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Three UK – £100m to Boost Mobile in 250 UK Towns and Cities

Thursday, September 24th, 2020 (9:49 am) - Score 2,448
three uk mobile broadband

Mobile operator Three UK has today announced that, as part of their effort to “deliver the UK’s fastest 5G network” and upgrade 4G connectivity (mobile broadband), they have signed a new £100m investment deal with SSE Enterprise Telecoms to upgrade their fibre optic capacity across 250 towns and cities.

The deal is technically an extension of their existing capacity agreement and includes a second rollout phase, which will see SSEET deliver over 450 unbundled BT Exchanges across the UK. As a result, SSE’s UK fibre network, which currently stretches across 20,000km, will reach a new total of over 30,000km, “providing a unique high capacity and resilient network for all of Three UK’s customers.”

All of this is necessary in order to help feed the massive data demands that Three UK expects to see from their customer base as their new 5G network slowly extends its reach.

Susan Buttsworth, COO of Three UK, said:

“We are investing significantly to transform our entire network experience which will support our customers who use three times more data than the average UK consumer. SSE Enterprise Telecoms will help support our goal of delivering a great 4G and 5G experience across the UK.”

Sarah Mills, Sector Director for Network Operators, SSEET, said:

“We are proud to be supporting the industry’s most competitive network for 5G in terms of bandwidth, speed and reliability. This will allow Three UK to meet the future demands that we know are coming from businesses and consumers. Our continued close collaboration with Three UK has enabled both parties to focus on optimising the design and network for 4G and 5G services. Our next phase is our most pervasive yet. Our vision to support UK innovation is anchored in 5G and edge computing, which feeds our larger strategic purpose. And we’re just getting started.”

Other mobile operators are making similar investments to upgrade their national fibre optic capacity links, which will be essential if 5G based mobile broadband networks ever hope to achieve their multi-gigabit speeds and ultra-low latency performance claims.

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15 Responses
  1. Avatar David Morton says:

    Welcome investment. One thing that always crosses my mind when I read these announcements is that I really hope that someone is keeping an eye on concentration risks. If things go wrong with the SSE network – presumably Three go down ? What other suppliers services could be affected ?

  2. Avatar Billy says:

    We’ve got 5G here with three (the only ones who are here with 5G)
    or, well, they list our town as having 5G but really, it’s one small patch of coverage next to an industrial estate ??!

    But get this, brand new 5G handset (Asus ROG phone 3) and what speed do I get on three 5G?
    about 3-4 mbits. I tried it again another day, 8mbits. So much for their super amazing 100MHz of 5G spectrum giving them amazing super speeds… I get faster 4G from Vodafone than 5G from three.

    Something has really gone rotten at three, they used to be fast .. now they aren’t and they don’t care either. When you complain, they either fob you off or tell you that 5G is going to change everything like that’s going to solve your problem right now.

    And now, 50 people will tell me they get 50000000000Mbits with three and it’s “never” failed, and has always been super reliable and it must just be me (and the other millions complaining of the same thing? no..)

    1. Avatar Mike says:

      Sounds like a lack of backhaul, perhaps the SSE deal will see that fixed eventually.

    2. Avatar Pezza says:

      @Mike, no not really I don’t think so, on Smarty I get way way better performance on Three’s 3G network then I do on its LTE network. I assume the different bands all go down the same fibre optic pipes, but only one has decent performance.

    3. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

      Three definitely has back-haul bandwidth issues, losing 50% of speed I started with 12 months ago, and falling month on month, slower and slower. By the end of my 2 year contract I’m expecting 5-10Mbps tops at this rate.

    4. Avatar Connor says:

      Amusingly Wolverhampton is still not listed as a 5G city with Three but they’ve got quite a lot of coverage here and upgraded their 5G deployments recently with CityFibre.

      So now it’s actually rock solid.

