Spectrum update.

You might have seen or heard about mobile phone spectrum in the news recently. It’s a topic that’s been brought into focus by the planned 4G spectrum auction due to take place next year, and it’s a subject that’s really important to us.

Why? Well, put simply, radio spectrum is the lifeblood of a mobile network. It’s the radiowaves that carry your mobile calls, send your texts and connect you to the internet, and as a result, the spectrum up for sale at next year’s auction will be hugely important  in shaping the quality and type of services mobile networks will offer in the future.

Here’s a quick potted history of how spectrum has been distributed in the UK to date.

At the moment, Three only has a licence to use radiowaves in the 2.1Ghz frequency range. This bandwidth was auctioned by the Government in 2000 for mobile network operators to run 3G technology. Together Three, Orange, T-Mobile, O2 and Vodafone paid in excess of £22bn for the right to use it.

Other spectrum exists, of course, and a fair amount was allocated to Vodafone, O2, Orange and T- Mobile in the 1980s and ‘90s when they introduced the UK’s first 2G mobile services.

Vodafone and O2 each have spectrum in the wavelengths around 900Mhz.  Vodafone and O2 also have a small quantity of 1,800Mhz spectrum, while T-Mobile and Orange (now under the combined name Everything Everywhere) have the rights to the rest of the 1,800MHz frequency band.  These mobile operators pay a comparably smaller sum to the Government each year for the rights to use it.

Up until January this year, both the 900Mhz and 1,800Mhz bandwidth could only be used for 2G mobile phone services – i.e. the basic calls and texts.  However in January this year Ofcom, which regulates the telecoms industry on behalf of the Government, decided to permit 3G services on all bandwidths.

They did this without charging the operators with the old legacy 2G spectrum holdings any more money for the advantage, and without redistributing the spectrum as other countries have done to ensure all the mobile networks have access to similar frequencies.

This change is significant, and in our view has created an imbalance in the UK mobile market. Suddenly, at no extra cost to them, four of the five operators have access to masses more spectrum for 3G data use, without the total amount of spectrum being balanced out amongst everyone.

So next year’s auction is important because it presents Ofcom with a unique opportunity to even things up by making two further bands of spectrum available.  These are the 800Mhz bandwidth, currently being used by the analogue TV signal, and spectrum at 2.6Ghz – currently being used for some radar applications.

Naturally, we’re interested in both these frequencies, because they both offer considerable benefits to our customers and the services we can offer.

The lower the frequency the further the mobile signal will travel.  So running 800Mhz on Three’s network of almost 13,000 base stations would enhance our current network coverage across the UK.

Meanwhile the higher 2.6Ghz frequency spectrum is great at carrying larger quantities of data – so again, add some of that to our network and the speed and capacity we can offer customers will soar – great news for smartphone users and those relying on our Mobile Broadband service to access the web.

Ultimately, of course, we also want the spectrum to ensure we can continue to lead the mobile internet revolution and bring to the market the kind of next generation technologies customers in other countries are already beginning to see – such as LTE or 4G.

Three’s focus has always been on opening up the advantages of smartphones and Mobile Broadband to as many people as possible – whether through pricing, coverage or convenience.  For us, getting access to more spectrum, and pushing for next year’s auction not to be delayed unnecessarily, is about levelling the playing field and continuing with our ambition to help people discover those simple, new and exciting everyday things that make mobile so valuable to everyone.

69 Responses to Spectrum update.
  1. Moderator: Lauren

    @Ashley – the S4 should work on our network, yes. :-)

  2. Ashley

    Hello! I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 that is HSPA+ 850MHz, will that work with the three network? I’m from The Bahamas but my phone is unlocked and I’m moving to the UK to study. I hope this works.

  3. Moderator: Megan

    @Jacob – Unfortunately the S3 GT-19300 isn’t 4G/LTE compatible. The link you have provided is to the newer version, the S3 GT-I9305, which is compatible with 4G/LTE. At present, Three use 1800Mhz. If you take a look here you will find more information on our new purchase of 800Mhz which we expect to roll out later in the year.

