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Three UK Coughs to “slightly” Delayed Rollout of 5G Mobile

Friday, November 22nd, 2019 (9:48 pm) - Score 17,687
three uk mobile broadband

Mobile operator Three UK (Hutchison 3G UK) has today revealed that the rollout of their new 5G mobile network is running “slightly behind” their original plan, which they suggest is due to some issues with planning permission, securing the right backhaul capacity and migration to their new cloud core network.

At present the operator has already launched a limited 5G network around London, albeit mostly focused on their dedicated Mobile Broadband services (here). Since then Three UK claims that their initial customers are enjoying average speeds of 232Mbps, with peak speeds of 1.1Gbps (apparently up from 30Mbps they would have seen with their 4G devices).

Under the original plan the operator expected their 5G footprint to reach 25 UK towns and cities by the end of 2019, but despite this they’ve yet to launch the mobile environment side of their 5G network (Smartphones etc.) and the end of the year is only a little over one month away.

In a statement the operator said that they “now have a number of towns and cities prepped to switch to 5G,” although they also noted that some of the components of that deployment are “more time consuming and complex than others, and, as a result, our 5G roll out is slightly behind our original plan.”

Three UK Statement on 5G Progress

There are a number of parts we need to put in place to deliver our 5G experience: 5G equipment on masts, the right backhaul transmission, as well as the need to acquire the right planning permissions from landlords. Added to this we also need to move all of our customer traffic onto the world’s first 5G cloud core network. Some of these components are more time consuming and complex than others, and, as a result, our 5G roll out is slightly behind our original plan.

Our absolute priority has always been to deliver the best 5G experience for our customers, and we’re confident our customers will enjoy a fast, seamless and uninterrupted experience as we roll out and align our 5G components. All new and existing Three customers with a 5G-enabled phone will have access to 5G with no speed caps, no data limits and at no extra cost on contract, SIM only and PAYG plans. We are stocking the Huawei Mate 20 X (5G), Samsung Note 10 Plus 5G, Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, Samsung A90 and the Xiaomi MiMix 5G.

4G enhancements

Three UK customers have already started to see the benefits of a £700 million upgrade to its 4G network which will deliver download speed improvements of up to 150% for customers.

More than 1,400 of our 4G sites have now been upgraded, on target for our goal of 1,860 by the end of the year.

Customers in cities such as Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and London are seeing speed improvements of 30-40%.

The expectation now is that Three UK won’t officially launch the mobile side of their 5G network until early 2020, although they’re not saying how long we’ll have to wait until the initially planned 25 towns and cities are live. The delay is somewhat embarrassing, particularly since all of their major rivals (EE, Vodafone and O2) have been able to launch full 5G services on time.

On top of that Three UK has done plenty of boasting about how they have roughly double the amount of 5G spectrum compared with their rivals (i.e. a 100MHz block of contiguous spectrum in the 3.4-3.8GHz band – here). Nevertheless that doesn’t matter much if your full network isn’t live or you can’t feed it with enough capacity to deliver the best speeds.

Leave a Comment
36 Responses
  1. Malcolm says:

    Yes got a mail shot from them this week saying that 5G is in my neighbourhood – and if I signed up before 6th December I could get a discount – all good stuff and living in Southwark SE16 on an EO line with no plans from anyone to do anything I contacted them – the call centre told me that unfortunately they didn’t cover the area yet but it could be anytime – what a pointless waste of money doing a mail shot to the whole of the area that they don’t even cover.

  2. Sam Phyall says:

    Keep in mind that UK Broadband will cover it and not Three themselves…

    Had this issue too… Three UK won’t be launching their 5G service any time soon but UKB which is Three (Relish) do have 5G available to them… 3.4GHZ I think…

    1. Zakir says:

      UK Broadband is going to provide 5G service you got to understand Three network own UK broadband.

      It doesn’t matter which company is providing 5G service they are the same.

      Why Three bought UK Broadband they have access to spectrum Three didn’t have and access to the masts what UK broadband built.

  3. dave says:

    This is nothing more than Three living up to what I and probably many others expected of them.

    Three talk the talk but have never once walked the walk.

    For avoidance of doubt I will say again that it doesn’t matter how much spectrum Three has, their rollout of 5G will not live up to the hype.

  4. David Jones says:

    I would just like to say I thought there must have been doing something whatever they have done with 5G in my area we used to get 4 g excellent connection but for the last 2 months I have had no 4G connection whatsoever so whatever you’ve done can you please fix the problem thank you

  5. Simon orourke says:

    I was told that three would be launching the most amazing 5g service back in August in London. So i brought a 5g phone and signed up to their £20 unlimited service.

