Three invests £100m to boost 4G and 5G network in 250 towns and cities

(Image credit: Three)

Three is partnering with SEE Enterprise Telecoms on a £100 million infrastructure investment programme that will boost the mobile operator’s 4G and 4G services.

No details about specific upgrades have been disclosed other than that the network will increase capacity and reliability across 250 towns and cities across the UK.

SSE has been a key partner for Three in its 5G rollout, connecting Three’s 20 core UK data centres to fibre and unbundling BT exchanges to boost backhaul (the connection between a site and the core network).

Three backhaul

Fully unbundled lines allow service providers to use their own equipment at telephone exchanges, giving them greater control over the connection. This means SSE has greater flexibility in how it connects Three’s sites to the wider network.

An expansion of this programme will see SSE unbundle a further 450 exchanges, extending SSE’s fibre footprint from 20,000 km to 30,000 by the middle of 2021. This will allow for further enhancements in Three’s mobile service in the future.

Three uses a combination of suppliers, including BT, SSE Enterprise Telecoms and Virgin Media and began working with CityFibre to provide backhaul to its 5G sites outside of London earlier this year. In September it expanded the agreement with CityFibre to cover a further 1,300 masts in 59 towns and cities.

“We are investing significantly to transform our entire network experience which will support our customers who use three times more data than the average UK consumer,” said Susan Buttsworth, Three UK COO. “SSE Enterprise Telecoms will help support our goal of delivering a great 4G and 5G experience across the UK.”


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.