  4. jacob

    Please can you tell me what frequencies the “3 Mobile” Network uses in the U.K?

    I would like to either buy or make my own external antenna, any recommendations?

    I am using the “3 Mobile” Network with a Samsung S3 GT-I9300,

    I looks like my phone will work with the following frequencies:

    “2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
    3G Network HSDPA 850 / 900 / 2100
    4G Network LTE 800 / 1800 / 2600″
    (source – http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_i9305_galaxy_s_iii-5001.php)

  5. Moderator: Johanna

    @Barathan – I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that. Probably best to get some advice from 333 and they’ll be able to give you info on Home Signal and whether you’re eligible.

  6. Barathan

    My house is having signal problems inside. If I buy a 2.1 Hz booster, technically should be ok?

    Regards
    Barathan

  7. Moderator: Lauren

    @Rob – Hi there, if you send your full postcode (we won’t publish it) we can check for upgrades in your area. I can also check if you’ll get 2G fallback in your area too. Home Signal is currently only on offer to certain customers that meet specific criteria, if you call 333 (or 0843 373 3333) from another number you can request to speak to our 2nd line network support team who can advise if you are eligible.

  8. Rob Shields

    Hey. I have just signed up with three on a rolling month contract having come out of a two year contract with O2. Due to living in a rural location I have kind of been forced down the O2 route as they were the only operator who I coud achieve a decent phone signal with at home presumably due to the lower frequencies they own allowing greater penetration into the building. That said I could never get a 3G signal in the local area. I have yet to activate my 3 sim card but am a little worried as the coverage checker states I may have issues inside with both data and voice. I assume now that 2g roaming has been de activated in my area and it is all or nothing in terms of the 3G signal. Also I know that 3 broadcast at 2100mhz which does not as readily penetrate buildings. I simply need to have service at home due to my profession. Aside from this worry everything else about three looks great including the current dual hspda upgrades to the networks plus ambitions to obtain a portion of the 800mhz band in the forthcoming lte auctions. In the event that I struggle with indoors reception would it be possible to get my hands on a home signal booster ?? I am waiting for the new iPhone to launch before committing to a new 2 yr contract and intend to use this period to find the best network for coverage and performance. If I could achieve a reliable signal at home with three I would readily sign up for 2 years. Your thoughts comments and opinions welcomed.

  9. Moderator: Johanna

    @PeterW – Just checking this out for you…

  10. PeterW

    If “3″ get access to spectra other than 21MHz, will we need new phones, dongles or MiFis to access it or are all “3″ devices designed to use other frequencies?

  11. Mike B

    Regained our confidence in actually being in touch with each other. I meant to say.

  12. Mike B

    It’s over 9 months now since we left Three and during those months have never had a situation with no signal.
    Looking back on our time with Three I can almost see the Stockholm Syndrome of ‘justifying’ no signal periods as normal and something that could be lived with. (which we did for months after the Orange 2g switch off. All of this is a non issue now we have left and we have bregained

  13. Dave

    Hi Mods,

    This is my second post on the spectrum update forum.

    It would appear the OFCOM are very keen to have 4 mobile operators bidding on the new spectrum , this being in their words to ensure there is healthy competition in the market. There is some useful information online in regards to some of the other operators stalling, indeed trying to hijack the auction for their own gain. I know you wont want me to name names but the two operators with the shortest and the longest names in the industry are responsible for this. People, please read the OFCOM literature available online and you will probably agree with my proposal which I outline below.

    OFCOM ought to award the four operators each a maximum of 25% of the available spectrum to each of the 4 operators. This would put a stop to the bickering and delay that has resulted in us being vitrually the last country in the EU to adopt 4G technology. I think it is disgraceful the way that they have been allowed to stall this process for their own financial gain and was furious when I read the article. Some would say “what if an operator does not want to buy a 25% share” – simple answer is divide the remaining spectrum up between the operators that do.

    Some of the other operators were gifted 2G spectrum in the 80s and 90s which they are being allowed to “reuse, and at little or no cost to them and this is why they are delaying the auction.

