Three has announced that it’s… almost ready to switch its 5G network on.
The mobile operator was supposed to join the 5G revolution at the tail end of 2019, but it pushed the launch back because it was running behind schedule.
Related: Best 5G phones
The company today announced that its 5G rollout will begin at the end of February, starting with 65 locations around the UK (the full list is at the bottom of this page).
EE was the first major UK mobile operator to launch its 5G network, which it did last summer. Vodafone wasn’t far behind, and O2 joined the fray in October.
However, what Three lacked in speed, it could make up for in… speed. Of a different kind.
It has repeatedly claimed that its 5G service will be “the fastest” in the UK, because it’s the only one that managed to acquire a 100MHz contiguous block of 5G spectrum covering 3580-3680MHz, which should allow for higher peak speeds and potentially better coverage too.
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU): “5G needs a significant amount of new harmonised mobile spectrum. Regulators should aim to make available 80-100MHz of contiguous spectrum per operator in prime 5G mid-bands (e.g. 3.5GHz) and around 1GHz per operator in millimetre wave bands (i.e. above 24GHz).”
All three of Three’s biggest rivals complained about the situation last year.
However, despite admitting that Three might be able to offer higher speeds and better coverage as a result, Ofcom concluded that the advantage would not be “so significant as to provide [Three] with an unmatchable competitive advantage over its competitors”.
Unsurprisingly, Three is going in hard on this point, in order to make up for lost time.
“Three is set up to be the fastest 5G network in the country; Three’s customers will benefit from the vast 5G capacity and speeds that only Three can offer, enabling the best 5G experience possible,” it announced today.
“Three will provide peak mobile speeds of up to 2x faster than other telco operators due to its substantial 5G spectrum holding. All of Three’s new and existing customers will have access to 5G with no speed caps and at no extra cost on all contract, SIM only and PAYG mobile plans.”
Here’s that list of locations we promised:
- Brookmans Park
- Hedge End
- Hemel Hempstead
- Lower Stondon
- Shelly Green
- St Albans