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Three UK See 4G Speeds Hit 17.8Mbps Ahead of 800MHz and VoLTE Rollout

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 (7:37 am) - Score 3,202

Mobile operator Three UK has announced that the average 4G (LTE at 1800MHz) based Mobile Broadband download speeds on their network are now reaching 17.8Mbps (up from 10.7Mbps in December 2014) and that the roll-out of Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and low frequency 800MHz spectrum will begin during September 2015.

The operator has also revealed some other details this morning, such as how the average data usage per customer on their network in 2007 was just 18MB (MegaBytes) per month and today they gobble 3.4GB (GigaBytes). Likewise Three UK said that their average 3G (HSPA+ at 2100MHz) speeds have also increased from 0.8Mbps back in 2007 to 6.4Mbps in 2015.

But the big news was reserved for their future mobile network improvements, which among other things confirmed that they would finally start to make 4G services available on the new 800MHz band from September 2015. The 800MHz band isn’t able to carry as much data as 1800MHz, but it does travel further and also penetrates more effectively through walls for good indoor and outdoor coverage and at a lower cost.

At the same time the operator said that they would also begin making Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services available, which essentially allows voice calling over their normally data centric 4G networks. Supporting Smartphones will thus benefit from better quality voice calls, while both VoLTE and 800MHz should improve Three UK’s network reliability.

Bryn Jones, Three’s CTO, said:

[Three’s] aim is to keep our customers connected wherever they are. Adding low frequency spectrum to our network and enabling voice calls over 4G and Wi-Fi, will mean Three customers can stay connected in more places than ever before. With roaming at no extra cost also available in 18 destinations, Three is doing more than any other network to give our customers a reliable, quality experience wherever they are.”

At present Three UK, which is in the process of gobbling its big UK rival O2 from Telefonica UK, has 8.5 million customers with 3.5 million of those┬ásaid to be enjoying 4G “at no extra cost” (4G is predicted to reach 4 million by the end of 2015).

In addition, Three said that their overall network coverage (population) of the United Kingdom has grown from 90% in 2007 to 97% in 2014, but you should always take claims of coverage from any mobile operator with a big pinch of salt.

Finally, Three said that they expected more than 1 million customers to begin using VoLTE by the end of 2015, which could rise to 3.2 million during 2016 when it will reach most of their subscribers.

Leave a Comment
9 Responses
  1. dave says:

    good, all networks should have VoLTE, i’m fed up of regular mobile phone audio quality.

    1. John says:

      The funny thing is with 800mhz LTE I might even get a signal inside the pub!

  2. George LLoyd says:

    Having just done a test in Witham Essex my speed shows 61.85 Mbps Down and 20.64 Mbps up which is damn good.

    1. John says:

      55mbps here in bristol, it’s amazing!

  3. Stephen says:

    I hope they launch the 800MHZ earlier, Would it not make more sense to have the masts tested & running before they go activating VOLTE? Surely when this does go live it is going to put a big strain on the network, going from data only to data + voice.

  4. gerarda says:

    Does this mean we will be able to get mobile phones that allow you to make phone calls in 4G areas?

  5. Tim says:

    Shame Three scaled back their original 4G roll out… https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=zOAnXJFLQHCg.ky6bqlf4m0aE

    I switched to O2 because I couldn’t wait for Three to have indoor voice coverage and wanted to be able to use LTE as well.

    Hopefully Three will be able to do some “double speed” LTE (20Mhz) and LTE-A in the future.

    1. Stephen says:

      Hi Tim, that’s a great map, can you view information on all of the ISP’s?

    2. RWJ says:

      It’s out of date/incorrect. Shrewsbury does indeed have 4G service from Three. I’ve used it this past year.

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