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Three UK Adds New Anti-SPAM Filter and Continues 4G Upgrades

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021 (9:53 am) - Score 7,632
three_uk_5g_map_april_2021

Mobile operator Three UK has today issued a progress update on their various 4G and 5G (mobile broadband) network upgrades, which among other things reveals that they’ve now added their 1400MHz band to boost 4G speeds to over 1900 sites and have introduced a new anti-SPAM filter to protect text (SMS) messaging.

Firstly, in terms of their new ultrafast 5G network, a total of 1300 sites (masts and rooftop cell sites etc.) have now been upgraded. In order to support that some 3500 UK sites have also now been upgraded to 10Gbps capable transmission (backhaul capacity), which should give customers a faster, better and more reliable experience.

NOTE: Three UK are investing £2bn+ into their rollout of 5G technology.

The operator has also continued to deploy a 20MHz slice of the 1.4GHz L-Band (1452-1492MHz) spectrum, which has now been added to 1,900 of their UK cell/mast sites (up from 1,500 in February); it’s claimed this “will increase download speeds by up to 3 times,” but that’s only true if you have a device that can use it (e.g. iPhone 11 – 12, Google Pixel range, Samsung’s S8 – S21; recent OnePlus and Oppo devices etc.).

David Hennessy, Chief Technology Officer at Three UK, said:

“The investment we’re making in our network and IT infrastructure is vital to delivering on our promise of providing better connectivity, every day for every customer. Despite unprecedented challenges presented by a global pandemic, our 5G and 4G rollout is going strong and we’re making sure our customer remains at the centre of every decision we make.”

However, one of the more interesting developments in today’s update is that the operator recently introduced a new anti-spam filter to their network (this started to come online at the very end of 2020), which is designed to better target and block modern forms of spam and fraudulent SMS messages (e.g. smishing scams).

The new filter, which has now been widely deployed, is said to have already resulted in a reduction of more than 90% in reports from Three UK customers to the Spam Reporting Service (7726) in the last few months. The operator is now “continuing to build, test and implement its own filtering rules to keep up with the latest fraud trends.”

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28 Responses
  1. Michael V says:

    Definitely seen more speed improvements this last few months from last summer.
    Coverage is getting better also for VoLTE

  2. Anonymous User says:

    Is 1400 a new frequency Mark? If this is what they are rolling out, can’t think of a single handset that will support it!

    1. CarlO says:

      1400mhz or Band 32 had been around a while, makes such the difference especially with carrier aggregation (for me b20 and b32 bring speeds around 60-100mbps).

      You’d be surprised how many devices over the past few years do support it.

    2. John H says:

      My pixel 3a supports and uses it, as does my B715 4G router.

    3. Mark Jackson says:

      The article literally lists several supporting handsets :).

  3. CarlO says:

    They are forever upgrading in Chester it seems based on their status checker: I just wish they would put 5G towards the city and include 700mhz spectrum.

    Currently on the Voxi £10 unlimited scheme (I work, just uploading a blank photo works) but if Three sort out their 5G offering here, not over a field, then it may sway me back to Smarty.

  4. Buggerlugz says:

    “it’s claimed this “will increase download speeds by up to 3 times,”

    great, I’ll be able to get 9Mbps after 6pm daily then……..

    1. Connor says:

      Honestly the 1500mhz uplift is actually really good for Three customers. Switching from a phone that did support it (OnePlus 8 Pro) to one that doesn’t (Samsung Fold 2) cut my average 4G speeds of between 200-300 in Wolverhampton down to a max of 40 on my spare Three SIM.

      If you’re on Three and have a device that supports it in an area its deployed, Three is very competitive especially if the phone also supports 5G.

    2. Carl says:

      Connor, the Samsung should support band 32 however probably not connecting to it by choice.

      Download Samsung Band Selector from the App Store and try opting for band 32 and another band IE for me band 20 and band 32 work perfect.

      But having open band selection b default rarely connected to band 32 as the phone predominantly linked to band 3 over strong band 20. Band 3 wouldn’t aggregate with 32 oddly.

    3. Carl O says:

      I stand corrected. My bad. 32 isn’t supported 🙁

    4. Connor says:

      Not a worry Carl I was surprised when it didn’t support it too.

      As for your issue of band 32 not aggregating with band 3. I find it prefers to aggregate with 3 and 1.

    5. Carl says:

      Yeah I was surprised too.

      Band 20 – 6mbps
      Band 3 – up to 10mbps
      Band 3, 20, 32 – 120+mbps in my bedroom window only
      Band 3 and 32 – same as band 3 alone
      Band 20 and 32 – 60-80mbps most places, though this won’t work in Chester centre it’s reliant on band 3 and whatever else it aggregates with (not checked properly)

      So many people have commented on the strange setup. Maybe it’s just how the mast has been configured, possibly done wrong I don’t know.

