Three is pressing ahead with plans for 5G after it reported a two per cent rise in revenue and six per cent increase in contract customers.
The CK-Hutchison-owned mobile operator generated £1.2 billion during the first half of 2018 while its lowest ever churn rate helped it reach 10.1 million active users. Average data per user increased yet again, this time by ten per cent to 7.7GB a month.
“I am pleased to report further progress in H1 2018, even as we re-build the business for the future,” said CEO Dave Dyson.
“Our financial performance was solid and builds on the strong foundations we reported at FY 17. I am proud of the continued improvements in customer experience and our lowest ever contract handset churn rate reflects a business that has a genuine focus on its customers.”
Three’s attention is turning towards 5G, which it says is a big opportunity for it to lead the UK market for the first time. In addition to securing 20MHz worth of 3.4GHz spectrum at the Ofcom auction earlier this year, it has significant assets in the same band through its acquisition of UK Broadband.
In preparation for 5G trials to be held later this year, Three has agreed a deal with SSE Enterprise Telecoms to provide fibre connectivity to sites and data centres and with Huawei for network equipment.
“Over the course of 2018, we will accelerate the rollout of our 5G network and the opportunity this brings to both our existing and prospective base of customers and partners,” continued Dyson. “. All the key components that are needed for a successful 5G service have been procured over the last few years and I am excited by the prospect of trialling 5G soon, working together with our new IT and Core network infrastructure.”
In an interview with TechRadar Pro earlier this year, Dyson suggested late 2020 would be the probable launch date for Three’s 5G service.
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