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London Wireless Broadband ISP Relish Rebrands to Three UK

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019 (1:37 pm) - Score 11,079
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The inevitable has happened. Fixed wireless broadband ISP Relish, which use to be part of UK Broadband Ltd. until the latter was gobbled up in 2017 by mobile operator Three UK for £250m (here), is being re-branded from 1st April 2019 to reflect the name of its parent – Three Broadband – and their future plans.

Relish Wireless was one of the few Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) providers to adopt 4G based technology (instead of something based off WiFi) in order to deliver faster broadband speeds to individual homes. Most of their network focused on the central London area, but they also helped to serve parts of Swindon and Reading.

However the ISP, which at the last count (in 2017) had around 15,000 subscribers, struggled to deliver on some of their advertised speeds and thus never quite managed to corner the market in the way they would have liked. Despite this their parent company (UK Broadband Ltd.) continued to control a number of attractive licenses in key wireless spectrum bands (e.g. 3.4-3.6GHz and a bit of 3.9GHz, 28GHz and 40GHz).

Mobile operator Three UK saw those bands as an opportunity, specifically a way to build up their spectrum holdings to help support a future 5G network. As a result of their acquisition in 2017, Three ended up with around 144MHz (frequency) of 5G friendly spectrum and have repeatedly spoken of their plans to harness this by deploying a new mobile and fixed wireless “home broadband” service.

At the end of last year the operator further elaborated upon their plans by suggesting that their first 5G network would begin to deploy during the second half of 2019 (here) and could potentially offer “ultrafast broadband” speeds of 100Mbps to homes across the UK (here), alongside the usual mobile (Smartphone) services.

Dave Dyson, CEO of Three UK, said last year:

“We have always led on mobile data and 5G is another game-changer. Also described as wireless fibre, 5G delivers a huge increase in capacity together with ultra-low latency. It opens up new possibilities in home broadband and industrial applications, as well as being able to support the rapid growth in mobile data usage.”

Inevitably this meant that Relish’s brand was destined for the dustbin of history and so it has come to pass. Relish has now confirmed that it will re-brand to “Three Broadband” from 1st April 2019. “We’re re-branding to get ready for the future, a future which is only possible with Three. You’ll still have the same cracking service, price plan, My Account and support you’ve been used to from our lovely Relish team,” said the ISP to customers.

Initially this is just a change of name and there “will be no immediate changes” to either the service, billing or network (coverage is the same), but eventually the new brand name will be used as a launch pad for Three’s 5G based ultrafast home broadband. Likewise this does not at present have any impact upon existing customers of Three’s own mobile plans (fixed wireless and mobile networks tend to be configured separately anyway).

At the time of writing Three aren’t saying anything more but this is one to watch. Three have made no secret of their ambitions in this area and we’ll be watching closely to see how much of that comes to fruition and what impact it has on the wider market. In any case 5G will take several years to deploy and a lot of existing capacity feeds will need to be upgraded in order to make the most of it.

In the meantime Relish continues to offer average speeds of 20Mbps with unlimited usage from just £22 per month.

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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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13 Responses
  1. Avatar Guy Cashmore

    And the very best of luck to Three Broadband. In rural areas Three is leading the way, making fast unlimited broadband available to the forgotten thousands ignored by BT and BDUK.

    Dave Dyson if you come to West Devon the beer is on me, one very happy Three customer here.

    • Avatar Adam

      Amen to that! I’ll buy them a damn keg.

    • Avatar Mike

      Can’t wait for Three 5G, finally ditch FTTC.

      Probably be long dead before FTTP turns up if ever…

    • Avatar AnotherTim

      There’s copious beer waiting here too. Without Three I’d be struggling to work from home at all. Looking forward to better backhaul in due course (fingers crossed). Three could pretty much clean up with rural broadband IMO – Gigaclear, who are supposed to be FTTPing my area are far too slow to deploy (I just can’t wait any longer…) and too expensive in comparison.

  2. Avatar craski

    “making fast unlimited broadband available to the forgotten thousands ignored by BT and BDUK”

    Totally agree. I often think that when people talk of the success of BDUK and the relatively small >5% remaining, the fact that percentage still means millions of people missed out is very much lost.

    • Avatar craski

      Cant edit post but obviously the intent was not “greater than” 5% but “less than” … Doh!

    • Avatar Guy Cashmore

      In my (constituency) area of West Devon, currently 11% of premises will qualify for USO, this actually translates to about 50% of rural premises. The 5% figure is treated with some scorn out here..

  3. Avatar Paul

    Surely 144MHz *bandwidth*
    144-146MHz is an Amateur band

    Frequencies listed here:
    https://5g.co.uk/guides/5g-frequencies-in-the-uk-what-you-need-to-know/

    • Avatar David Burns

      No, this is the the amount of spectrum (channel space) they own in the 3.X GHz bands listed and is therefore correct. It is not the operating frequency.

  4. Avatar Michael V

    Three have done really well with their VoLTE / Supervoice network in Wales. In Mid-West Wales I had VoLTE coverage almost everywhere. Speeds may be similar to HSPA, but we don’t really need more than 20mbps Download on a phone. Voice coverage is more important to me. I’m excited to see what they bring us with 5G-NR.

  5. Avatar StillWaitingForSuperFast

    Absolutely agree with the comments above. In rural North Somerset we have been able to replace an unreliable 7MB/S ADSL service with Three’s 4G unlimited service and now reliably get 40MB/S (peaking at 90MB/S) for £20 per month. No chance of FTTC here and no sign of Gigaclear or Truespeed making good on their promises in this area. My ‘Heros of the year’ award goes to Three.

  6. Avatar Matthew Wallace

    Finally found a great 4G network to be part of in rural East Devon with unlimited Data and Peak speeds in the EX13 7** raging from 60mpbs to 117mbps great performance so far. Glad that I made the transition from our frustratingly slow and intermittent ADSL2+ Broadband with no sign of an upgrade in sight from either OR or BDUK/GC in the near future and tired of waiting around for them to sort the mess out.
    Can now finally get on with running our business smoothly. Roll on 5G with anticipated 1Gbps speeds (prob won’t be available here until 2024 onwards).

  7. Avatar Mark

    ThreeBroadband has changed the name of Relish. No wonder. To say that Relish provided the worst service I have ever experienced from an internet provider would be to accept they provided a service, which they did not.

    All they ever wanted was your money. Web access was at first slow and erratic and it eventually stopped working completely. The router was changed (at our expense) and it still did not work. Assistance consisted of someone with English as a fourth language at the end of a phone alternately apologising and insisting – in the face of all evidence to the contrary – that there should be access.

    Even in the short period when it worked speed was no more than in the old dial-up days. Despite not delivering the promised service for the year of the contract at the end they sent a £15 bill and threated, in true mafia style, to refer us to a debt collection agency.

    Avoid these people, there are many providers in UK, you do not need to use these incompetent thugs.

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