Three UK to spend more than £2bn on preparing for 5G
Written by: Sam Fenwick | Published:
Dave Dyson, Three UK’s CEO

Three UK has completed a number of steps in its network improvement programme, as part of a wider programme valued at more than £2 billion to prepare for 5G.

As part of this network upgrade programme, the company has:

  • Bought the rights to 20MHz of 3.4GHz spectrum for £151.3 million in April
  • Signed an agreement for the rollout of new cell site technology to prepare major urban areas for the rollout of 5G devices, as well as to enhance the 4G experience
  • Built a ‘super high-capacity’ dark fibre network, which connects 20 new data centres
  • Deployed what the company claims is a ‘world-first’ – a 5G-ready, fully integrated cloud native core network in the new data centres, which at launch will have an initial capacity of 1.2TB/s, a three-fold increase from today’s capacity, and can be scaled up further, quickly and cost effectively

There’s also Three’s new 4G+ (LTE Advanced) service, which was officially launched on 1 November, and involved upgrading more than 2,700 sites. The company claims that this has improved its average data speeds by 15-30 per cent and that roughly 50 per cent of the devices on its network support 4G+. It adds that the upgrades will still benefit those using devices that don’t support 4G+, because they will

The upgrade work was focused on sites in cities with high data demand, including London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Three stated that the first commercial quantities of 5G smartphone and home broadband devices are expected to be available by H2 2019.

Dave Dyson, Three UK’s chief executive officer, said: “We have always led on mobile data and 5G is another game-changer. Also described as wireless fibre, 5G delivers a huge increase in capacity together with ultra-low latency. It opens up new possibilities in home broadband and industrial applications, as well as being able to support the rapid growth in mobile data usage.

“This is a major investment into the UK’s digital infrastructure. UK consumers have an insatiable appetite for data and 5G unlocks significant capability to meet that demand.

“We have been planning our approach to 5G for many years and we are well positioned to lead on this next generation of technology. These investments are the latest in a series of important building blocks to deliver the best end to end data experience for our customers.”

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