British mobile network operator (MNO) Three UK claims to have completed ‘a number of key steps in its network improvement programme’ as part of a wider GBP2 billion (USD2.6 billion) infrastructure investment being undertaken in preparation for the launch of 5G. As part of its network upgrade, Three claims to have: acquired the country’s ‘leading 5G spectrum portfolio’; signed an agreement for the rollout of new cell site technology to prepare major urban areas for the rollout of 5G devices; built a super high-capacity dark fibre network, which connects 20 new data centres; deployed a 5G-ready, fully integrated cloud native core network in the new data centres, which at launch will have an initial capacity of 1.2TBps; and rolled out carrier aggregation (CA) technology at 2,500 sites in the ‘busiest’ areas.
On the back of these developments, the cellco argues that it is ‘best placed to provide a market-leading 5G service due to its substantial 5G spectrum portfolio’ and has suggested that the first ‘commercial quantities’ of 5G smartphone and home broadband devices will be available by H2 2019. Having said it ‘fully supports’ the British government’s ambition to roll out 5G as quickly as possible, the MNO noted that it is working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to ‘break down the barriers hampering an accelerated rollout’ of the next generation of mobile broadband technology, such as current planning legislation for mobile sites and access to public sites.
Commenting on the company’s endeavours, Three UK chief executive Dave Dyson was cited as saying: ‘This is a major investment into the UK’s digital infrastructure. UK consumers have an insatiable appetite for data and 5G unlocks significant capability to meet that demand … We have been planning our approach to 5G for many years and we are well positioned to lead on this next generation of technology. These investments are the latest in a series of important building blocks to deliver the best end to end data experience for our customers.’