Three UK Network and IT update

  • Three UK is investing £2 billion in transforming its Network and IT infrastructure
  • Three’s network grows to 1,250 5G sites in 193 towns and cities
  • 4G connectivity is boosted with the continuing rollout of 20MHz of 1400MHz spectrum, for up to 3 times faster download speeds.

10Gbps backhaul has been added to more than 3200 sites boosting experience for Three UK’s 4G and 5G customers. The £2 billion network investment continues with 5G sites hitting 1,250 and the addition of new 4G spectrum to our network.

The improvements are all part of Three UK’s ambition is to deliver better connectivity, every day for every customer.

5G progress

Three now has 1,250 5G sites in 193 towns and cities, including Brentwood, Chorley and Gateshead, as part of a 5-year programme to deliver the UK’s fastest 5G network.

This is up from 1,000 sites at the end of last year with hundreds more sites expected to come online before the end of 2021. More and more of Three’s mobile and home broadband customers will continue to see benefits from the largest 5G spectrum holding throughout the year as we continue to rollout.

Three’s 5G home broadband coverage is also growing with 1.6M households covered by our service, which is delivering superfast download speeds over wireless.

4G enhancements

The company’s 4G connectivity has also received a boost with the addition of 20MHz of 1400MHz spectrum added to 1500 sites in our portfolio, which will increase download speeds by up to 3 times.

The addition of the extra spectrum means that the capacity of its 4G network, on the sites where it has been deployed, has been doubled.

Approximately 4 million customers with a 1400MHz band capable device will benefit from the speed improvement when connecting to a site with the technology. Devices include iPhone 11 and 12 ranges, Google Pixel range and Samsung’s S8, S9, S9, S10 S20, S21 ranges; as well as the OnePlus and Oppo devices.

In addition to the capacity benefits the 1400MHz spectrum is great for improving both outdoor and indoor coverage. More sites will go live throughout 2021.

Transmission update

The business has upgraded 3,200 sites with 10Gbps transmission, a 20 fold increase in backhaul capacity, which will improve both 4G and 5G speeds.

Improved voice quality

The majority of voice traffic is now support on the 4G network with significant improvements in voice quality and clarity.

New deal to enhance rural coverage

As part of the first stage of the Shared Rural Network (SRN), we are building 74 new sites in partnership with O2 and Vodafone to deliver a total of 222 new mobile masts to boost rural coverage across the United Kingdom.

The construction of the new masts will commence in 2021 and is scheduled to be completed by 2024.

Data usage increases again

The network improvement is great news for data hungry customers. For the first time in the company’s history, the average data usage, per customer, per month has surpassed 17GB; driven by customers spending more time at home during the UK’s third lockdown in January 2021 and supported by Three’s £2bn network and IT transformation. Customer usage has grown in the last year with average data usage, per customer, per month, increasing by an astonishing 53%. Network demand peaked on 28 January due to streaming of the Tottenham vs Liverpool premier league match. In the last year, peak demand has increased by 37%

Susan Buttsworth, Chief Operating Officer at Three UK, said: “We have made solid progress at the start of 2021 and are meeting our goal to deliver better connectivity, every day, for every customer. Our 5G roll out has made excellent progress with 1250 sites across 193 towns and cities and we’ve made strong improvements to boost the 4G experience for our customers, which has never been more vital with virtual working and home schooling.”

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