Three UK investing £2bn to transform mobile network
British telecom operator has a to upgrade its mobile network and IT infrastructure. The company released a statement on Thursday in which it unveiled detailed plans to dramatically improve its 4G network speeds and roll out more 5G services.
According to Three UK, the company has made - or is scheduled to make - upgrades to over 4000 sites with improved 4G, as well as the addition of a fully virtualised core network, 20 new data centres and 5G in over 100 locations.
Three UK will reportedly invest significant amounts of capital into the improvement of its 4G network, aiming to improve speeds by as much as 150%. The company’s Voice calls on our 4G network (VoLTE) offering - originally launched in 2015 - has been rolled out across the company’s entire 4G network.
A company spokesperson affirmed that Three UK now has “over 11,000 sites enabling VoLTE on the 4G 1800/2100 MHz spectrum which will help improve customer experience,” adding that the rollout will prevent Three UK customers from dropping back into 3G connectivity in certain areas, and experience better voice calling on 4G. According to the company, 80% of its customer base will benefit from these improvements.
Three is also investing £100mn of its infrastructure overhaul budget into the improvement of network connectivity in 250 towns across the UK. “SSE Enterprise Telecoms will deliver over 450 unbundled BT Exchanges across the UK. The associated fibre connectivity will be linked into Three UK’s network, meaning a faster, more reliable experience for our customers,” noted a Three UK spokesperson.
“This will mean SSE Enterprise Telecoms’ fibre network, which currently stretches across 20,000 km, will reach over 30,000 km, providing a unique high capacity and resilient network for all of Three UK’s customers.”
Three UK has also entered into a new partnership with Cold Technology Services to improve its fibre backhaul capability. Backhaul refers to the part of a telecom network that comprises intermediate links between the core and edge of the network.
Colt’s technology will reportedly increase backhaul capacity 20 times over at the sites where it is scheduled to be deployed.
Dish inks $5bn deal with AT&T as T-Mobile relationship sours
Dish is on a relentless quest to become America’s fourth major carrier. However, that ambition isn’t going so well at the moment. A series of dust-ups with its long-standing key partner T-Mobile, and a business model that’s left it hemorrhaging customers by the hundreds of thousands every quarter, Dish is desperately looking to change up its game.
First, Dish is looking to switch up its strategic alliances. In order to help it take a bite out of Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T, Dish has announced a new deal in which it will give $5bn dollars to, um, AT&T.
This may seem counterintuitive but, as a mobile carrier without any real network infrastructure of its own, Dish is dependent on partnering up with at least one nationwide carrier in order to offer its services.
Up until now, Dish had mostly partnered with T-Mobile for the CDMA network that supported coverage for its 9mn customers on Boost Mobile. Earlier this year, T-Mobile announced plans to shut that network down, offering little by way of suggestion as to how Dish was expected to proceed. The relationship between the two firms has soured since, and while the new 10-year deal between Dish and AT&T doesn’t touch on a replacement CDMA network for Dish’s customers, the $5bn investment certainly feels like a big “up yours” to T-Mobile.
Dish currently owns three major MVNO brands, Boost Mobile, Ting Mobile, and Republic Wireless. Subscribers to these brands’ services will be able to connect their devices to AT&T’s 4G and 5G networks.
In return, AT&T will gain access to some of Dish’s wireless spectrum, through which it currently delivers some 5G services. Dish is currently in the process of expanding that 5G network and the company claims that it will continue to build out the US’ first cloud-native, OpenRAN-based 5G network, with a goal of reaching over 70% of the population by 2023.
"Teaming with AT&T on this long-term partnership will allow us to better compete in the retail wireless market and quickly respond to changes in our customers' evolving connectivity needs as we build our own first-of-its kind 5G network," said John Swieringa, DISH COO and Group President of Retail Wireless. "The agreement provides enhanced coverage and service for our Boost, Ting and Republic customers, giving them access to the best connectivity on the market today via voice, messaging, data and nationwide roaming on AT&T's vast network, as well as DISH's 5G network."