    Now i knew Three has pretty much given offering 3g or 4g services in central London especially around busy hubs like Stratford and Liverpool street so i brought a mini mobile router with EE card which i link to via wifi if i need to stream music or any internet when commuting.

    What i didnt see coming and i should knowing how late they were to 4g was the whole sham around their non existant mobile 5g which they have been heavily promoting for last 6 months. Now we are u likely to see any 5g until sometime in 2020 and im still having to use 4g data on my EE card. I replace my phone every year so right now its a 1200 pound phone that has a 24 month contract that cant even get 3g or 4g services in London let alone 5g and relies on a ee card and router to work. What a complete waste of money and time.

    1. Tisker says:

      You brought a phone? Where did you bring it from?

  6. Simone says:

    They need to sort out their 4G first – new contract for a Mobile Broadband Router – crippled – most I have hit in Exeter is 5mbps and they want £27 a month for the crap! I sent it back after 3 days

    1. Simone says:

      I had a speed spike seconds before they cut it off – woohoo!


      Pants innit.

    2. Andrew says:

      Trouble is, you are in a city and Three have limited 4G spectrum so 5Mbps is about right.
      I’m out in the sticks 30 odd miles from you and get 10-20Mbps on band 3 (1800Mhz) and 5-12Mbps on band 20 (800Mhz) and we only get a signal from one site.

    3. Martins says:

      What messed up is currently out of contract sim only deal £15 600 minutes unlimited data they sent a text/letter this Friday saying due to your plan is no longer available we will move you to the unlimited everything plan for £27 a month.
      Are they for real I could sign upto to EE for £27 After the 20% discount.
      £27 pounds for useless speeds,customer service,signal problems,non 5G quit trying to play the premium brand 3 not a chance your on the same level as EE.

    4. Leeman says:


      I notice with their router (I have the Huawei b311) that if you manually set it to 3g you get faster speeds than leaving it to automatically pick up a 4g signal.
      With 4g I can barely manage 1mbps down sometimes whereas with 3g I average between 14 and 22 down.
      Three’s issue is congestion. That is the only reason why they are not able to match the speeds of EE on 4g. With their 3g, not that many people are on it hence the faster speed.
      Three have been offering unlimited data for years which obviously impacts their capacity.
      EE have only just started offering unlimited and with time will be faced with the same problem so I wouldn’t count on EE being reliable and fast forever.

    5. Mike says:

      Apparently 4G+ is steadily being rolled out so it should be less of an issue.

  7. Bob Jones says:

    4G at 5mbps, at least you should be able to stream video with that!
    It is better than the Three 3G speeds in the smaller Somerset market towns.
    Take Langport or Crewkerne as examples.
    No sign of 4G in the town centres, including the 800MHz band, but good 3G signal strength.
    However, 3G throughput much less than 1Mbps and no plans to improve the situation according to Three support.

    Yet I get messages from Three indicating that 5G is coming.
    No chance!

    1. Mike says:

      3G is being refarmed for 4G, get with the times.

    2. dave says:


      “No sign of 4G in the town centres, including the 800MHz band, but good 3G signal strength.”

    3. Mike says:

      That’s highly unusual, do the coverage maps also reflect this?

      Are you sure your device supports band 20?

    4. Bob Jones says:

      My phone (Honor10) does support band 20 and volte works.
      Lack of band 20 coverage is not unusual where Three have not upgraded their network to 4G.
      The lack of 4G coverage band 3 and band 20 is confirmed by the coverage maps.
      3G would be OK with me IF it worked well.

    5. Mike says:

      You might want to use a mast checker and find a more suitable operator.

  8. Mike says:

    If EE can do a competitive Unlimited black friday/cyber monday offer I’ll be leaving Three.

  9. Michael V says:

    I’ve seen an improvement over 4G LTE speeds around places in Cardiff.
    If their 5G NR Network is delayed then that’s fine. I’d rather see them get it right & make it the best they can. Apparently 5G was coming to Cardiff this month but the guy in the store said January now.

    [In my village where I live in the valleys I have 4G speeds of 50 – 79 Down with up to 18 up. That’s consistent & serves my home Huawei Cube really well.]
    I’m happy with LTE!

  10. J H says:

    Never mind 5g delay. What about the continued problems with their existing mobile data service. Since the major outtage in October, patchy or failing service across the country for large numbers of customers.

