Three to launch 5G in August… Well Sort Of

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Three has announced it will launch its 5G network in August, but it will only be available in London as a home broadband service.

Three 5G home broadband customers will be able to plug a hub into the wall to immediately become connected, without lengthy engineer wait times or a long-term contract.

Due to the fact that Three has more than twice as much 5G spectrum as its closest competitor, the company is claiming that claiming it will be the fastest in the UK, delivering significantly faster speeds for its customers.

Three holds spectrum in the 140MHz block, including access to a 100MHz contiguous black that can potential provide faster 5G speeds. Other operators hold 40MHz and 50MHz blocks – including the already-launched EE network, plus Vodafone’s that will launch in July.

The company also boasts that it is the only operator that can offer a “true” 5G experience, as set out by the global standards body on 5G technology, the ITU. This requires 80-100 MHz of contiguous spectrum in prime 5G mid-bands (eg 3.5 GHz).

The company plans to roll out both mobile and home broadband offerings in 25 towns and cities across the UK “before the end of the year”.

The locations to be switched-on in the first batch are Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Sunderland and Wolverhampton.

As well as spectrum, Three has been investing in high-capacity smart antennas, in order meet the anticipated future demand for data.

“It’s clear that consumes and businesses want more and more data,” said Dave Dyson, chief executive of Three.

“We have the UK’s best network for data and we have led the market on customer usage on both 3G and 4G technologies. We have worked hard over a long period of time to be able to offer the best end to end 5G experience. 5G is a game changer for Three, and of course I am excited that we will be the only operator in the UK who can offer true 5G.”

Over the next three years, Three’s 5G rollout will continue to ramp up to cover 80% of its network traffic.

The network investment programme also includes upgrades within Three’s 4G network, expected to deliver up to 400% improvements in speed and capacity. This will be achieved through deploying more 4G spectrum, converting 3G spectrum to 4G and using advanced antenna technology.

Customers wishing to use 5G at launch will need to be in a 5G area and have access to either a 5G smartphone or home broadband device.

Three will be announcing more details around handset range and pricing in July.

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