    I am pleading with 3 at this point, this post might be seen as unsuitable for publication as the operators in question might see this as being comercially objectionable, if not published here I will post it elsewhere on the net, why, because it is a disgrace that OFCOM and the government are allowing them to hijack the process.

  14. Stephen

    Let’s really hope you guys get lots nearly all let’s say 99.9% of the 800mhz & 2.6ghz spectrum because that’s not fair that’s the others should be hoging all the 800 & 1,800mhz spectrum yea I know that you can only use the 2.1ghz spectrum. The spectrum your using is brilliant for speed because I’m getting 2.6 mbps down 2.3 mbps up outside the 3Store Albert Sq Manchester today & that in my mind is bloody fantastic. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for my home the speeds have really really dropped since December but I use my.WiFi when I’m here anyway, but it would be brilliant to have mobile network speed there whenever I need it there’s factors in there somewhere so I won’t knock you, its going to be the weather, Feel free to email my if you can over this ta Keep your fantastic network performance

  15. Moderator: Sedge

    @ Blair Pollard – Sorry to hear you’re having issues in your area. Could you send through your full postcode so I can look into this for you.

  16. blair pollard

    Will this sort out you crappy network from going down every 2-3 days in my area this service is shocking.
    When my contract is up unlimited data or no unlimited data im leaving i want a phone I CAN PHONE PEOPLE ON not just 999

  17. Moderator: Kaz

    @Loyd – I can confirm there is no fair usage policy on the One Plan, the data is unlimited and is not restricted. All we ask is that its only used for personal use.

  18. Lloyd

    In section 6.5 (d) of Pay Monthly Terms and Conditions, it says: ” You must not use 3 Services, the SIM or 3 phone number or allow anyone else to use 3 Services, the SIM or 3 phone number for illegal or improper uses. For example to download, send or upload content of an excessive size, quantity or frequency . We will contact you if your use is excessive.”

    What does this mean regarding The One Plan? Is this a fair usage policy of some kind? I’m a little confused :(

  19. Moderator: Johanna

    @Lloyd – Yes indeed :-)

  20. Lloyd

    Can the iPhone 4S achieve speeds on HSPA+ of up to 14.4Mbps?

  21. Roger Thorne

    Thank you for your response.
    Normal service was returned this afternoon.

  22. Moderator: Sedge

    @ Roger Thorne – That’s right – bad weather can affect our coverage. I’ve taken a look at your postcode and there’s also an issue with one of your local masts which is why you may be experiencing coverage issues. The issues been raised and our team are working on fixing it, unfortunately we can’t confirm the basestation here! You’ll need to tweet @ThreeUKSupport of give 333 a call for that one.

  23. Roger Thorne

    On Monday evening we had strong winds and heavy rain.I know bad weather can affect mobile signal as we had hardly any signal that evening when we normally get good indoor cverage.
    Today this situation has not improved and we are struggling to use our broadband and our phones are almost unusable and so I am there must be an issue with a base station somewhere. Has there been any issues reported in this postcode area?
    Could you tell me which basestation I am using in this area?
    Roger Thorne
    SN14 [Removed by mod]

  24. Moderator: Kaz

    @Lloyd – I can confirm that customers on The One Plan, or anyone else with AYCE data do not get throttled.

  25. Lloyd

    Are customers on The One Plan subject to their speeds being throttled with the AYCE data?

  26. Moderator: Johanna

    @Lloyd – Coverage Checker doesn’t include details of all maintenance taking place, we use an internal tool. Apologies if that’s caused confusion!

  27. Lloyd

    I have always been a true believer in Three’s network. Some people look at Three and think ‘rubbish’ but they have no idea why Three has an unfair advantage – because of the unfair distribution of the spectrum. I know that once Three have access to 800Mhz and 2.6Ghz, its network will be truly amazing especially with the increase in the quality of signal. Vodafone and O2 have a major advantage by using 3G on 900Mhz, but they’re not making much use of it. Once Three has access to more parts of the spectrum, it will actually make use of its advantage and shoot right to the top.

    I’m with you all the way, Three!

