Three set for major network upgrade this year


Operator to add spectrum to enable network coverage to travel further and Voice over LTE technology to increase call quality and availability 

Three is set for a major network upgrade this year with the addition of low frequency spectrum to extend coverage and Voice over LTE (VoLTE).

The operator will add low frequency spectrum to its existing network from September after acquiring 2 x 5MHz of 800MHz spectrum during the 4G auction in 2012.

Three said this spectrum travels further than high frequency spectrum and is better able to penetrate building, meaning it provides a larger coverage footprint and better indoor coverage. It added this will help wipe out current coverage blackspots.

By the Autumn, it will also introduce VoLTE technology. It said this will enable its customers to make and receive calls in places they have never been able to before, whilst experiencing high quality calling and speedy voice set up. At present, the operator’s 4G network purely runs data services.

Three added it will ensure this network upgrade is extended to all of its customers with a view to one million using VoLTE this year and 7.5 million reaping the benefits by 2016.

The operator’s 3G network covers 98 per cent of the UK population. It has 14,200 mast sites, which will rise to 17,000 by 2017.

Its 4G network, which went live in December 2013, now covers 55 per cent of the UK population, amassing 3.5 million customers. Overall, Three has 8.4 million active customers.

Three chief technical officer Bryn Jones said: “Adding low frequency spectrum to our network and enabling voice calls over 4G and WiFi will mean Three customers can stay connected in more places than ever before.

“With roaming at no extra cost also available in 18 destinations, Three is doing more than any other network to give our customers a reliable, quality experience wherever they are.”