Three's 5G router can support up to 64 devices and costs £35 per month for unlimited
As promised, Three has switched on the first wave of its 5G service in London – but it’s not available on phones just yet.
Instead, the launch is for its 5G broadband hub that can only be used in homes, and only in select parts of London – Camden, Camberwell and Southwark. It is designed to replace fixed broadband connections and means homeowners or tenants in these locations can get access to Wi-Fi-style speeds without fibre, landlines or installations. They can also take their hub with him when they move. Of course, the hub will only continue to work if they move to a location that has Three 5G.
Now that the first services are live, Three said it plans to launch a mobile version across 25 towns and cities before the end of 2019 including London, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Sunderland and Wolverhampton.
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Rival EE launched its 5G services in six cities in May, and Vodafone’s network went live on 3 July, which similarly includes a broadband hub offering. You can read more about the different UK network 5G launches on our ‘5G in the UK‘ page.
However, Three claims its network offers “peak mobile speeds” that will be at least twice as fast as its rivals, and with a “more reliable connection.” Three’s 5G router can support up to 64 devices and costs £35 per month for unlimited data.
Three CEO Dave Dyson said: “It’s clear consumers and businesses want more and more data. We have the UK’s best network for data and we have led the market on customer usage on both 3G and 4G technologies.
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“We have worked hard over a long period of time to be able to offer the best end-to-end 5G experience. 5G is a game-changer for Three, and of course I am excited that we will be the only operator in the UK who can offer true 5G.”
Three claims it’s the only network provider capable of offering this so-called ‘true’ 5G because it runs on 100MHz of the 5G spectrum. This is what the global standards body on 5G technology currently describes as 5G.
To mark today’s launch, Three is debuting what it’s calling a “supercharged 5G living room of the future” experience at Three’s London store at 297 Oxford Street. It’s been designed in collaboration with Henry Holland and uses Magic Leap’s mixed reality technology to demonstrate how fast the network is, and the types of streaming and entertainment is possible.
Shadi Halliwell, chief marketing officer at Three, said: “The launch of 5G is going to revolutionise the way we connect at home. With Three’s 5G Broadband, we are getting rid of all the hassle, pain and waiting that is associated with getting your home connected. Plug and play is going to be game-changing.”
Commenting ahead of the launch in June, Dani Warner, broadband expert at uSwitch.com, said: “Three’s 5G plans will have significant repercussions across both the mobile and broadband industry. Until now, much of the discussion of 5G’s arrival has centred on how it will improve mobile connectivity and speeds, but its potential to upend the broadband market, and so quickly, is now being explored by Three.
“The traditional broadband heavyweights will be sitting up and paying attention as Three has fired a significant warning shot here. If it is competitively priced, 5G could well win the ‘space race’ with fibre in the next few years.”
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It is not yet known what mobile handsets will be available on Three 5G, but the company said it would announce more details during its mobile launch next month.
It will be interesting to see if Three adds the Huawei Mate X 5G to its lineup. Following a trade ban in the US, Huawei phones were removed from EE and Vodafone’s roster.
You can register for updates at the Three 5G hub.