Google Nexus 4 headed to Three as hidden 4G is unlocked

Google's Nexus 4 is coming to numerical network Three, while tinkerers have unlocked the phone's 4G capability... in Canada.

Luke Westaway Senior editor
Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.
Luke Westaway
2 min read

Numerical network Three has confirmed it will be flogging the desirable Google Nexus 4 in December, though some will find the price unpalatable.

Three will start selling the 4.7-inch mobile from 13 December, charging customers £35 per month with an upfront cost of £29 to get their mitts on the quad-core gadget on the operator's The One Plan.

Pay As You Go is available too, but you'll need to fork out £400 plus a top up. Both options are way more expensive than Google's own price for the Nexus 4 -- the search giant is flogging its latest smart phone for just £239 -- a staggering bargain for a mobile that's more powerful than the Samsung Galaxy S3 and comes running the very latest version of Android.

That said, Google is doing a terrible job of actually keeping the Nexus 4 in stock. The phone has been unavailable to buy from Google since 30 minutes after it went on sale last week, so customers may be left with no option other than going with a network's lengthy contract. The Nexus 4 is already available from O2 at a similarly nose-wrinkling price, and can be found on eBay at way over Google's asking price. 

Meanwhile it turns out the Nexus 4's dormant 4G capability can be awakened after all -- but it's not much use in the UK.

Yesterday we brought you news that the Nexus 4 contained an LTE chip, but that the hidden component was deactivated. Since then eager tinkerers have produced a video showing 4G activated on the phone, while TechCrunch explains exactly how to switch the Nexus 4 into LTE-capable mode.

When my colleague Rich spoke to Google it was puzzled as to how this had been managed, as the Nexus has a 4G chip, but no 4G radio.

Even with these software tweaks in place, the Nexus 4 only supports 4G on the 1,700 and 2,100MHz bands. That's good news if you live in Canada, but not such great news for the UK, where EE uses the 1,800MHz band and other networks will later be firing up 4G networks on the 800 and 2,600MHz bits of spectrum.

So close, and yet, so far. Console yourself with the fact that 4G coverage is still extremely patchy in the UK anyway, and that the Nexus 4 -- if you managed to grab one from Google -- is still the best value smart phone money can buy.

Are you happy with the Nexus 4? Are you trying to buy one from Google but frustrated by the lack of stock? Blow off some steam in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

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