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Three UK Build Ultrafast 5G Mobile to 154 UK Towns and Cities

Monday, November 30th, 2020 (10:46 am) - Score 30,240
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Mobile operator Three UK has today announced that their 5G based (mobile broadband) network has now started to go live across busy parts of some 154 UK towns and cities (via a total of 800 cell sites and masts), which also includes the launch of their first Ericsson powered 5G sites in Manchester, Glasgow and Reading.

Technically speaking Three UK’s new 5G network began to go live in August 2019, although their availability was initially restricted to central London and the only way to use it was via their dedicated unlimited Three Broadband service. The network was then finally extended to include regular 5G mobile (Smartphone) services in February 2020 and they’ve been busy deploying ever since (here).

NOTE: Going LIVE with 5G is not the same as achieving total coverage, it can still take several years to cover the majority of a major new rollout location.

The operator also retains one key advantage over their rivals in that they can harness a total of about 140MHz (frequency) across several related radio spectrum bands. One of those includes a 100MHz block of contiguous spectrum in the 3.4-3.8GHz band (here), which is known to be the sweet spot for 5G speeds. By comparison their rivals are currently only harnessing a smaller slice of the 3.4GHz band (40-50MHz each).

As a result of all this Three UK claims that their 5G customers can benefit from having access to the “UK’s fastest 5G network,” with median download speeds in excess of 200Mbps in Q3 2020, according to Ookla (results summary). But this result has to be weighed against the fact that they don’t have the strongest 5G availability in the UK (that honour goes to EE).

Susan Buttsworth, COO of Three UK, said:

“We’re pleased to have our first Ericsson sites live on our network. Ericsson are a key partner in the transformation of our network. Our customers use 3.5 times more data than the industry average so the investments that we are making are vital to enhancing current performance of our 4G network, futureproofing it and delivering on our promise of providing better connectivity, every day for every customer.”

Otherwise all of Three’s new and existing customers will have access to 5G with “no speed caps and at no extra cost” on all contract, SIM only and PAYG mobile plans. The operator is currently investing £2bn to upgrade their national network, which also includes new fibre optic backhaul capacity links and data centres to help support the rising demands of their subscribers.

However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Three, which originally put all of their 5G eggs into one basket with Huawei and has since had to change that plan (i.e. the new supplier deal with Ericsson), thanks to some significant Government flip-flopping over whether or not the ban the Chinese supplier (here).

On top of that Ofcom’s imminent auction of several new 5G friendly bands (700MHz and 3.6-3.8GHz) may either erode or strengthen some of their current spectrum advantage (here).

Full List of Three UK’s 5G Mobile Sites

Aberdeen
Abingdon-on-Thames
Adlington
Aldershot
Aldridge
Balloch
Barnsley
Barrow-in-Furness
Basildon
Bath
Bedford
Belfast City
Billericay
Billingham
Birkenhead
Birmingham
Blackburn
Blackpool
Borehamwood
Bournemouth
Bradford
Brighton
Brimington
Bristol
Bromsgrove
Brookmans Park
Broughton Astley
Burton upon Trent
Cannock
Cardiff / Caerdydd
Chatham
Chelmsford
Cheltenham
Chesham
Christleton
Clayton-le-Woods
Clifton
Colchester
Copmanthorpe
Corringham
Coventry
Crawley
Crook
Cullingworth
Danderhall
Denholme
Derby
Dewsbury
Doncaster
Dundee
East Kilbride
Edinburgh
Ellesmere Port
Exmouth
Glasgow
Gorebridge
Grays
Greenock
Grimsby
Guildford
Hamilton
Hartley
Heanor
Heathcote
Hedge End
Hemel Hempstead
Hertford
Heswall
Horley
Horwich
Huddersfield
Huntington
Inchinnan
Ingleby Barwick
Ipswich
Irlam
Iver Heath
Kings Hill
Kings Langley
Kingston upon Hull
Kirkheaton
Leeds
Leicester
Leyland
Lincoln
Liverpool
London
Lower Stondon
Luton
Maidenhead
Maidstone
Manchester
Mansfield
Marlow Bottom
Metropolitan Castlereagh
Metropolitan Newtownabbey
Milton Keynes
Motherwell
Neston
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newhall
Newport / Casnewydd
Newquay
Newton Aycliffe
Newton-le-Willows
Normanton
Northampton
Nottingham
Nuneaton
Ottershaw
Oxford
Peterborough
Plymouth
Porthcawl
Portsmouth
Preston
Reading
Redcar
Royston
Sheffield
Shelly Green
Slough
South Heighton
South Normanton
Southampton
Southend-on-Sea
Southport
St Albans
St Blazey
St Columb Road
Stevenage
Stockton-on-Tees
Stoke-on-Trent
Sunderland
Sunninghill
Sutton in Ashfield
Swadlincote
Swindon
Tamworth
Telford
Thornaby-on-Tees
Wakefield
Walton
Warrington
Washington
Westhoughton
Weybridge
Wickford
Wigan
Winterbourne
Worcester
Worksop
Writtle
York
 

Leave a Comment
54 Responses
  1. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

    Not wanting to knock Three’s ambition, but the two sites closest to me (both around 5 miles away) are put in area’s where very few homes exist within 1000ft of both masts.

