Three brings 5G to the catwalk and its flagship store

(Image credit: Three) (Image credit: Three)

Three is to use London Fashion Week to convey to consumers the benefits of 5G networks, with permanent installations at St Martins College and at its flagship retail store.

The operator has created the “world’s first” 5G Mixed Reality (MR) catwalk at the renowned fashion school and will let customers see a smaller version in-store from March. The Oxford Street branch will be able to claim to be the UK’s first 5G-enabled phone shop.

Aside from the virtual catwalk, Three has installed a design-focused 5G lab at the college, allowing students to experiment with cloud technology, IoT-connected devices, and Virtual and Augmented Realities (VR and AR) in the design process.

On the catwalk

“Today we are turning up the volume on 5G and bringing it to life for the first time in the UK, right here in the heart of the fashion world,” said Shadi Halliwell, chief marketing officer at Three. “This is the first glimpse of the future and as we progress our roll-out throughout the next year we will see how it will affect and change everyday life for all our customers.”

Three plans to launch its commercial 5G service in 2019, but this exercise will hope to offer an idea of the potential of next generation networks. 5G will allow for ultrafast speeds, greater capacity, and ultra-low latency – characteristics that lend themselves well to immersive experiences.

Vodafone thought the same when it held the UK’s first 5G holographic phone call with Manchester City and England Women’s footballer Steph Houghton last year. Vodafone also plans to launch in 2019, as does EE, while O2 is holding trials of the technology.

Three is currently the UK’s smallest mobile operator but believes its spectrum holdings will allow it to lead the market for the first time with 5G.  Its rollout will be the product of a £2 billion 5G investment programme including new equipment, spectrum, IT upgrades and the creation of a new virtual core network.

In addition to mobile services, it is also pushing the idea of 5G-supported Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband as a genuine alternative to a fixed network.

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.