Three UK has announced it will launch its 5G network this August in London. In a press release Android Authority received via email, Three said it would initially launch its 5G network as a home broadband service, before rolling out home and mobile broadband options in 25 towns and cities by the end of 2019.
We don’t know in which locations it will appear this year, but Three is developing 5G infrastructure in Cardiff, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool — so it’s likely to hit one or more of those locations.
As for the network itself, Three suggests peak mobile speeds on its 5G network will be twice as fast as the competition, as well as providing a “more reliable connection and experience.” Three claims it can offer this with support from 140MHz of newly acquired 5G spectrum, which includes a 100MHz contiguous block.
“This market-leading spectrum portfolio, alongside investment in high capacity smart antennas, will deliver the fastest 5G network in the UK,” wrote Three in its press release.
What’s behind the claims?
Three’s acquisition of a 100MHz contiguous network block was controversial, though U.K. regulations authority Ofcom said it didn’t give the company an unfair advantage. Helpful as it may be, Android Authority’s resident technical writer Rob Triggs tends to agree that it’s not the be-all-and-end-all in the quest for superior 5G connectivity.
“A contiguous 100MHz block is a win for Three’s future capacity and speeds, but it’s far from the whole picture,” Triggs told me. “4G remains the building block for 5G, and carriers will be aggregating spectrum across existing and new bands to boost their speeds. EE, for example, currently bests Three for speeds and retains a much higher total spectrum holding for greater total capacity going forward. Three could certainly close the gap and potentially even overtake the speed of its competitors. But we should reserve judgement until 5G networks are clogged up with millions of users in a few years’ time.”
We’re still waiting on more details regarding Three’s plans, including pricing and compatible handsets, but we’ll let you know when we learn more. What are your initial thoughts on the rollout? Let me know in the comments.