Three UK customers just got the next best thing to 5G

UK network Three has activated 4G+ plus speeds, which should give current subscribers a timely boost ahead of the expected 5G rollout.

The firm says 4G+, which will appear as such in the status bar on compatible smartphones, uses the carrier aggregation technique to achieve a speed boost in the region of 15% to 33%.

Three says the tech is now in operation at 2,700 UK sites, in major cities like Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. The carrier aggregation should help to relieve some of the load in these densely populated areas, promoting faster LTE-A speeds.

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It works by combining multiple spectrum bands and frequencies in order to bolster the signal. The tech has already become widely used, including by Three’s rivals EE and Vodafone in the UK. Three says 50% of the phones on its network already support carrier aggregation, but everyone should still experience some benefits because 4G+ will free-up capacity.

Stepping stone

The network says its customers use more data than those on other networks and the 4G+ speeds will offer a stepping stone to the 5G network, which is expected to launch any time in the next year or two.

CEO Dave Dyson says: “Three customers are the highest consumers of data, with this trend expected to continue for several years. “As we ready our network for 5G, we’re moving quickly to put the right technology in place to deliver the most reliable mobile experience for our customers. This latest innovation plays a critical role in ensuring our customers will be able to make the most of their mobile devices, both now and in the future.”

Three says it has spent £300 million thus far on its preparations for the 5G rollout and is also collaborating with O2 to boost London’s fibre backhaul networks.

Are you excited for the arrival of 5G services in the UK? Will your next phone purchasing decision revolve around which phones are 5G ready? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.