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Three to upgrade 4G network including L-Band spectrum

Three UK brings 4G enhancements to customers as their average data usage passes 10GB per month

    • Significant upgrade to deliver enhanced 4G experience
    • Performance improvements of up to 150% for customers
    • Monthly data usage on Three network passes 10GB per customer

    Three UK customers have already started seeing the benefits of a significant upgrade to its 4G network which will deliver improvements of up to 150% for customers.

    The improvements come as we announce that our data-hungry customers have helped us become the first UK operator to smash through the 10GB monthly data usage barrier per customer. Data usage in July 2019 was a whopping 10.4GB per month versus the UK average of 2.9GB*.

    The programme will run until 2023 in tandem with our 5G rollout which went live in Central London in August. It includes:

    • New spectrum and antennas – 6,000 sites carrying 80% of our traffic will be upgraded with new antennas and new spectrum (1400MHz or “L-Band”) meaning speed improvements of up to 150% for customers with compatible handsets**. Customers without a compatible handset will also see speeds improve by about 50%.
    • Recycling our 3G spectrum – 12,500 sites will see speed improvements of up to 40% as we switch some of our 3G spectrum over to 4G.

    The upgrades have already started in our busiest areas, so customers will start to see the benefits by the end of the year.

    3,960 sites have already benefited from a 15% improvement in performance thanks to the deployment of carrier aggregation technology. Customers will know they are using carrier aggregation when they see a 4G+ icon on their phone.

    These network improvements form part of the £2bn investment in Three’s infrastructure which is taking place to deliver an all-round excellent customer experience, based on the combined power of a new cloud core, new IT systems and an enhanced network, as we continue our 5G roll out.

    David Dyson, chief executive officer at Three UK said: “5G is a game changer for Three’s current and future customers. It will bring faster speeds, a better experience and masses of capacity which will benefit our 4G customers as well. While we are investing heavily in 5G, 4G is still very important for our mobile and home broadband services.

    “These upgrades will ensure that our data hungry customers are getting the best possible 4G experience as 5G rolls out.”

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