    It’s a ‘local’ service issue according to customer services, but every post code I entered in their network checker service yields that result. I gave up after entering 27 postcodes across West Midlands, South West, Cotswolds and East Midlands.

    Outtage checker services online show significant disruption across the entire UK network everyday since the original total network failure.

    Finally got them to admit in a service call that the entire network is effected and yet no-one is reporting on it in the media. There are big problems at THREE and they’re not telling customers the truth when they ring.

    1. Me says:

      The network status checker has been broken since mid 2018 I’ve checked lots of postcodes on there and its been the same for ages there upto date system says different when you ask

  11. Jayne Dan says:

    This company is dangerous during this year they haven’t got anything right twice now in 2019 Feb/Nov data leak.
    I could actually log into my three account showing other people contract details including D.O.B and bills told them about it guess what happened again tonight.
    Question them about getting 5G in told me end of October will be switched on in your area what happened delayed again.
    I really do give up messed up my billing four times this year.
    Posted a bad review on Trustpilot about three they deleted my comment without question.

  12. Sarah Paul says:

    After 10 years I decided to leave three network it’s slow as dial up 1995 days most of the time working in London you get no signal and speeds are slow as hell googlemaps doesn’t load up.
    Complain to them they say the problem will be fixed in 10 working days stay away from this network I made a bad review on trustpilot regarding about three services they deleted my comment within minutes censorship any negative feedback that my harm the brand.

  13. Poppy says:

    5G no thanks

  14. Olga says:

    Still waiting for proof 5 G is safe. No tests have been done, because if they were done, evidence of harm would be the result as military tests on millimetre was shown to prove harm. Look up Ex army microwave specialist Barrie Trower and tell me you are begging for dna damage.

    1. Who says:

      We don’t use mmwave though your wifi router uses higher frequency than current 5g and the 700mhz band for 5g has been used for digital tv for the past decade or so now it’s been rebranded 5g people are going crazy

    2. Connor Milligan says:

      How about you look up the fact that No UK networks are using mmWave.

    3. dave says:

      Still waiting for proof that anti-5G nutters have a properly functioning brain. No tests have been done, because if they were done, evidence of malfunction would be the result.

      Context is key. A hammer can be used for construction or it can be used for murder. Water is both essential but could be used as a weapon (e.g drowning).

      Get a grip.

  15. SuperFast Dream says:

    Goodness me, there are some dodgy looking responses to this article!

  16. Kunta Kinte says:

    5g will be interesting in 2025. 700Mhz is the key

  17. Oliver Rodwell says:

    Bit late to this, after the initial success of the 5G broadband role out I can confirm that my speeds have gone from 200Mbps to about 2-10Mbps (if working at all) over the past month, with my signal strength and quality being rated as the same by my router and by three.

    We have been trying to get help from Three who first told us it was a router issue, then that they are working on the mast issue. Its very slightly improved, but by no means an ideal solution.

    The irony? If we put the router in a box to cut off the 5G signal, the 4G goes as high as 45Mbps.

  18. richard mathews says:

    Tried three boardband and it wasn’t very impressive. Most I ever got was 200mbps and that was with me taking my router with a battery pack and sitting at a bus stop in line of site of a mast.

    I return the 5g as not fit for purpose. I have a three 4g sim and in london it can have no data in some areas. At home I get about 30mbps. Main contact is vodafone and I get 90 to 100mbps at home and in Kings Cross station about 120mbps. Three are not really competing if I can’t get decent speeds for game streaming.

  19. Delia McInerney says:

    Please see 5G Apocalypse – the extinction event ‘ on youtube, an award- winning documentary exposing the dire health consequences of the 5G rollout. In it, Trump’s advisor, Tom Wheeler, openly admits to the press that this amounts to ‘untested, unprecedented amounts of radiation, but who cares? It’s jobs for Americans’. This is an international crime against humanity and we are the human guinea pigs that must watch this atrocity being inflicted on us, through our walls , 24/7, without even being consulted, because Big Tech wants to make a literal killing before we wake up to the consequences. Our children are super sensitive to this; their myelin sheathing is not developed until adulthood to protect their brains and their bone marrow is more absorbent of radiation. But No One, adult or child, will escape the effects of 5G as the masts will be placed every 250 metres across our towns and there will be hundreds of satellites beaming information and radiation down from space to saturate an unsuspecting humanity, caught up in the excitement of faster downloads and video games.

  20. Jack says:

    I feel like an idiot for even thinking of moving to them. Constant 1 bar signal and fighting for my data packets to reach back to me. There cheap for a reason and their network is overloaded with poorer people so it means slower speeds as it is.

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