British mobile network operator (MNO) Three UK has published an infrastructure update, in which it claimed it is ‘transforming its network and IT infrastructure to enhance its market-leading customer experience’. With the MNO aiming to begin offering a 5G home broadband service in August 2019, it noted that trials of this service are now underway in Camden and Wandsworth (both in London), with ‘sites up and running, delivering live 5G connectivity to participants’. According to the operator the pilot is being carried out to ensure that it is able to offer the best possible experience for customers when it launches 5G commercially. Alongside this development, Three UK also revealed that, as it builds towards the full commercial launch of a new core network provided by Finnish vendor Nokia, all of its staff have been involved in testing the infrastructure so as to help in optimising it for customers. The new infrastructure is fully 5G-ready and will allow it to manage the massive increase in data usage expected over the next few years.
Meanwhile, Three UK has also confirmed that, with 4G likely to remain ‘an important technology to [its] customers for years to come’, it is undertaking a widescale programme to refarm spectrum that is currently used for 3G services and upgrade 4G antenna masts on thousands of sites. Work reportedly got underway in Croydon last month to upgrade sites to new antennas and reallocate 10MHz of 3G spectrum for 4G use, in a move which it claimed ‘significantly’ improved performance and capacity on its 4G network. It noted that the refarming left 5MHz for 3G connectivity. Three UK has said the upgrade programme will be rolled out to ‘thousands more sites’ across the UK over the next couple of years.