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Three Triples 4G Speeds in Many Locations

Upgrades have tripled download speeds on Three’s 4G network in many locations, part of the operator’s £2 billion investment in its network.

Three’s 4G has long lagged behind some of its rivals. An OpenSignal report from April 2020 found that download speeds on its 4G averaged 19.1Mbps, compared to the average of 35.9Mbps logged on EE’s network and 25.4Mbps delivered by Vodafone’s. (O2 managed 16.6Mbps on 4G). 

But Three owns a healthy amount of spectrum and is now deploying some of its 1.4GHz band to more than 1900 mast site across the UK. Where the upgrade has been rolled out, download speeds on Three’s 4G will increase by up to three times while capacity will be doubled. Users will see higher and more reliable speeds on the network as well as better indoor and outdoor coverage.

A caveat is that your device has to be able to use the 1.4GHz spectrum and not all handsets can. Customers with iPhones 11-12, Google’s Pixel Range and Samsung’s S8 – S21 will be able to benefit.

Three is also hard at work rolling out its next-generation mobile network, part of a five-year plan to deliver the UK’s “fastest 5G.” The operator has now upgraded a total of 1300 sites to deliver 5G for both mobile and home broadband customers. It’s also linked 3500 sites to 10Gbps fibre connections to underpin both its 4G and 5G networks. 

The upgrades have been well-timed. Traffic on Three’s network soared to an all-time high on 6 April as Manchester United and Liverpool competed in Champions League matches. Three says it has also been investing in its core network and 20 data centres to support increased data usage by its customers.

David Hennessy, Chief Technology Officer at Three UK, said: “The investment we’re making in our network and IT infrastructure is vital to delivering on our promise of providing better connectivity, every day for every customer. Despite unprecedented challenges presented by a global pandemic, our 5G and 4G rollout is going strong and we’re making sure our customer remains at the centre of every decision we make.”

Three is also hailing the success of its anti-spam filter for text messages, introduced at the end of last year. The filter blocks spam and fraudulent SMS, protecting customers from smishing attacks. Scam text messages have soared during the coronavirus pandemic, with millions of customers receiving text messages purportedly from their bank, the government or Royal Mail, containing links that cull their personal and financial information.

Three says the filter has resulted in a 90% reduction in reports from Three customers to the Spam Reporting Service (accessed by forwarding suspicious texts to 7726). Three says it will continue to “build, test and implement its own filtering rules to keep up with the latest fraud trends.”

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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