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Three acquires part of 1800 MHz spectrum to deploy 4G
Tuesday 21 August 2012 18:31:26 by Andrew Ferguson

One of the requirements behind Ofcom granting Everything Everywhere the ability to use its 1800MHz frequency band for 4G was that the group divest itself of 2 x 15MHz blocks in the spectrum they own. It seems that this has already happened, with Three reaching an agreement to buy this block.

The amount of money changing hands is unknown, and the agreement will have to reviewed by Ofcom and the European Commission. Though with Three currently being the small player in terms of spectrum the chances of approval look good.

The statement to TechRadar reveals that the purchase is doubling the capacity available to Three customers, where average data consumption is 1GB per month and growing. So the question now is how soon will Three be able to offer 4G connectivity.

One problem still remains, 1800 MHz band capable LTE phones still remain as rare as a unicorn, so in the short term 4G will be the domain of mobile broadband dongles. The iPhone 5 may include 1800 MHz connectivity, not because of the UK market, but because of the demand from large markets like South Korea. After the 4G debacle that was the latest iPad one would hope Apple will consider the mobile market outside the United States.


Posted by otester over 4 years ago
Hopefully when EE launches theirs in autumn so I can replace my 3Mbps DSL.

Only the ping that is stopping me going all mobile, 80ms is still too high for gaming.
Posted by craigbrass over 4 years ago
Ping on LTE Advanced 4G is only a few ms to the base station afaik...
Posted by acpsd775 over 4 years ago
you've put, "where average data consumption if 1GB per month and growing"

should that be "is 1GB" or "of 1GB"
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
The if of is, is now fixed.
Posted by timmay over 4 years ago
But what Three really need is 900Mhz or 800Mhz so they can do indoor coverage. Still good news.
Posted by paulster over 4 years ago
Brilliant news on Three's bid for the 4G allocation, not long till we see a decent 4G market in the runs, planning to move to 3 very soon anyway and this has news my choice of change to switch to this network from O2 even better now! What a bonus this is! We just need a few handsets that are capable of 1800MHz 4G that are readily available in the UK and we're off.
Posted by ukhardy071 over 4 years ago
3 is great but the indoor coverage is pretty terrible compared with o2 and orange. I have no signal in both places I live.

Great to see 4G coming to the UK however I'm not sure if Ofcoms decision was good long term for consumers. I think a decision that made things a level playing field would have perhaps been better.
Posted by orly2 over 4 years ago
Using 4G LTE myself in Canada where a few providers have been building out networks for a year or more now. Compared to 3G it's like light and day. When my phone falls back to 3G here it'll run at around 5-10Mbps and the pings are around 80ms. On LTE it's not uncommon to see speeds approaching 40Mbps and the pings are about 40ms.

Be great for UK customers when it comes on there. Just need decent data allowance. Here in Canada I get 6GB usage per month from Bell and that is sufficient. I'd be struggling if it was 500MB or 1GB
Posted by vicdupreez over 4 years ago
Can someone please explain (as I am at a loss here) why they chose the 1800Mhz frequency? Why not use what the US is using, meaning that there will instantly be 100's of devices capable of this? I really do not get this...

Posted by timmay over 4 years ago
@vicdupreez there was no choice. 2 x 15MHz blocks in the 1800Mhz spectrum were made available.

I guess really the question is why were we using 1800Mhz for 2G in the first place?
Posted by vicdupreez over 4 years ago
Right Right... So there is potential to later on get on the same frequency range as the US so that we can use the same devices?
Posted by KarlAustin over 4 years ago
Key point missing as reported elsewhere, Three won't get their hands on the first 2 x 10Mhz blocks until September 2013 then the rest in 2015!
Posted by otester over 4 years ago

EU says 800Mhz & 1800Mhz only I think.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
Posted by MaverickJesus over 4 years ago
Believe it or not, the frequencies the UK will be using are actually more standardised than the US ones - 800Mhz, 1800Mhz and 2600Mhz will be in use by the rest of Europe, Asia and Australia as well as the UK. The US frequencies will actually be pretty obsolete once the main upgrades have taken place worldwide.
Posted by ukhardy071 over 4 years ago
The US has always gone different ways. Look at the CDMA phones in the US whereas everywhere else used GSM
Posted by ukhardy071 over 4 years ago
Well - most places use GSM
Posted by otester over 4 years ago

I think it's so they can get away with their ridiculous prices.
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