Three UK confirms plans for nationwide L-band rollout as it reports results for H1 2019

2 Aug 2019

Mobile network operator (MNO) Three UK has revealed that for the six months ended 30 June 2019 its total revenue declined by 2% year-on-year, to GBP1.17 billion (USD1.42 billion). EBITDA was also down, falling 1% on an annualised basis to GBP721 million, while the MNO said that CAPEX had increased by 24% y-o-y to GBP155 million.

Alongside reporting its headline financials, Three UK outlined some operational highlights, reporting that ‘active network connections’ had increased marginally, to 11.7 million at end-June 2019, up from 11.4 million a year earlier. The cellco’s ‘active customer base’, meanwhile, rose by a net 100,000 to 10.2 million at mid-2019. Also of note, Three UK revealed that 87% of its customer base was using 4G at the end of the reporting period, compared to 84% a year previously, while 82% of all data usage is now carried via its LTE infrastructure (H1 2018: 75%).

With regards to its progress towards a 5G launch, Three UK noted that pricing for the next generation of mobile broadband technology has now been set. To that end, it confirmed that all new and existing customers will be able to access 5G data with no speed caps at no extra cost on all post-paid, SIM-only and pre-paid mobile plans including unlimited data tariffs.

Another revelation, meanwhile, was that the cellco is preparing for a nationwide rollout of L-Band technology, which it has suggested will lead to ‘further substantial speed and coverage improvements’. As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in September 2015 Ofcom confirmed it would allow the UK subsidiary of Qualcomm to transfer two tranches of spectrum in the 1400MHz band (the L-Band), with Three UK named as one of the recipients (the other being Vodafone UK). Having gained the requisite regulatory approval, Three UK was issued an updated licence for the 1472MHz-1492MHz block in October 2015.

United Kingdom, Hutchison 3G UK (Three UK)