Focus on 5G as Three UK to end 3G network at end of 2024 | Mobile | News | Rapid TV News
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In what is a milestone for the company, and the UK’s mobile industry, Three UK, which introduced 3G mobile services on 03.03.03, has announced that it is to close its 3G network in just over two and a half years’ time.
THREE 5G 22Dec2020
The operator said that the move to switch off 3G at the end of 2024 is designed to free up resources to allow the operator to focus on improving the 4G experience and rolling out as part of a £2 billion commitment including the acquisition of what it said was the UK’s largest 5G spectrum portfolio.

Three UK’s 3G and 4G network currently covers 99%, carrying just over a quarter of all mobile data traffic in the country. Demand for data is constantly increasing - the average data usage per customer, per month is now 19GB as at December 2021, up 20% year-on-year, thus said the operator, creating a need to continue investing in newer, faster, and more efficient technologies.

A research paper released by the company in April 2022 noted that Three UK customers were embracing 5G “wholeheartedly” with 5G usage now exceeding 3G. Indeed, 5G data carried on Three’s network was found to be now more than double that of 3G – overtaking it for the first time ever. The operator expects 5G to reach up to 35% of data usage by the end of 2022. The study added that the desire for faster connectivity has been driven by more widely available 5G devices with the number of 5G devices connecting to Three’s network also increasing by four times by the end of 2021 compared with the same time a year ago. This 299% growth from December 2020 to Dec 2021 meant that 2.2 million 5G devices were connecting to the network.

“3G kick-started the mobile revolution – and launched Three into the UK 20 years ago - but the future is undoubtedly 5G. As we continue to roll out our ultrafast connectivity, by not only upgrading our existing 4G sites but building new 5G sites, we’ll be in a position to switch off our use of 3G across our network by the end of 2024,” said Three UK chief technology officer David Hennessy. “As the leader in 5G deployment and the fastest network as rated by Ookla, we are focused on delivering our goal of providing better connectivity, every day, for every customer.”