Data Driven Futures
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Three UK commits to £2bn 5G investment

Written by Peter Walker

Three UK has completed a number of key steps in its network improvement programme, as part of a wider £2 billion infrastructure investment, in preparation for the advent of 5G.

The 5G technology will provide capacity to meet the anticipated future demand for data, with UK consumers expected to be using 13 times more mobile data in 2025 than today.

As part of its network upgrade, the telecoms operator has:

• Acquired the UK’s leading 5G spectrum portfolio.
• Signed an agreement for the rollout of new cell site technology to prepare major urban areas for the rollout of 5G devices.
• Built a high-capacity dark fibre network, which connects 20 new, energy efficient and secure data centres.
• Deployed a 5G-ready, fully integrated cloud native core network in the new data centres, which at launch will have an initial capacity of 1.2 terabytes per second; a three-fold increase from today’s capacity.
• Rolled out carrier aggregation technology on 2,500 sites in the busiest areas.

The first commercial quantities of 5G smartphone and home broadband devices are expected to be available by the second half of 2019.

Three stated that it fully supports the government’s ambition to roll out 5G as quickly as possible and is working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to break down the barriers hampering an accelerated rollout, such as current planning legislation for mobile sites and access to public sites.

Chief executive Dave Dyson, said: “Also described as wireless fibre, 5G delivers a huge increase in capacity together with ultra-low latency – it opens up new possibilities in home broadband and industrial applications, as well as being able to support the rapid growth in mobile data usage.

“This is a major investment into the UK’s digital infrastructure,” he continued. “UK consumers have an insatiable appetite for data and 5G unlocks significant capability to meet that demand.”