Three says it now has the best 5G coverage of any UK mobile operator, covering 54% of the UK population.
EE has long been the 5G frontrunner in the UK, with its service launching first in 2019, while Three was the last major operator to go live its next generation network. Earlier this month, EE said its 5G infrastructure covered 50% of the population as part of a rollout that will see 90% of the UK landmass covered by 2028.
Three says its 5G service is now available at more than 400 locations and 3,000 sites, with coverage expanding thanks to a £3 billion investment programme that is also upgrading its existing 4G infrastructure.
Accordingly, millions of customers can receive speeds that are 150% faster, with more set to benefit over the next two years.
Data consumption has risen by 15% over the past year, reaching almost 20GB per month, while usage on its 5G fixed wireless access (FWA) home broadband network has now reached 354GB a month.
“We are relentlessly focussed on delivering the UK’s biggest and fastest 5G network for the UK,” said David Hennessy, Chief Technology Officer, Three UK. “Millions of mobile, business and home broadband customers across more than half the UK’s population are able to access our superfast speeds enabling them to live their digital lives to the fullest.”
Three will switch off its eponymous 3G network by the end of 2024 in order to free up spectrum and engineering resources that can be reallocated to 4G and 5G.
Rival EE has been working to enhance its 5G network through the use of new spectrum that enhances speed and improves indoor coverage, carrier aggregation technologies, and the migration to a cloud-based core network that will enable 5G Standalone (5G SA) services by 2023. It is also working on converged services that combine 5G and fibre infrastructure.
The government wants 5G to be available to most of the UK population by the end of 2030.
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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.