Three is the smallest of the UK mobile operators with 10.9% of the UK market. They claim a 99.8% population coverage in the UK. They are third of the four operators in terms of download speed (18.78Mbps) and latency (48.15ms) [4G].
In the execution of the 3G auction the government wanted to protect a new license for a new entrant into the UK market. Three, owned by Hutchison telecoms, was the sucessfull company. They do not have a 2G network; but have extensive 3G, 4G and 5G networks. Three are at the forefront of offerring unlimited (or at least large data allowances) at a reasonable cost, thus they have attracted large data users. Additionally Three are marketing mobile WiFi as a true competitor to home fixed broadband.
The frequencies they use are :
|3600MHz - 3800MHz||Refactored Broadband||5G|
Three originally were awarded frequency at 2100MHz to run their 3G network, which they still use today. In pursuit of 4G frequency, Three purchases space at 800MHz which allows them to run 4G over large areas. Three were additionally awarded frequency at 1800 MHz by OFCOM as part of the EE merger agreement in which to run their 4G network. Three purchased only 20MHz of the 3.4GHz frequency band in which to run their 5G network, the smallest of the operators. However, as a bit of forward planning, Three purchased UKBroadband which owns a significant amount of frequency at 3.6-3.8GHz bandwidth which it plans to use, subject to OfCom approval, for 5G. More significantly is that this will give them a large "chunk" of continuous 5G frequency which is easier to manage than fragmented frequency.
Three was the last of the MNO to release their 4G network, preferring to concentrate on building up HSDPA+ which was delivering the same speed as initial 4G offerrings. Three are using this same strategy with their 5G offerring, that is planned to be implemented in August 2019 behind EE and Vodafone. They are busy building up their 4G+ network, and when releasing 5G they claim to have a faster initial network than their competitors. Initially Three will release their 5G network in parts of London with the aim of growing this to other London boroughs and larger UK cities throughout 2019 and 2020.
Three have some good deals for the consumer who wants lage amounts of data, including unlimited data calls and texts. For the large data deals, they also allow use of some entertainment sites, Netflix and others, outside the allowance. Their CEO is promoting large data usage as the sees the mobile Internet powered by 4G or 5G as a real competeitor to any land based system. Three run a number of high street shops as well as an online presence selling devices for their network.
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