    If they want to keep the title of “UK’s fastest 5g broadband” then I guess that should help no end.

    1. Avatar Lucian says:

      You can’t pick up any of them? Maybe with a directional antenna? A log periodic maybe or even a Yagi targeted at 3.5GHz.

    2. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

      Nah, they’re 5g anyway so well out of range for me even if I had a 5g router! (and I can assure you in the future that’s not going to happen after “making do” with a year of 4g home broadband.)

  2. Avatar Danny says:

    I live in one if those towns and there has been 5g for well over 9 months with three? Unless they mean the other cells are going 5g?

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      The list includes all of their sites, both the new additions and existing ones.

    2. Avatar Clint Craven says:

      Ha! Its hard to believe, TBH , I took the option to join 3 , four months ago . No lie , its an absolute shambles! Their business customer care team ( if such a thing exists) was something out of the ark , take in consideration, this was 2 contracts , neither of the actually operated as 3 advertised.

  3. Avatar JitteryPinger says:

    800 cells across 154 towns/cities is hardly something to brag about.

    I’m in Birmingham, very densely covered by EE for 5G, Vodafone have been quickly upgrading sites this year too pushing coverage into urban areas outside of the city centres,

    Three meanwhile do not cover any high streets, they have 5g cells randomly located around the city but I would say only about 4 mast have been enabled on the southside in total and not many more on the other side by the looks of it.

    However better than O2, they have one cell enabled in the city centre overlooking there store.

    1. Avatar em khan says:

      three 5g coverage is a joke in most parts of Birmingham. where it does work it is very good.
      please cover the existing cities better before rolling out to other areas but have patchy coverage everywhere. customers lose patience at some point and move.

  4. Avatar JayGreeny says:

    5G in Swansea for Three, but I didn’t see it on the list.

  5. Avatar Connor says:

    The list doesn’t contain Wolverhampton which has had Three 5G since launch.

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Knowing Three they probably consider that one to be part of Birmingham 🙂

    2. Avatar Lee tranter says:

      Where in wolves???? No 5g for me here

  6. Avatar Vibin4biden says:

    Swindon has been listed on Three’s lists of towns with live 5g since February, but it’s only been limited to an industrial area on the outskirts of town. in the last month or so they’ve seemingly activated another mast on the outskirts of town near the hospital, but there’s no indication as to if/when people living more centrally will be getting 5g anytime soon.

  7. Avatar Bob dilion says:

    “no speed caps and at no extra cost”…..so the cgnat restriction is going to be removed for game consoles? I highly doubt it….. Sigh

    1. Avatar Billy Nomates says:

      use the “3internet” APN instead of three.co.uk .. bingo, no CGNAT, real IP you can even port forward.

  8. Avatar Chris says:

    https://www.speedtest.net/my-result/a/6713916485

    818Mbs download 82Mbs up not bad in Crawley

  9. Avatar Salek says:

    I live in haslingden – they have patchy covrage in this town,
    i get 170 mbits down and 30 up, but its not listed above
    https://www.speedtest.net/my-result/a/6745379207

    1. Avatar Zakir Hussain says:

      My in laws live in Haslingden sunnybank Street Three 4G is so bad in the area I did complain they just said the 4G is very limited in the area nothing can be done have no problems on the 4G network in the area its just limited cause of where the mast is put up abit far that’s why.

      I got 5G broadband at where I live in East London E3 area get only 60mbps to 100mbps speeds.

      I will take my 5G broadband router there when I visit to see what speeds it gives and if any 5G singal can be picked up.

  10. Avatar Huw says:

    It would be nice if networks provided some sort of roadmap (Even if just short term) as to where 5G is coming next.

  11. Avatar Harry says:

    Would be good if 4g worked at LL538DA

    Other operators have full 4g at this post code

    Before all this 5g malarkey

  12. Avatar Billy Nomates says:

    me wonders how many of those listed towns and cities have any sort of decent coverage, or is it just 1 mast , tick box yes 5G here, move on.

