Relish has been working hard to crack the UK fixed wireless market making use of the band it holds the licence for in the 3.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands and it looks likely that this band has convinced three to pay some £250m for Relish who are otherwise known as UK Broadband in the UK.
The Financial Times has the low down and given UK Broadband (PCCW) was owned by Richard Li who is the son of the owner of three (CK Hutchinson) the sale is even less of a surprise. There is an Ofcom auction of more spectrum due later in 2017 but by securing this block to either use for 4G mobile or fixed services three looks to have de-risked the cost of being outbid and getting nothing from the spectrum auction.
Relish operates two well known services, the broadband in a box 4G LTE solution sold in parts of London and ideal for people who move around a lot and the Superfast Swindon contract where a fixed wireless solution is being deployed to increase superfast coverage in the area. How many customers Relish have is an unknown, our estimate is somewhere in the 30,000 to 40,000 bracket.
The band 42 and 43 which is what Relish operate in is not available in any mobile handsets that we are aware of and while there are Huawei 4G LTE modems with support you need to make sure the correct version is used. With demand for increasing chunks of spectrum globally it is likely that as part of continuing 4G enhancements or the yet to emerge 5G more devices will support these and a myriad of other bands.