Three is starting to migrate customers to a brand-new cloud-based core network ahead of the launch of its 5G service in August.
The core network has been tested with more than 3,500 staff since February and is now ready to handle commercial traffic. 4G customers will also be moved onto the new core, meaning all users will benefit.
The infrastructure, delivered by Nokia, is a key component of Three’s £2 billion 5G investment programme, which also includes new equipment, spectrum and an IT transformation.
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Three 5G core
5G networks will deliver improved speeds, greater capacity, and ultra-low latency that will enable a raft of new consumer and business applications. Three’s new core network will make it easier and quicker to rollout new services, while also improving the cost-effectiveness of its infrastructure.
To improve latency even further, Three has moved away from using just three data centres in London and the Midlands to 21 dotted around the country. This means that data processing in the core is performed closer to the point of collection.
All data centres have also been connected to fibre to reduce the time it takes to send data between mast and core. All of Three’s mobile sites have been connected to the core since December.
Three says the combination of the core network and its significant spectrum holdings will allow it to deliver enhanced capacity for customers and the UK’s fastest 5G speeds.
“UK consumers have an insatiable appetite for data as well as an expectation of high reliability. We are well positioned to deliver both as we prepare for the launch of the UK’s fastest 5G network,” said Three CEO Dave Dyson.
Three sees 5G as its opportunity to transform from the UK’s smallest mobile operator into the market leader thanks to its significant spectrum holdings boosted by auction victories and the acquisition of UK Broadband (which operates the Relish Fixed Wireless Access broadband service).
In addition to a 5G FWA, Three will launch 5G mobile services in 25 towns and cities before the end of the 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.