  13. Avatar James says:

    This is really not an achievement. Coverage is super poor. Yes it’s in Sheffield. But a quick look at the coverage map shows it’s only just here. They should have to provide a higher percentage of coverage before being able to claim they provide a city or town with the service. I agree with a previous comment. One mast per city and move on isn’t the best approach.

    1. Avatar Michael V says:

      @James. I agree. All the Operators should be required to have a certain amount of coverage in a town/village/city before they can say We’ve got you covered here….
      As a postcode mast is not going to go all that far.
      I would say maybe just under half of a city before making any claims.

  14. Avatar Daniel P says:

    I don’t understand why they still don’t have 5G in Norwich. There are so many places on that list that are smaller, and all other networks have at least one 5G cell site in Norwich!

  15. Avatar An engineer says:

    I still don’t know why the whole industry in the UK is slower, suffers more latency, less reliability and suffers what seems like several orders of magnitude greater number of dropped calls than any other country I’ve visited.

    They’re still using the awful GSM codec invented in the late 1980’s early 90’s.

    Meanwhile my last trip to India not a single call used GSM thanks to universal VoLTE.

    If we are to make a success of things post Brexit, we need:
    – a regulator with some actual ability
    – completely relearn how to sack people who don’t deliver and generally hold people to account
    – completely relearn what we forgot in all things
    – have humility and accept most of our things are now inferior to the rest of the world.

  16. Avatar Andrew says:

    Well I thought Xmas had come early. I am on EE but I also have a PAYG 3 sim which I use as a backup. I am in Newport / Casnewydd and I live about 200M from the Clarence Place cell site ID 1966 which has 5 cells on it owned by Three and I can see it from my living room window. It’s about 1/2 a mile from the centre and the only one covering it and I am in between the centre and the cell site . So I fire up my 5G phone and activate my Three sim – set it to 5G preferred (as we don’t have any other 5G around here) and I wait… and I wait.. and I reboot and I wait..

    Nothing but 4g+ . I did get 20mbps down and 4mbps up for 1 speed test – and then it’s back to the usual slow speeds. I can only hope that, once they get a whiff that Three are here (and Three are actually showing 5G) EE will turn on 5G too – because those speeds (based on current speeds on 4g+) will set my modem on fire and EE have 12 cells on the same site.EE shows the speeds of each cell at max – Three does not.

    1. Avatar Andrew says:

      My bad – they have a splotch of coverage in a part of Newport I wouldn’t consider to be a “busy part” but it’s a few miles from me so here’s hoping they turn my cell on soon!

    2. Avatar Billy Nomates says:

      pretty interesting considering three and EE share masts through the MBNL partnership. You would have assumed if three puts in a 5G antenna, that EE would jump on board, and vice versa.

    3. Avatar Andrew says:

      Well I decided for fun to jump in the car and go and sit outside the tower block the masts are on. Nothing on EE for 5G but Three gave me this.. Not sure how many people were on it at the time – but not too shabby.

      https://i.postimg.cc/B6PXsCxN/Screenshot-2020-11-30-20-08-00-432-org-zwanoo-android-speedtest.jpg

    4. Avatar Andrew says:

      Sorry it was on 5G when I did the test. I put my EE sim back when I got in hence the 4G+

  17. Avatar Lee says:

    Been with three for 10 years and I just moved from them as 1.5mbps to 0.5mbps on 4g does not cut it anymore. I mean if they can not get 4g right what chance have they got. I went with o2 and get a nice 10mbps to 70mbps depending where I am and that’s all I want to stream and surf on my phone on the way to work. Could not even load webpages or send data txt with three at times.

    There backhaul data is just so poor

    1. Avatar This guy says:

      Not long before you have to come back to Three.

    2. Avatar Lee says:

      Dont think so and even if 02 where no good it would be voda or EE but since I tried them all on pay as you go I think I should be fine with my choice

  18. Avatar Pete nik says:

    It would be nice if they actually let you know which dang site you are supposed to connect to on 4g let alone 5g that ain’t nowhere near here internet and phone both on three sites seem to come and go like darn yo-yos

  19. Avatar Anonymous angry customer says:

    Instead of expanding, please spend some more on fixing the lack of signal in West London first.

  20. Avatar Wayne says:

    I really cannot see 3 mobile offering truly unlimited data for long the speeds im getting is shocking poor 0.03mb dl
    0.44mb Manchester city centre they are flood with thousand heavy leechers paying next to nothing..
    No way they can run a business offering 16 pounds unlimited data having people running their sim card like home broadband replacement download thousands Gigabytes each month EE tried this for 9 months by offering users 1000gb data now they back down to 600gb due to network overload…
    Yes I do have a EE sim contract they suffered the same issue here now the speeds seems to be back on track..