      Without band selector, it stays with band 3 with 1-2 bars signal annoyingly, even though band 20 gives 3-4 bars signal.

  5. Edward Hunter says:

    I think it great I currently get 350 – 600 mb in Staffordshire via thre 5g home broadband service, but I really want to see Apple Watch support along with esim,

    1. Buggerlugz says:

      Let me guess Edward, you’re in the middle of nowhere or the outskirts of a town, where three like to put they’re new 5G masts?

  6. Gigabit says:

    Are they going to fix their London network, ever? It simply doesn’t work in many places.

    1. Buggerlugz says:

      No, they’re incapable of fixing mast contention IMHO. Say they’ll get around to it, but years later it’s just getting slower and slower month on month.

  7. Arch says:

    Mast congestion is definitely an issue where I live. I’d really like to see improvements on the 4G side of things as even after all this time, not only is it very patchy still, you’re better off using 3G a lot of the time to get any decent speeds.

    1. Buggerlugz says:

      When’s 3G ever been “decent” Arch?

  8. Bishop Brennan says:

    Well done! SPAM filter very much welcomed.

    Lets face it, all SMS spamming will be done on PAYG throwaway sims.

    Why not make ALL NEW PAYG connections limited to texting/calling 100 different numbers max per month. That would sort out the phishing problem immediately.

    If you want ‘unblocked’ provide your passport+driving or topup for 12 months consecutively?

    1. Damien says:

      Iornic – I never got any spam until I went to three – seems they sold my number to someone and it was spamming until the day I cut it off 10 years later.

    2. Bubbles says:

      I got spammed on vodafone. never had a worse experience. i got a new number from three and it turns out the previous owner committed tax fraud and thats why i kept getting calls from HMRC (not a scam, the real deal)

  9. Darren says:

    Anti-spam filter, so Three will stop all spam filters
    Shouldn’t it be just that they have added a spam filter?

  10. boggerlugz says:

    three has improved dramatically in newcastle since the end of 2020. I see 5G in places where i wouldnt expect. the fast speed i observer on a speed test being 996mbps.

    I for one are fed up of the serial complainers on here re poor speeds on three, if its that bad why stay with them?

    Totally happy with three, where I live its a no brainer.

  11. JP says:

    Band 32 is definately a winner with Three, however I also see issues that will surely be backhaul related afffecting a ‘few’ locations near me for both the L-Band and 5G upgrades.

    Three does seem to be pretty much everywhere trying to install new masts currently and going at it alone without MBNL (EE) and this is welcomed by me personally but not so much by councils who are refusing applications in very large numbers.

    I feel fairly confident is saying, many issues with Three’s network seem to be tied to sites that are MBNL and the same sites ‘can’ show issues for EE too (though EE was more robust in the past compared to Three)

    Many obviously knock three for issues with slow speeds on the network, but hey, you knocked the others back in the day because they didn’t offer unlimited data or because prices where high…. well nothing comes cheap without problems.

    1. Leex says:

      My 2 local masts (the one closer to me is a microwave dish that’s linked to the first mast site) are NBNL and three is really bad in this site as it still hasn’t been upgraded to 4g+ (ee is getting away without 4g+ because they have 2600 enabled on both masts)

      problem with the main mast is the building inside is eventually
      Going to be converted into domestic and the power for NBNL is provided by the owner (doesn’t have its own DNO) of the building and he isn’t exactly to I interested in the NBNL site been there or not (if He turns off the power it kill the main and repeater site as the second site doesn’t have a hard line link) unsure who I really need to contact as high risk of ee/3 for over 500m square area having zero signal or 500+ houses or so and businesses

      Vodafone already abandoned the site (its still powered, cells still on building ( amplifiers I side the building to cells are still powered as well) and the cab is still on the top floor)

      Vodafone they set up a new but not a good positioned mast site about 100m away, they didn’t even plan to install 5G on it due to the design of mast they installed (but it not ideal as the old building it self blocks 25% of the signal ark, building is basically bomb proof (built like the pentagon muti layer Steel, reinforced walls and floors and support structures)

  12. SH says:

    I have just installed Three’s 5G Home Broadband in a rental flat in Marylebone W1 – I just put the Huawei 5G router by the window (4th floor flat) and I got 220Mbps (tested at 7pm) download which is pretty good. The flat is on the edge of Three’s 5G coverage according to their map so I think this is a good result. I also tried the router at my house in NW London, again on the map it’s at the edge of the 5G coverage and achieved 330Mbps download speed – this wasn’t even by a windows – just in a top floor bedroom. So certainly in London there seem to be some improvements in the network coverage.

  13. Peppered Lemons says:

    Is Northern Ireland ever going to get 5g from Three?

    1. Bubbles says:

      It already has it:D

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