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Three trials cloud core 5G network with staff

(Image credit: Three)
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Three is trialling a “world-first” cloud-based core network with its staff ahead of a full rollout to customers later this year.

The overhauled core network, 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.

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 reducing the cost-effectiveness of its infrastructure.

Three 5G core

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 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 FWA service).

Three customers consume an average of 7.6GB a month and with demand for data increasing all the time, the operator believes 5G will finally give it the craves – especially after the failed attempt to merge with O2

It believes the additional capacity will ensure it can affordably boost the capacity of its mobile network to cope with exploding customer demand and support fixed wireless access (FWA) broadband than can be a genuine alternative to fixed line connectivity.

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.