    1. Avatar Andrew says:

      Hmm.. EE still say 1000GB and then you get knocked to a business deal – which is oddly enough cheaper than the unlimited one!>

      I have done well over 600GB every month and had no problems?

    2. Avatar Andrew says:

      Scrub that you are right – if you dare to use your 600GB on EE you get punished by going onto a £30 a month business plan with 1000GB cap – according to the terms and the website for business.

      Got to love it

    3. Avatar Boba Fett says:

      Lol I’ve done 780GB so far on my Unlimited EE SIM thats in my Huawei B535. It’s too bloody expensive tho and 3 Has 5G in my area now so I’m going to them. I have them for my mobile and I get 140< on 4G+ on my phone.

  21. Avatar Grant Porterfield says:

    Would be helpful if they got their 4G network working correctly first. When you complain you get fobbed oFflint.

  22. Avatar Grant Porterfield says:

    Would be helpful if they got their 4G network working correctly first. When you complain you get fobbed off.

  23. Avatar m says:

    Oh and remind me, if I don’t actually live in a town, when will I be getting 5G then 🙁

  24. Avatar Ig Ng says:

    4G and 5G not working today at DN35 0PN , complained before and they sent me a new SIM, a delay tactic. Pathetic.

  25. Avatar Emil says:

    Useless customer service and road staff

  26. Avatar Zakir Hussain says:

    I live in East London area E3 my post code recently got 5G even before Three coverage checker saying 5G not available guess they where testing 5G now it says its available what I find odd is that my post code saying 5G not available small patch but a post code just across the street says 5G available guess there is not full potential 5G speeds at my post code I got 5G broadband I get full 5G bars 75dbi which is strong and get 95 score using the Al life app. I’m only getting 60mbps to around over 100mbps not the speeds like other people are getting on Three 5G.

    Im lucky to get 5G even tho it’s not available that’s why I’m getting below average 5G speeds cause I live near to an area where 5G is available that’s why it’s latching on to 5G network.

    What I’m hoping they will improve the speeds and bring faster speeds that we need my area for cable broadband is so bad only companies that use BT infrastructure can provide broadband I’m happy tho can’t complain.

  27. Avatar Carl O says:

    Chester isn’t in the list, though the EE/Three mast visible from my house has been out of service for almost 2 weeks.

    Poor show. But they aim to fix and go live with 5g once it is fixed.

    Fingers crossed.

  28. Avatar Dean says:

    Milton Keynes have had 4 5G sites live for a while with the rest of the town still on 4G.

    After waiting for coverage in my area for a while I gave up and ordered Gigafast.

    So this article had me concerned I should have waited a bit longer, I was just near a 5G site so tested and got 17mb down and 25mb up (slow than 4G on my local mast)

  29. Avatar Chris Watson says:

    My postcode says “No 5G” but my mobile shows I have 5G! Very confusing website too!

    1. Avatar Andrew says:

      Agreed. EE says nowt even though apparently they share the Three stuff. Three 5G is the first to Newport abelt a tiny bit of it – who would have thought that.

    2. Avatar Leex says:

      Use cellmapper someone in your area might have mapped the 5g signal (the dots are the actual phone reported signal)

      If you have a 5g phone (ideally in a car so it can be kept powered) you can also report signal it as well (it can take about a week for it to show up on there map) other note when data is idle for more then 15 seconds it might disconnect from NR but still show the 5g icon on your phone even thought it’s currantly on LTE only (I need to test to see if it still logs NR signal when not connected as I norm have a stream playing when driving (Bluetooth headset) so my data isn’t normally inactive

      if you look Orford Warrington and pick search > UK > ee > NR it show you 5g coverage) note by default it picks your network + lte when you re open the map (even if it says NR you just have to press OK again

  30. Avatar Senor Fats says:

    Ha, my Three 5G service has been down for the last week, supposedly maintenance on the local masts but no one can provide an estimate for how long this outage will last. Zero communication from Three about this, absolutely useless technical support. Not only that but I can’t even log into my Three router since the SSL certificate for the router page is saying that it has been revoked! Reported this but heard nothing back despite being promised a follow up call three days ago. Apologies everyone, I’m only venting here because there’s literally no outlet to do so where anyone from Three might hear it!

    1. Avatar Carl O says:

      Speak to the guys on Twitter, there is a social media live chat with English speakers and always been very helpful for me, even providing potential SLA on works being completed.

  31. Avatar Arman a h m says:

    Why your not including some unlimited plans for seafarers????? Update some plans for seafarers
    Thank you

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