    5. Avatar Leex says:

      One note your phone saying 5g doesn’t mean your actually connected to 5g (just means it’s available, stupid isn’t it)

      As all 5g installs at the moment use NSA (non stand alone) so you need 4g for the 5g to work so when you get in range of a 4g mast with 5g cells attached to it your phone will change to 5g even thought it hasn’t actually connected to 5g yet until you get much closer to the cell

      5g=NR,install cellmapper it has to say LTE+NR and the 5g connection status has to say “connected” not “unrestricted”

      This happens in USA as well where fake signal names is a real thing lol(if your on at&t or Verizon, I don’t believe t-mobile usa do it but could be wrong)
      real 5g is 5g/5g MmWave icon
      fake “5g E” witch is LTE+/4g+
      LTE icon in usa is LTE/4g
      the fake 4g icon is 3g H+/DC-HSPA+)

    6. Avatar Martin says:

      It’s not just you Billy. I too have noticed a big, big difference in the performance of Three from when I became a customer about three years ago and now. This morning at 7.30am (Sunday 27th Sept 2020) I got 60.29Mbps download on my phone and 31.46Mbps on my Home Broadband – both on Three. This is fairly typical that early in the morning. By mid morning I don’t expect to get a quarter of that and by this afternoon it with be down to hovering around or just under 1Mbps. I don’t bother calling Customer Service anymore as they can’t/won’t help and promises of call backs never happen. Three need to make these investments work and the new appointees need to at least get Three back to where they were as a minimum to keep me as a customer next summer.

  3. Avatar Three Customer says:

    Three Financial Officer ‘Not good, we’re losing lots of customers’

    Three Marketing officer ‘Even our crazy unlimited deals ae not bringing the numbers in quick enough as we’d like for people leaving us’

    Three Financial Officer ‘Guess we’ll have to make it look like we are doing something’

    Three Marketing Office ‘ I know, lets give a statement to press about how wonderful our upgrade plans are going – shove the word fibre optic in as that always does well’

    Three Financial Officer ‘ Good work Darling, it will take years to do and is really the 5G stuff, but people might just stay with us in the hope of something happening bout our c*** 4G data speeds – hopefully the 5G will be getting out there and we can forget about 4G and get them to buy new phones off us as the fix for our bad 4G’

    1. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

      By the time three has its “half-hearted” 5g attempt functional, it’ll be already spouting off about how much faster its 6g is.

      It won’t be, because its 5g service will never deliver on their promises.

      All talk, no action.

    2. Avatar Leex says:

      If three deploy 4g+ far faster as three really bad in the Cheshire (Manchester to Liverpool/Runcorn area in general quite bad when there is no 4g+

      Also what’s up with Altrincham General because all the networks are pretty bad up there (I guess a lot of anti mobile mast people up there maybe)

    3. Avatar MrD says:

      I live between Liverpool and Manchester. My 4g speeds are between 20/4 and 60/25, I would imagine that some of it is down to backhaul, or more possibly just the number of current TCP/IP connections allowed slowing things down as it grows. I get much higher upload speeds if I am upstairs (not tested in the loft).
      Three seems to think their data usage “per user” is 3x higher than average, but sadly I cant find a list of what each carrier says their average is “per user” but a lot of people seem to ignore the fact that they purchased three to download lots of data cheaper than other carriers, so they are part of the problem. EE should have a good 2 or 3 times the customer count of Three, sadly neither of them publish data usage per user or user count. The fastest network is likely to be one that also charges near the top of the £/data chart. Higher cost = Less used = More available.

      As per the hospital, Don’t all hospitals now offer free WiFi? Older buildings, especially ones with lots of pre-cast walls are nothing more than faraday cages and they nuke signals. There seems to be plenty of towers in the area, but I would think a west-wall/window would give the best signal.

  4. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

    I’ll believe it when I see it, seen all of three’s marketing BS so many times now.

    Action speaks louder than words Three, so put your money where your mouth is for once.

  5. Avatar Dave says:

    It’s all well and good offering unlimited data plans, but if you can’t sustain the bandwidth it’s a waste of time, perhaps SSE will make some difference but I’m not holding my breath. I’d be happier with strong signal and reliability.

  6. Avatar jpac says:

    Three can be fast, 260Mb/s 4G+, but inconsistent. Recently slow, YT 144p. When UL are faster than DL it’s a bad sign. Three teased me about 5G here for months but still waiting.

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