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Three UK – Mobile Broadband Data Use Per Customer Rises to 8.3GB

Thursday, March 21st, 2019 (12:35 pm) - Score 6,703

Mobile operator Three UK has today released their full year results for 2018, which amongst other things revealed that monthly Mobile Broadband (3G / 4G) data usage per customer grew by 22% during the year (vs 7% in the previous year) from 6.8GB to 8.3GB (GigaBytes) and population coverage is now 99% (up from 98.5%).

Overall Three UK continues to produce users with a higher level of data consumption than almost any other network, which is mostly down to their large affordable allowances and “all-you-can-eat” usage plans. Meanwhile 4G now accounts for 79% of total network traffic and that’s because 84% of their customer base are using it (we assume the rest use 3G etc.).

Elsewhere the operator’s total active network “connections” reached 11.3 million, which stems from an “active customer base” of 10,026,000 (down slightly from 10,070,000 last year). Meanwhile their gross Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is running at £18.23 (up from £18.07 last year) and total revenue for the year stood at £2,439m (up 1% from £2,425m).

Interestingly Three UK also talks about having “800,000 broadband customers,” which we assume is primarily a reference to their dedicated Mobile Broadband plans and possibly including some of their Relish Wireless ISP subscribers (soon to be called Three Broadband).

Dave Dyson, CEO of Three UK, said:

“UK consumers have an insatiable appetite for data and 5G is the key to delivering on that demand in a quality and cost-effective way. We acquired an extra 20MHz of 5G spectrum in the 2018 5G spectrum auction to secure a commanding lead on 5G spectrum assets and we are the only operator in the UK that can take advantage of the full potential of 5G.

4G traffic continues to grow and now accounts for 79% of total network traffic. We have therefore also worked hard to improve our 4G network experience through redeployment of spectrum used for 3G to 4G, and added carrier aggregation technology.

Overall, I am pleased with the progress that the business has made in 2018. Only made possible with the hard work and commitment of our staff and partners, and I thank them for their dedication and support. We are well set up for some transformational shifts in 2019 for our customers and our employees. It will be a year when our customers will start to see the real benefits of the next generation of 5G “mobile” technology, a technology that will not only replace 4G, but will also replace the need for wired broadband services.”

In-between rather boldly claiming to have become the UK’s “best-loved brand by our people and customers, meeting all our customers’ connectivity needs” and planning to “replace the need for wired broadband services” with 5G connectivity (it’s far too early to call that one but they certainly have a chance, in some areas), Three UK also noted that they have established an “industry-leading 5G position” with a total of 140MHz of 5G spectrum, including a 100MHz contiguous block.

The above remark about 5G spectrum is true, although it should be remembered that Ofcom has so far only auctioned off the 3.4GHz band for such services and a lot more is due to be auctioned this year and into 2020.

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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.
Leave a Comment
16 Responses
  1. Mike says:

    Can’t wait for Three 5G, bye bye FTTC.

    1. Peter says:

      Well that is nice for you

      Round here it would be even nicer if my mobile actually rang while I am inside the house rather than go straight to voicemail due to non existent coverage
      I’m 6 miles from a city – not half way up a Welsh mountain.
      Texts do work – but voice calls regularly fail.
      4G – wot’s that?

    2. Mike says:

      Does your mobile support Band 20?

      Also you may be able to get 5G broadband with an antenna.

  2. Michael V says:

    Average data use. 90-140GB. last month – 230GB! [Mostly from tethering] Bring on 5G!

  3. Ed says:

    For all three hoot about their data usage. Having roamed with them in four different countries in the last 2 weeks, I’ve been lucky if I’ve seen 6mbps on the Speedtest as they hardly have any 4G roaming agreements.

    1. Mike says:

      For roaming I’d go with Vodafone/EE or better, buy a native SIM card.

  4. Sarah says:

    They couldnt give me decent mobile broadband (was about 12mbps) but a phone on a sim only contract in the same spot as the WIFI router was – 80mbps – go figure.

    1. Mike says:

      Which mobile broadband device?

  5. Julian Edwards says:

    I have cancelled my landline and switched over to 3 on their £20 unlimited data. With a good router yet in a marginal reception area I get 38mb download and 28mb upload. More than happy and much cheaper than my old BT contract.

    1. Craig says:

      I have been on their website and their Mobile broadband is £25 a month for the Huawei AI Cube for unlimited data on a 24 month contract?

  6. Larry says:

    I have three contracts with 3uk one sim home broadband using 600gb each month iphone x using 120gb each month Galaxy s10 using around 300gb me the heaviest leecher on 3uk network.

    1. kaptainkandikat says:

      based on your usage, no you are no where close to being the heaviest leecher

    2. Larry says:

      kaptainkandikat, How data do you use each month btw been using over 200gb for 16 months on my iPhone X now reads over 3.3tb cellular usage data since 2017 Nov

    3. Mike says:

      Over 1TB is leecher territory 😉

    4. kaptainkandikat says:

      at least four days of the month I can clock up 100GB a day.

      Its not much of a challenge to clock up well over a tb a month. It depends on your usage.

      The most I have ever used in one billing period is 3.8tb.

  7. Matt says:

    I got to two of the unlimited data sims on black Friday one for my mobile and one to use for home internet. Think the later see about 1TB usage a month haha

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