Three has announced that its 5G network will arrive in August, and supposedly its peak speeds will be up to twice as fast as any rival 5G network at launch.
However, as with EE – which is the only UK company to currently offer a 5G network – you won’t be able to access 5G everywhere initially. In fact, Three’s initial launch will be for 5G home broadband and will be limited to London.
But those limits won’t last long, as Three plans to bring both 5G mobile and home broadband to 25 towns and cities before the end of 2019.
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Specifically, it’s set to land in London, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Sunderland and Wolverhampton.
Three’s eyebrow-raising speed claims are based on it having more 5G spectrum than rival networks, with 140MHz of the stuff. According to Three, Vodafone is its closest rival on that front with 50MHz.
The only 'true' 5G
A ‘true’ 5G experience requires 100MHz of 5G spectrum according to the ITU (the global standards body on 5G technology), so based on that Three is the only UK network in a position to offer ‘true’ 5G on day one. And that doesn’t just mean higher speeds, but also apparently a more reliable connection and better all-round experience for customers.
How well these claims will hold up remains to be seen, but it certainly sounds promising, as does Three’s roll out plans, given that EE and Vodafone (the latter of which is launching 5G on July 3) have each revealed under 20 places that they plan to bring it to this year.
So Three won’t be first or even second to have a 5G network, but it could hit the ground running when it does launch. We should have a better idea of what to expect soon, as Three has said it will reveal details about pricing and which 5G handsets it will offer in July.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.
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