  28. Lloyd

    @Sedge – The Three coverage checker said that there is no maintenance planned for my area at the moment??

  29. Moderator: Sedge

    @ Lloyd – I’ve taken a look at your postcode, there’s currently some work being carried out in your area that could be affecting your coverage. Our team will complete the work as soon as they can.

  30. Lloyd

    @Johanna – SA10 [Removed by mod]

  31. Moderator: Johanna

    @Lloyd – Sure thing, I’ll need a full postcode from you though please? (I won’t publish it)

  32. Lloyd

    I’m having signal issues at SA10 :( Could you guys please check to see what’s going on?

  33. Moderator: Sedge

    @ Sunjay Bhogal – Unfortunately I can’t confirm that, you’ll need to tweet @ThreeUKSupport for exact dates or give 333 a call :)

  34. Sunjay Bhogal

    @ Moderator: Sedge, Thank you for reply. Any idea when the work in my home area CR0 [Removed by mod] will be completed ?

  35. Moderator: Sedge

    @ Sunjay Bhogal – Great to hear you have good coverage at your work, I’ve taken a look at your second postcode and you appear to be in an area with strong indoor and outdoor coverage, there’s some work going on in your area at the moment which could be affected the strength of your coverage. When the works complete you should see an improvement. We don’t throttle speeds on our network but we do manage traffic on busy masts at peak times, you can read more about that here.

  36. Sunjay Bhogal

    Hello, having network speed issues. At work during the day at Central London Post code SE1 [Removed by mods], my download speed is around 5 meg which is excellent, however when I get home in postcode CR0 [Removed by mod] during the evening and sometimes most weekend, the internet speed can be low as 0.5 meg which is not good. Can you tell me if there are problems in my home area or are you throttling my internet speed. I am on the One Plan eat much as you want data and I am tethering as well.

  37. Moderator: Sedge

    @ David – We’re always working on ways to strengthen and improve our coverage so hopefully you’ll start to see an improvement soon. If you’re currently unhappy, I could arrange a call for you with our customer service team to discuss your options with your contract? Let me know if you’d like us to arrange this for you.

  38. David.

    @Kaz or Sedge,

    Did you have any advice for me regarding the signal issues i’m having?

    As I said any help or advice would be appreiciated.

  39. Moderator: Kaz

    @Kenny Mack – Sorry to read that, I will send you an email requesting some account details, once we’ve received a reply I’ll arrange for someone to contact you to discuss this in more detail.

  40. Kenny Mack

    I purchased a phone from 3 mobile on Friday 2.12.12 however there is no service at all at my postcode ( Removed). How do I get a refund?

  41. Moderator: Kaz

    @JONATHAN – We don’t use Carrier IQ to collect data here at Three.

  42. JONATHAN

    Hello
    Do you know if three uses Carrier IQ on any of it’s phones.
    Thanks

  43. Moderator: Sedge

    @ Jonny_MK – I’ve taken a look at your postcodes – you appear to have good indoor and outdoor coverage in MK10 – there’s currently no planned work for that area. As for your second postcode, you should also have good indoor and outdoor coverage but there’s work under way at the moment which could be impacting your coverage. This work is due to finish soon, unfortunately I cannot confirm timings but when it’s complete you should see an improvement.

  44. David.

    @Kaz,

    Thanks for checking. I can get good coverage outdoors but terrible coverage indoors when I’m at home.
    I was given the option to leave but I’ve been with 3 for 7/8 years with 2 contracts and was told that it would get sorted eventually, so I chose to stay. I’ve since renewed both contracts in the hope that the problem would be resolved sooner rather than later.

    The problem seems to be that during voice calls I can hear other people but they can’t hear me. sometimes the call will get cut off.

    I also have mobile broadband with yourselves but will probabily have to cancel this soon as the signal is just not good enough to keep paying for.

    I know a few other people on 3 locally and they seem to have similar problems when at home.

    I still don’t want to leave, but I would appreciate any help or advice.

    Thanks again.

  45. Jonny_MK

    @Kaz – MK10 [Removed by mod] and MK7 [Removed by mod].

