Three UK Committed to Invest Over £2bn into 5G

  • Well positioned to bring market leading 5G to customers in 2019
  • 5G will mean better services for consumers and business and for the first time, wireless home broadband will be a genuine alternative to fixed line fibre services
  • Committed spend to date covers the acquisition of the UK’s leading 5G spectrum position, new 5G radio equipment and cell site upgrades, high-capacity dark fibre network, the world’s first end-to-end cloud-based core network, and new digital systems that will enhance user experience
  • The improvements will deliver a faster, more reliable mobile phone service and wireless home broadband for customers

7 November 2018: Three UK has completed a number of key steps in its network improvement programme, as part of a wider £2bn+ infrastructure investment, in preparation for the advent of 5G.

5G technology will provide the capacity to meet the anticipated future demand for data, with UK consumers expected to be using 13 times more mobile data in 2025 than today*. Three’s customers are particularly data-hungry, already using 3.5x more data per month than the industry average.

As part of its network upgrade the telecoms operator has:

  • Acquired the UK’s leading 5G spectrum portfolio
  • 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 enhance the 4G experience
  • Built a super high-capacity dark fibre network, which connects 20 new, energy efficient and highly secure data centres
  • Deployed 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 scale further, cost effectively and quickly.
  • Rolled out carrier aggregation technology on 2,500 sites in busiest areas, improving speeds for customers

Thanks to these developments, Three will deliver a faster, more reliable mobile phone service to its customers and is best placed to provide a market-leading 5G service due to its substantial 5G spectrum portfolio.  The first commercial quantities of 5G smartphone and home broadband devices are expected to be available by H2 2019.

Three fully supports the government’s ambition to roll out 5G as quickly as possible and is working with DCMS to break down the barriers hampering an accelerated rollout, such as current planning legislation for mobile sites and access to public sites.

Chief executive officer at Three, Dave Dyson, 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.”


Notes to Editors

Media Contacts:
Three UK Press Office
Tel: + 44 7454 959 715

Notes to editors

Events in support of 5G delivery:

January 2017: Agreement with IBM Services, Tech Mahindra and TCS for IT system upgrade
February 2017: Virtualisation of core network with Nokia
June 2017: Acquisition of UKBroadband and its 5G spectrum holdings for £300m
April 2018: Acquisition of 20Mhz of 5G spectrum at auction for £160m
May 2018: Agreement with SSE Enterprise Telecoms to connect fibre to data centres
July 2018: Agreement with Huawei for network equipment


About Three UK

Three is a communications company focused on connecting people to people, people to things and things to things.

Today, Three has more than 10 million customers who use over 3.5 times more mobile data than the industry average. Our network covers over 99% of the UK population.

Three has the UK’s leading 5G spectrum portfolio holding more than the rest of the industry combined. Three is the only operator able to meet the IMT 2020 standard for full 5G services.

Three was voted the Best Network for Data at the Mobile Choice Consumer Awards, as well as Best Network for Roaming by uSwitch, and the Best High Street Retailer at the Mobile Industry Awards. We have a Net Promoter Score of +13, the best of any UK network, alongside +18 score for Employee Net Promoter Score, reflecting a high level of employee engagement.

Three UK is part of the CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd group of companies which has mobile operations in 11 countries. We employ more than 4,000 people across our offices in Maidenhead, Glasgow and Reading and our 300 retail stores

For more information visit

Get newsletter alerts

Add your email address to stay up to date with the Three Media Centre.