In the first a two reports, Gordon meets 3 CEO Gareth Davies and learns of the network's ambitious plans to take on the telco giants.
I have long described 3 as the most progressive network in the UK and after a briefing this morning with impressive UK CEO Kevin Russell that viewpoint, if anything, has been strengthened.
In a brutally honest and refreshing roundtable, the straight talking company head outlined a hugely ambitious plan for 3 to virtually double its mast sites from 7,500 to 13,000 nationwide by 2010. If successful, the move will potentially give three the widest 3G coverage in the UK and – vitally – greatly increased mobile broadband speeds as the distance between cell towers is heavily reduced.
How fast? Well, if you can’t read headlines, up to potentially staggering 14.4Mbit HSDPA download rates and 5.7Mbit HSUPA uploads.
“We built a network for data and we must leverage that and not become another me too for voice,” explained Russell. “The appetite for mobile broadband will continue to grow rapidly. Our data centric offerings and Internet centric communications (Facebook, MSN, Email, Skype, etc) have doubled in the last 12 months. Internet behaviour is now moving from outside the home. “
While such talk may seem almost futuristic it must be stressed these steps are vital if 3 is to make any impression on the country’s so-called ‘Big Four’ telcos (Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile). MTR rates (more of which in my second article) currently cripple 3’s attempts to offer cheaper products to its customers despite it already being the best value network on these Isles.
14.4Mbit mobile broadband on the other hand, now that would win a few hearts and minds…