  46. Moderator: Kaz

    @David. – Thanks for supplying your postcode, I’ve checked coverage in your area and can’t see any mast issues. you should indoor and outdoor coverage, are you still experiencing issues?

  47. Moderator: Kaz

    @Jonny_MK – Please can you supply a full postcode and I’ll check.

  48. martin.Cat

    @4g.boy I never said Three got 3g for free but they got package A with the guarantee of roaming on 2g and that meant they could start a phone company with no masts of their own at that stage. With out this Three would have took a very long time to get established. One to one / t mobile staredt inside M25 first and took a long time to cover the country

    What were the prices of the 2G spectrum licenses? I dont go back that far nor does google but I also remember at that time Orange entered the market with the digital coverage.

    My point is that yes it maybe a little unfair but in the past Three has gained favour and has to deal with iton this occassion, whilst waiting for the new auctions. I bet the other networks have thought it was unfair that Three got the original help and were able to establish the 3G network and its no coincidence that three have the better 3g network so guess the use of 2g for 3g now allows others to catch up

  49. David.

    @Sedge, Yeah no problem. The postcode is (removed)

    Thanks.

  50. Jonny_MK

    @Sedge – I heard three are supposed to be ending their 2G roaming agreement with orange but this hasn’t happened in my area yet. Also my mast doesn’t appear to support 14.4 Mbps HSPA yet, I heard this is being rolled out too. Can you please to see when these two improvements will come to my area?

    Many Thanks,

  51. Moderator: Sedge

    @ David – Sorry, we can’t locate that postcode. Could you send it through again :)

  52. james vincent

    The Reframing of the 2G bands to allow 3G/HSPA usage was greatly needed and am very happy ofcom finally allowed this for Vodafone, O2 & everything everywhere. But it HAS caused a big imbalance for the UK. 3 should have got some 900mhz from O2 & vodafone. 1800mhz would be usless for them ‘cos no device supports 3G over 1800mhz [yet]. When the 4GLte sale goes ahead 3 should be allowed to get a decent block of 800 & 2600mhz & also some of everything everywhere’s 1800mhz, if we are to see 3G/4GLte support over that band.
    The other three networks seem to play together on some things & leave 3 out of everything. This needs to be taken note of by ofcom.

  53. stew

    How will Ofcom make this fair ? Will they take into account providers who have scored well in quality of service in all areas , from customer service to quality of network and value for money ? I hope the consumer is in Ofcoms mind when this auction goes ahead as I fear the government will sell it to the highest bidder without a thought to service users

  54. David.

    @Kaz,

    Yes please, you could have a look if you don’t mind. My postcode is S43 [Removed by mod].

    Thank you.

  55. 4G.boy

    @martin.cat You stated “… the goverment made one package very attractive so that a new operator would come in. Step up Three UK this was your lucky day. Other operators paid vastly inflated prices to get 3g bandwidth …”. In fact, Three paid £4.4bn for their licence. Of the four 2G incumbents, Voda paid £5.9bn whilst the others all paid around £4bn each – so no way did Three pay any less for the spectrum. So why should the other four be able to re-use 2G spectrum for 3G services ? The governemnt needs to sort this imbalance out asap.

  56. Bob X

    Interesting article – thanks – and one that goes someway to explaining why friends/colleagues on other networks get (much?) better coverage but conversely lower speeds than I get with my “clunky, old SE X10″ on Three. So here’s one customer hoping you get all the 800 spectrum allocation you want – personally speaking I find the speeds attained very impressive already. As for LTE, well as far as I’m concerned that’s _maybe_ for the next renewal after the next one for me (July), I’ve been hearing stories from the States that LTE phones have dramatically increased power demands – meaning that daily charging (or worse!) is a requirement – in which case, it’s not for me.

    Quick comment on the statement ‘martin.Cat’ made: “even loyal customers are deserting due to lack of service poor customers services and increased cost of renewals and long contracts”. I’ll second this and argue that perhaps this is Three’s “Achilles Heel”, given that you’ve probably the best plans out there for the data user – bar none. I’ll second the warning that other teleco’s – especially T-Mobile – are starting to slowly catch up but with their greater coverage spread.

