Three 5G coverage and roll-out

Three 5G Roll Out

Now

1

Postcode areas with 5G Coverage

End of 2019

1

Postcode areas with 5G Coverage

Three has confirmed that it will be launching its 5G mobile service at the end of February, with 66 locations getting 5G on day one.

If you thought Three already had a 5G service, well, you’d be half right, as the company actually launched its 5G network on 19th August 2019, but initially the operator was only offering 5G Home Broadband and only in certain districts of London.

Three plans on building the UK's fastest 5G network based on the fact that it has the largest amount of 5G frequency spectrum of any of the UK's mobile operators.

Contents list

  1. Three 5G Coverage
    1. ​Coverage checker
    2. Cities with Three 5G now?
    3. Locations getting 5G next?
    4. Comparison to other networks
  2. Three 4G Coverage
  3. Three Network Speeds
  4. Three's 5G Spectrum

Three Coverage checker

Three's coverage checker currently only provides information on 4G and 3G coverage, which is understandable given that Three's 5G Home Broadband is currently only available in select areas of London and that the network doesn't yet offer a 5G mobile service. That’s about to change though, with coverage massively increasing and 5G mobile being made available from the end of February, details of which you’ll find below.

Those living in London and who are looking to buy Three 5G home broadband can check coverage or get an overview of which areas of London have coverage in the coverage map below.

When Three 5G launches in more towns and cities soon, Three will be integrating its 5G coverage map into the current 3G /4G coverage checker.

Check Three Coverage

Which cities have Three 5G now?

The only place to benefit from Three 5G coverage currently is London, with 5G Home Broadband available in the areas shown on the coverage map below.

Three London 5G Coverage Map

London coverage is far from comprehensive, but you can expect 5G coverage in parts of Clapham, Vauxhall, Ealing, Dalston, Finsbury Park and more. Coverage across London will grow rapidly throughout 2020 and beyond.

What locations will Three 5G roll out to next?

Three has confirmed it will launch 5G in a further 65 locations at the end of February, for 66 in total. This is also when Three will begin offering a full suite of 5G services, including phone, SIM-only and home broadband plans (all of which will be offered at no extra cost). The list of locations is as follows:

Aberdeen

Abingdon-on-Thames

Aldershot

Balloch

Barrow-in-Furness

Basildon

Bath

Bedford

Birkenhead

Birmingham

Blackpool

Borehamwood

Bradford

Brighton

Bristol

Brookmans Park

Cannock

Cardiff

Chatham

Clayton-le-Woods

Coventry

Crawley

Cullingworth

Doncaster

Dundee

Glasgow

Gorebridge

Grimsby

Guildford

Heanor

Hedge End

Hemel Hempstead

Huddersfield

Inchinnan

Ipswich

Leeds

Leicester

Leyland

Liverpool

London

Lower Stondon

Luton

Maidstone

Manchester

Motherwell

Neston

Newquay

Nottingham

Nuneaton

Peterborough

Plymouth

Preston

Reading

Redcar

Royston

Sheffield

Shelly Green

Slough

St Albans

Sunderland

Swadlincote

Swansea

Swindon

Westhoughton

Wickford

Wigan

 

 

At the time of writing, this would put Three ahead of rivals in terms of the number of UK locations with 5G coverage.

However, it’s important to understand that 5G coverage will only be available in certain parts of each town or city to begin with and will gradually roll out to other areas over time. So it will be important to use Three’s coverage checker even if you know you have coverage in your town or city.

For a visual overview of which places will have Three 5G on day one, check out the image below.

Three 5G towns and cities

As you can see, it’s a decent spread of locations, including places in England, Scotland and Wales.


How does Three's 5G coverage compare to the other mobile networks?

There are currently 57 major towns and cities with 5G coverage from at least one UK mobile network. EE 5G coverage is currently available in 41 major locations, Vodafone has 26 major locations, O2 has 21, and Three currently only offers 5G Home Broadband in London, though as noted above that situation will soon change, with Three 5G set to be available in a total of 66 locations from the end of February – though not all of these are ‘major’.

