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Three’s 5G to Launch in 65 Locations By the End of the Month


Three will join its rivals and finally launch a 5G mobile network for smartphone users by the end of the month, after a delay last year.

Technically, Three’s 5G has been live since August, but is only available in Central London and to subscribers to its mobile broadband service.

The provider initially planned to switch on the next generation mobile network for smartphone users in 25 locations by the end of 2019, but in November acknowledged the rollout would be “slightly” delayed. Three attributed the delay to work that was “more time consuming and complex than others.”

Three owns nearly double the 5G-friendly spectrum its rivals do and had been expected to dominate the provision of next generation mobile services, although its 3G and 4G networks have been lacklustre. Over the summer, Three’s advertisements touted the only “real” 5G network—a claim which prompted EE to file a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

But the hitch in its rollout has cast that 5G dominance into question. Competitors EE, O2 and Vodafone had all launched 5G services in locations across the UK by October.

Now Three is finally catching up, with plans to switch on 5G by the end of this month in 65 locations including Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester Nottingham, and Sheffield.

CEO Dave Dyson said: “Today we are celebrating what is possible through 5G with a showcase of our ultra-fast 5G capabilities marking the next step in our 5G journey. 5G is set to change the world for all of us and we can’t wait for our customers to start experiencing it.”

Three is also claiming it is “set up to be the fastest 5G network in the country,” providing “peak mobile speeds of up to 2x faster than other … operators.” 

A speed test run by Ookla in the autumn found the UK’s active 5G networks are delivering average download speeds of 176Mbps. Three has claimed that subscribers to its 5G-based mobile broadband services in London enjoy average speeds of 232Mbps and peak speeds of 1.1Gbps—figures which haven’t been independently verified.

Three customers will be able to access 5G at no extra cost and with no speed restrictions on all contract, SIM only and PAYG mobile plans—provided they have a smartphone which can connect to the next generation network.

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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