The high-speed service will be available to customers with 4G-ready handsets from as little as £7.50 a month with a SIM-only tariff, giving them 250 minutes of talk time, 5,000 texts and 500MB of data.
Tesco Mobile also confirmed it will be launching 4G data bundles for Pay As You Go customers in the coming weeks.
Simon Groves, chief marketing officer at Tesco Mobile, said: "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."
Rob Kerr, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com, said the Tesco offering is a good option for anyone wanting to try out 4G without having to commit to a long-term contract. However, he added: "It's more than likely you'll need to invest in a new 4G-enabled device to take advantage – and these start from around £170.
"Being an entry-level offer, the data allowance with the £7.50 monthly contract isn’t hugely generous. Anyone who takes advantage of premium-free 4G will have to keep an eye on how quickly they're racing towards their limit."
Three is currently the only other network to offer 4G without extra charge but at present it is only available to customers in London, Birmingham and Manchester – although all customers should be able to use it by March.