City

EE

Vodafone

Three

O2

Coverage checker

Check Coverage Check Coverage Check Coverage Check Coverage

Aberdeen

-

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Bath

-

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Belfast

-

Birkenhead

-

End Feb. 2020

Summer 2020

Birmingham

End Feb. 2020

Blackpool

-

Q1 2020

End Feb. 2020

Q1 2020

Bolton

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Bootle

-

-

-

Bradford

-

-

End Feb. 2020

Brighton

-

-

End Feb. 2020

Summer 2020

Bristol

End Feb. 2020

Cardiff

End Feb. 2020

Chatham

-

-

-

Coventry

-

End Feb. 2020

Derby

2020

-

End Feb. 2020

Doncaster

-

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Dudley

-

-

-

Dundee

-

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Edinburgh

End Feb. 2020

Gatwick

-

-

-

Gillingham

-

-

-

Glasgow

End Feb. 2020

Guildford

2020

End Feb. 2020

Q1 2020

Hamilton

-

-

-

Harlow

-

-

-

Hemel Hempstead

-

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Huddersfield

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Hull

-

-

-

Kingston Upon Thames

-

-

Q1 2020

Ipswich

-

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Lancaster

-

-

-

Leeds

End Feb. 2020

Leicester

-

End Feb. 2020

Lichfield

-

-

-

Lisburn

-

-

Liverpool

End Feb. 2020

Llandudno

-

-

-

London

Luton

-

-

End Feb. 2020

Summer 2020

Maidstone

-

-

-

Manchester

End Feb. 2020

Motherwell

-

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Newbury

-

-

Summer 2020

Newcastle

-

-

Northampton

-

End Feb. 2020

Summer 2020

Norwich

-

-

-

Nottingham

-

End Feb. 2020

Oldham

-

-

-

Paisley

-

-

-

Peterborough

2020

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Plymouth

2020

End Feb. 2020

Summer 2020

Preston

-

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Reading

-

End Feb. 2020

March 2020

Rochdale

-

-

Romford

-

-

-

Salford

-

-

Sheffield

-

End Feb. 2020

Slough

-

-

End Feb. 2020

Solihull

-

-

St. Albans

-

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Stevenage

-

-

-

Stockport

-

-

-

Stoke-on-Trent

-

-

Sunderland

-

End Feb. 2020

Summer 2020

Sutton Coalfield

-

-

-

Swansea

-

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Swindon

-

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Wakefield

-

-

-

Walsall

-

-

-

Warrington

-

-

Summer 2020

Watford

-

-

-

West Bromwich

-

-

-

Wigan

-

-

End Feb. 2020

-

Wolverhampton

Q1 2020

Summer 2020

4G Coverage

If you don’t have 5G in your area, then you will need to rely on 4G coverage. The good news with Three is that all its SIM plans are 5G ready at no extra cost, so when 5G does become available in your area you'll be able to access it without needing to pay extra or order a new SIM.

Three has around 99.8% UK population coverage with 4G, along with roughly 98.7% 3G coverage. That’s largely comparable with rivals as you can see in the 4G coverage comparison below.

UK 4G Coverage (2019)

Network

4G population coverage

EE

>99% (check coverage)

Three

99.8% (check coverage)

Vodafone

99% (check coverage)

O2

99% (check coverage)

5G Network Speeds

The only information, at this time, on real-word Three 5G speeds comes from the 5G Home Broadband services available in London.

The maximum 5G home broadband download speeds are reported by Three as 1.6Gbps (200MB/sec), which is around 16 times faster than the 100Mbps (12.5MB/sec) maximum on Three's 4G home broadband. However, the average 5G home broadband speeds are around 100Mbps (12.5MB/sec), which is around 5 times faster than average 4G home broadband speeds of 20Mbps (2.5MB/sec).

Three has announced that it expects to offer peak 5G speeds that are twice as fast as any rival in the coming years. Given that EE claims users could see peak speeds that exceed 1Gbps, that could mean Three’s network can exceed 2Gbps. According to Three that's made possible due to the network having more ‘5G spectrum’ than its rivals and more importantly being the only mobile network with 100MHz of contiguous spectrum, which is the amount the ITU (the global standards body on 5G technology) state is required for ‘true’ 5G.

That would be a massive boost on the operator's 4G download speeds, which according to data from OpenSignal average 21.6Mbps, while peak real world 4G speeds are unlikely to reach 100Mbps.

Latency

Latency – measured in milliseconds (ms) - is how long the mobile network takes to respond to a request. A high latency can make things feel sluggish to respond even if download speeds are high, but the good news is that with 5G, latency could ultimately be as low as around 1ms. That’s compared to around 40-50ms on 4G, although current 5G networks deliver average latency of between around 21-26ms according to Ookla.

Three’s 5G Spectrum

Three's 5G spectrum holding as compared to rivals can be viewed below.

Three spectrum allocation

Three has specifically said that it believes all this spectrum makes it the best placed of the four main UK networks for early 5G leadership – a claim that it has since got into more detail about, saying that it’s the only UK network that can offer ‘true’ 5G at launch, as it’s the only one with 100MHz of contiguous spectrum that’s ideal for 5G.

It will likely gain more 5G spectrum over time too, as there will be future 5G auctions for spectrum in the 3.6GHz - 3.8GHz bands as well as the 700MHz band, and likely also the 26GHz and 8GHz bands.

Ofcom is also looking at other potential bands that could be used for 5G.

Related Reading:

Networks that have launched 5G in the UK

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