  57. stew

    Does this also mean that the company with the deepest pockets can monopolies the airwaves and buy as much bandwidth as they can afford ?

  58. Moderator: Kaz

    @David – Would you like me to check for any mast upgrades in your area? If so, please supply a full postcode and I’ll take a look.

  59. Ashley H

    It is all very well having signals that penetrate deeper into buildings and offer more coverage for customers overall BUT whilst I very rarely have a problem getting a signal I do have huge issues actually getting any internet when connected if I am in a densely populated area. For example Portsmouth has a large student population and weekend and evening internet here is absolutely abysmal. When I move the same equipment to a more rural area (or when the university is closed in summer) I get a fantastic internet experience. This is just my experience of one city.
    So rather than squinny, bleat and whine about more coverage, how about getting a decent internet experience to those already on the poor service that you already provide?
    Worse than that, if you are already failing to provide a decent service in densely populated areas then surely more coverage would mean more connections which would mean an even worse internet experience for subscribers?
    Better signal is no good without investment in capacity to provide bandwidth at the internet hub.

  60. mary

    From reading the above article. the sooner this happens then the better. does this mean rural, poor geographical area`s such as the forest of dean, gloucestershire especially lydney will enjoy a much better broadband service, which other people in cities enjoy on a regular basis.
    lydney as a town is now expanding with some 1,300 properties currently being built.
    From a broadband point of view, it can`t cope now, whether it be mobile, bt whatever as it is oversubscribed most of the operators words not mine.
    without further investment eventually it will buckle under the strain. just imagine all those extra properties with, mobile phone`s and broadband services which most homes now have now around here. surely I am staiting the obvious.
    Come on 3 be inventive before we all get swallowed up in the river. excuse the pun, for anyone not offay with lydney we have the second biggest tidal river flowing by!!!! the way things are going we will have more chance of flooding than getting a decent broadband service. I can assure you I`m not the only one thinking this, there are many..thx

  61. Al

    My fingers are crossed for you Three. Your still, after many years of using mobile broadband, by far the best in terms of quality and allowance.

  62. James Vincent

    Ofcom need to make this fair. 3 should get a decent piece of spectrum in 800mhz and 2600. The three big networks are try’na get it all for themself. I follow the mobile industry and it does seem to be getting un balanced. Hope the auction goes well

  63. Cmundo

    I love 3. Best network by far. Best customer service – I don’t care were the staff are based as long as they are courteous and actually do what they say they’ll do. Best mobile broadband coverage. Best value for money. I can’t understand why people aren’t jumping to 3 by the millions! I can only think it is the brand image from years ago when 3 was trying to establish itself. I recommend 3 to everyone!

  64. Daniel

    Looking foward to 4G phones, can get ‘upto’ 100 Megabytes second (watched o2 preview on BBC) and they was downloading at about 80 megabytes per second.

    ofcourse this effects how many uses ect but getting anything over 1 megabyte per second would be great.

    Also made me laugh is that O2 have the nerve to show this demo about “oh look how great it is downloading this 1GB file in at around 13 seconds”

    Yea you just used your entire month Cap and should ban your self from using the internet for a month !!

  65. Dave

    Hi,

    The spectrum update is a very well written and useful piece of information, well done to the author!!.

    Now a note to all three customers……. The practice of reallocating spectrum does put three at a competitive disadvantage against the rest of the mobile competition. It is unfair as it could be compared to you or I buying a car and then have someone tell you that you can only drive it on only some of our roads!!. Seriously this is a serious situation and could threaten three`s ability to expand, even worse be swallowed up by the competition.

    I have been a mobile user for the best part of 20 years, and with three some 6 years. I like the three network as they are way fairer than other networks when it comes to data allowances, try getting 1GB/Month from the remainder of the mobile market and you will be told sorry, we only offer 500MB/Month or if they will give you more then its likley that you will end up paying a fortune for it. I for one dont want to see three vanish off the face of the UK market and this is likley to happen if the other networks get their way there is a simple solution to this and I would urge all three customers to do as I have done and raise this issue with their local MP.

