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Three UK and Huawei Demo 3-4Gbps 5G Wireless Broadband Link

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018 (11:33 am) - Score 8,282
three uk mobile broadband

Mobile operator Three UK and Huawei have teamed-up in London to demonstrate a multi-site 5G network, which was able to deliver peak wireless broadband speeds of up to 3-4Gbps (Gigabits per second) via the 28GHz radio spectrum band and 1-2Gbps when using the 3.4GHz band.

In a typical deployment scenario we might expect the 28GHz band to be harnessed for connecting individual premises (i.e. Fixed Wireless Access) because it’s fairly poor at wide area coverage, while 3.4GHz is more likely to be focused on catering for users in a dense urban mobile environment (Smartphone connections etc.).

So far as we can tell the fastest 28GHz test had access to 800MHz of continuous spectrum frequency (4 x 200MHz), while the slower 3.4GHz band test was only harnessing about 100MHz of spectrum. But it’s important to stress that a short-distance demo (conducted on a moving bus – maybe up to c.200-300 metres from the station) is not very reflective of the real-world, where other factors come into play (more on this below).

According to Huawei, their 5G chipset should in the real-world be able to deliver a peak home broadband download speed of 2Gbps (or a max of 1Gbps for single users), although yesterday Three UK wisely tempered that against the reality of network provision (i.e. balancing capacity, demand, interference, distance, power etc.) by saying that they expected end-user speeds of 80-100Mbps (here).

Yang Chaobin, President of Huawei’s 5G Group, said:

“The 5G trials we carried out today demonstrate the opportunity this technology brings to the home broadband market. [We] will continue to work with Three UK to bring customers more market-leading commercial applications of 5G.”

We should point out that both EE and Vodafone have also conducted similar tests earlier this year, which resulted in similar performance. At present Three UK has about 144MHz of 5G friendly spectrum across several different bands, although they have quite a bit near 3.4GHz and that should give them a good block to work with (here).

As usual the first areas to benefit from the start of Three UK’s commercial 5G roll-out later next year will be dense urban locations, exactly like those currently being targeted by Vodafone and EE (here and here).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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21 Responses
  1. Avatar lolFWA

    What is 5G about it? Sounds like just faster FWA or have they put some legacy mobile tech in to make it their special thing so regular FWA can’t have it too (other than just buying the 3.4GHz spectrum)

  2. Avatar Craig stanton

    I’m with three can’t even get a signal downstairs in my house or 4g have complained many times nothing done. Now they are going on about 5g lol think they should help the current customers out first.

  3. Avatar Enter_your_name

    Yeah well I hope they FLOP I’ve been a loyal customer for years all they do is up their prices!!!!! I hate you.three

  4. Avatar Mr Paul Fearn

    Three are over conjested in the daytime. My speeds are 400kbps in day and 16 mbps at 2 in the morning. Rubbish

  5. Avatar tim

    Snapdragon X24 can do 2Gbps on 4G with 7x20Mhz carrier aggregation.
    Snapdragon x50 can do 5Gpbs with 800Mhz of mmWave frequency.

    SO the tech is getting there. I just think that the lack of suitable frequencies is always going to be an issue. Three don’t have 7x20Mhz for 4G. They also do not have 800Mhz of 5G frequencies?

  6. Avatar Andy

    No mention of ping times or latency. That’s more important to me than an extra 20mbps to be honest. That’s the whole draw of 5G isn’t it? The consumer is never going to get the full speed benefits of 5G anyway, not with the congested masts they have at the moment and can’t rectify!

    • Avatar Tim

      Fibre is always going to be best for latency (and capacity).

      5G could be key to delivering a usable 30+Mbps to those still stuck on ADSL. For those users latency won’t be as important. I’d put up with 100ms if it delivered 30+Mbps. If 5G can deliver <20ms and 100+Mbps then it'll be a game changer even for those that are on slow FTTC. However we are very unlikely to see unlimited usage on 5G and it could be more expensive than an unlimited VDSL service (at first).

      Rural areas need this now but as usual we won't see 5G until 6G rollout starts in towns.

      Right now only single carrier (800Mhz) 4G is available where I am. It is capable of about 6Mbps, same as ADSL here.

    • Three UK this week did a demo of 5G using games (Fortnite) with VR and Vodafone have done something similar. 5G is much better at latency, but we’ll have to wait and see how it performs for consumers in the real-world to see how that holds up.

  7. Avatar Jamie Potter

    As part of the 5G Rural Intergrated Testbed (5GRIT) Quickline and Broadway Partners have been working to see how the 5G eco-system will deliver into Rural. Remember that the mobile operators will invest heavily where they have the customer base (ie Urban areas) so there needs to be an understanding of how 5G can work in Rural.

    As part of the test we have deployed both TV White Space and 5G Millimetre Wave networks and are seeing some great results including customer speeds in excess of 400Mbps with ultra low latency figures. These networks CAN be deployed into Rural and semi-rural areas and will bring way beyond 30Mbps services to many areas where services are currently not delivering. The technology is coming fast the key is how it is deployed nationally not just within the 12 major UK cities.

    Small cells, reuse of assets like poles and street furniture plus access to good fibre backhaul will allow the 5G technology to deployed but we need to accept that the major Operators will concentrate on where the mass markets are at first. This is where we need Alt Nets to deliver and support each other to deliver through access to fibre and infrastructure. Add to this a really strong position by OFCOM and DdCMS on spectrum sharing outside urban areas and the roll out of 5G technology could happen in a lot more places than just the big Cities.

    As I said, early Quickline trials are showing amazing speeds and great performance the next steps are getting this commercially deployable.

  8. Avatar Name

    And then they add 5G to their masts linked by 155Mbps radio lines.

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