British mobile network operator (MNO) Three UK has said its customers have already started seeing the benefits of a ‘significant upgrade’ to its 4G network. In a press release regarding the matter, the cellco noted that its infrastructure improvement programme will run until 2023 in tandem with its 5G rollout, the latter of which went live in Central London in August. Three UK said its current work programme includes new spectrum and antennas, with 6,000 of its sites (carrying 80% of its traffic) scheduled to be upgraded with new antennas and new 1400MHz spectrum. It anticipates the project will deliver speed improvements ‘of up to 150% for customers with compatible handsets’ and up to 50% for customers with other devices. Further, the cellco said it is recycling frequencies currently used for its 3G services, with 12,500 sites slated to see speed improvements of up to 40% as it switches some of its 3G spectrum over to 4G use.
According to Three UK the upgrades have already started in its ‘busiest’ areas, with customers expected to begin seeing the benefits by the end of the year, while it said 3,960 sites have already benefited from a 15% improvement in performance thanks to the deployment of carrier aggregation technology.
With the network improvements forming part of a total GBP2 billion (USD2.5 billion) investment in infrastructure which Three is undertaking to ‘deliver an all-round excellent customer experience, based on the combined power of a new cloud core, new IT systems and an enhanced network’, CEO David Dyson, noted: ‘While we are investing heavily in 5G, 4G is still very important for our mobile and home broadband services … These upgrades will ensure that our data hungry customers are getting the best possible 4G experience as 5G rolls out.’