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4th Sep 2017


Three plans to invest hundreds-of-millions in its 5G future

Of the four major operators in the UK, Three is the smallest network with only 11% of the total market share (9.2m customers), however, its spectrum is vast. Whilst I’ve been at Tardis, Three has been a great network to collaborate with and it has been my view that Three will become the biggest force when 5G arrives in 2020. Why? Did you know that Three carries 35% of UK data, alone!?

As reported by a national newspaper, Three is set to begin a multi-billion pound overhaul of its network in order to prepare for the launch of 5G – an investment which is likely to see Three lead the pack in 5G availability when it arrives and make the network faster and more reliable.

Rising data demands…

This is a concern for every network because the way we use our devices is changing, rapidly. To put it in perspective, each mast tower can handle X amount of connected devices but when 5G is in place, that number is magnified 100 times, easily as 5G uses MIMO (remember from my previous Vodafone article?).

Three has been poised to shake up the mobile industry for a while and once it acquired Relish, a small broadband company, this has given Three a little more spectrum which could see it roll-out 5G-ready fixed wireless broadband in major cities. That would mean super-fast home broadband over Three’s mobile network – no landline required!

Let’s not forget Three had its takeover of O2 blocked by Ofcom and the European Commission not too long ago so it shouldn’t be a surprise that investment is a high priority. There’s every chance that this could make Three a big bidder at the upcoming 5G auction (which I expect) – very little restriction on how much of the auctioned spectrum it can purchase meaning Vodafone and EE will be watching closely.