    There is a free online forum called writetothem.com where one can send a note to their MP and upon receipt the MP is obliged to send you a reply in the first instance and then report it at parliment. My opinion is that this does need to be raised as the re-farming of spectrum as outlined above is unfair and allows a chunk of the available spectrum to be given to the competition to the detriment of three and ultimately all of its customers. Also, this issue WILL hold up the whole 4G thing as there is a lot of legal wrangling between the netwoks and OFCOM at present…..fact. We, the UK are already behind the US and much or Europe already and we wont have 4G until 2013 at the earliest.

    Please take a minute to do this and their is no need to type a long winded email (like this one!!) , it can be condensed to say something like:

    The re-allocation or re-farming of radio spectrum is unfair. It sets one mobile operator aganst another to the extent that it could drive competition from the UK mobile phone market.

    This issue is also contributing to the delay in the provision of 4G services and (I) would appreciate if you (MP) can raise this issue on my behalf.

    Thats my rant over for now, please help three to help you and join this campaign.

  66. Jonny_MK

    i’ve been with three for exactly 6 years and in my area (MK7 7**) three roam with some 2G network, presumably orange, because the 3G signal is so weak and unusable. But the 2G signal is no better, providing data services slower than a 56k modem. It would be nice is three were to improve 3G coverage here before my contract is up for renewal. I thought 6 years was plenty of time to wait. Since I spending 90% of my time on the orange 2G network, i might as well join orange next year.

    When I speak to customer services they simply tell me switch the phone off and back on. “Three: The UK’s largest 3G network (if you can squeeze onto it)”.

  67. David.

    When do the auctions actually take place?

    I hope it will improve my signal when I’m at home, as trying to maintain a conversation when I’m indoors is virtually impossible at the moment and has been like this for well over a year now.

    I undersand there were some changes to the masts near me (down from 2 to 1 I was told) but I had hoped that It would improve by now.

    Do you expect the new bandwidth to help with these sort of problems?

    Other than that problem… Great work!

    Thanks.

  68. martin.Cat

    Unfair maybe buts thats business. I notice that you failed to say that when 2.1ghz was auctioned the govermentma de one package very attractive so that a new operator would come in. Step up Three UK this was your lucky day. Other operators paid vastly inflated prices to get 3g bandwidth to maintian their share of the market so it doesnt seem too bad that they are now able to use the old freqs for 3G especially as this is good for the customers. Maybe the goverment missed a trick and should have recouped some monies for the taxpayer but they now have the 800mhz and 2.6ghz freq to do thatand i guess they realised that there is only somuch money the phone companies will pay out and will get that share anyhow with these new auctions.

    Are Three a little worried? As a Three customer the lack of 2G data in none 3G areas is a very big weakness and a concern for the future, hence why i am now weighing up my options as i have found that the 3G network is already at capacity at times / places and i struggle to use it and now with more smartphones and AYCE datacontracts this is only going to get worse.

    Bottom Line Three need to raise their game you had it easy with the cheap 3G bandwidth but its dog eat dog and even loyal customers are deserting due to lack of service poor customers services and increased cost of renewals and long contracts

  69. Danny

    It is interesting that OFCOM introduced a complete un-equivalence into the mobile space where it enforces equivalence in the fixed line business. What paradoxical behaviour from the regulator who is supposed to safeguard the public interest.

    I, for one, hope that there is no further procrastination and that the auctions go ahead promptly. As it is, with the likely timing of the auctions, the public are unlikely to see commercial LTE services until 2013 at the earliest, several years behind the rest of Europe.

    There is a great expectation around LTE where 3G, even of the HSPA+ variety, is rapidly exhausted during the day. Some excellent headline speeds are apparent, I’ve had 12.5Mbps downlink, but these do not survive for long. So come the day that we can actually get our hands on LTE there will be a large pent up demand.

    If Three does its usual stuff the experience should be very good where the network is available. Lets all hope that OFCOM do not bow to pressure from self-interested parties, and instead hold a fair and balanced auction that allows Three to continue to be the industry leader that it has become.

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