SSE Enterprise Telecoms is helping Three upgrade is backend infrastructure to boost its existing network and eventually support the rollout of 5G services.
The first phase of the partnership is already underway and will see SSE bring fibre connections to Three’s 20 core UK data centres.
Three has 10 million UK customers, adding 900,000 in the past 12 months, with its users consuming an average of 6.8GB per month. This is significantly more than users on other networks, with Three often boasting about the data-centric nature of its infrastructure.
The operator has sought to densify its network with small cells and boost indoor coverage with Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi), Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and low range 800MHz spectrum. However, all these fronthaul technologies need to connect to the network, which is where SSE comes in.
“Our customers use up to 3.5 times more data than the rest of the UK, a demand which is only going to increase as we move towards a 5G world,” said Bryn Jones, Chief Technology Officer at Three UK. “The decision to select SSE Enterprise Telecoms to assist us on this journey was straightforward. Their knowledge and ambitions for UK connectivity were clear and made them the natural choice.”
SSE Enterprise Telecoms operates a 14,000km fibre network across the UK, providing connectivity to businesses and communications providers. It also makes use of CityFibre’s national fibre network to serve customers. The deal with Three plays into its own plans to bring more “strategically placed” data centres onto its infrastructure.
“Our continued investment has made us the go-to network provider to help UK businesses unlock their growth potential,” said Colin Sempill, Managing Director of SSE Enterprise Telecoms.
“As a connectivity provider, we understand how integral network infrastructure is to allow technologies like 5G to reach their vast potential. We’re excited at the opportunity to assist Three UK in its journey to bring unrivalled experiences to its customers while offering new connection options to our own.”
The first commercial 5G networks are expected to arrive in the UK in 2020, with all four major operators securing 3.4GHz spectrum that will power the first tranche of services at the Ofcom auction earlier this year.
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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.