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Three starts to prepare core network for 5G

Mobile operator Three has enlisted SSE Enterprise Telecoms to bring 20 core datacentres on-net as it prepares to start rolling out 5G

Mobile network operator (MNO) Three has signed a major contract with SSE Enterprise Telecoms to help it meet its network growth and expansion goals, and prepare for the first commercial roll-out of 5G in the next two to three years.

Initially, SSE is facilitating new fibre optic connections between 20 of its core UK datacentres in support of a network transformation project that will help Three enhance its 4G experience and support its 5G roll-out.

The multimillion-pound, phased agreement will also see SSE and Three work together to unbundle more BT exchanges over the next few years, in an attempt to help the MNO better serve its growing customer base.

In its most recent financial update, the UK’s smallest main mobile operator revealed it had topped the 10 million customer milestone for the first time. It also revealed that its customers were using an average of 6.8GB of mobile data per month – three times more than the average customers of its competitors – and this would only increase.

In light of this, enhancing its network will be core to Three’s continued success in the market, especially when taking into account that, in the April 2018 auction of core 5G mobile spectrum, Three only won 20MHz of spectrum – while EE and O2 won 40MHz apiece, and Vodafone 50MHz.

“We are putting our network on the best footing possible to meet the current and future demands of consumers. Our customers use up to 3.5 times more data than the rest of the UK, a demand which is only going to increase as we move towards a 5G world,” said Three CTO Bryn Jones.

“We are putting our network on the best footing possible to meet the current and future demands of consumers”
Bryn Jones, Three

“The decision to select SSE Enterprise Telecoms to assist us on this journey was straightforward. Its knowledge and ambitions for UK connectivity were clear and made it the natural choice.” 

SSE said the deal with Three demonstrated its wider commitment to connecting strategically placed commercial datacentres to its network to support its role in improving UK connectivity.

“Our continued investment has made us the go-to network provider to help UK businesses unlock their growth potential,” said Colin Sempill, managing director of SSE Enterprise Telecoms.

“As a connectivity provider, we understand how integral network infrastructure is to allowing technologies like 5G to reach their vast potential. We’re excited at the opportunity to assist Three UK in its journey to bring unrivalled experiences to its customers, while offering new connection options to our own.”

Read more about 5G

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  • Telecoms supplier Huawei has been updating the industry on its 5G vision at its annual Analyst Summit in Shenzhen, China, but shied away from making bold predictions.
  • The latest update on AT&T's mobile 5G network trials indicates the company will need to work faster to meet its goal of launching a commercial service by the end of the year.

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