Three boosts 4G network with 1400MHz L-band spectrum

(Image credit: Three UK)

Three has started rolling out L-band spectrum across its infrastructure in a move that will improve the performance of its 4G network.

The frequencies, acquired from Qualcomm in 2015, will be deployed at 6,000 of Three’s busiest sites, which charry 80 per cent of the traffic sent over its network.

Those with a compatible handset will see performance improve by 150 per cent, while those without will still see a bump of 50 per cent.

Three L-band spectrum

The rollout will take place over the next four years and will run simultaneously with its 5G rollout. Three currently offers fixed wireless access (FWA) broadband in central London, and will launch mobile data services later this year.

The average data consumption per user on Three has risen above 10GB a month for the first time, meaning the operator can ill-afford to ignore its 4G customer. Many of the 5G enhancements – such as the migration to a cloud-based core network – will benefit 4G users too, but new spectrum will help bridge the gap.

In addition to deploying new spectrum, Three is reframing 3G spectrum. Nearly 12,500 sites will benefit from this process.

“While we are investing heavily in 5G, 4G is still very important for our mobile and home broadband services,” said Three CEO David Dyson. “These upgrades will ensure our data hungry customers are getting the best possible 4G experience as 5G rolls out.”

Three has been very vocal about its spectrum holdings, claiming its 100MHz of contiguous 3.4GHz spectrum will mean it is the only UK operator capable of providing “true 5G.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.