Three 5G coverage and roll-out

Three LogoThree 5G is available now and in this document we cover: how to check Three coverage, where 5G coverage is rolling out in the coming months and what locations are scheduled to get 5G during 2020.

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 5G Coverage

Three launched its 5G network on 19th August 2019, but initially the operator is only offering 5G Home Broadband and only in certain districts of London.

A further 24 towns and cities will see 5G launched before the end of 2019 with a full 5G product range available including: phone, SIM-only and home broadband plans.

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.

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.

Those living in London and who are looking to buy Three 5G home broadband can check coverage here 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 later this year, 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 the remainder of 2019 and through 2020.

What locations will Three 5G roll out to next?

Three has confirmed it will launch 5G in a further 24 towns and cities before the end of 2019. This is also when Three will begin offering a full suite of 5G services, including phone, SIM-only and home broadband plans.

Towns and Cities getting Three 5G in 2019

Birmingham

Bolton

Bradford

Brighton

Bristol

Cardiff

Coventry

Derby

Edinburgh

Glasgow

Hull

Leeds

Leicester

Liverpool

London

Manchester

Middlesbrough

Milton Keynes

Nottingham

Reading

Rotherham

Sheffield

Slough

Sunderland

Wolverhampton

 

 

 

That will make Three 5G coverage available in more towns and cities than any other UK network at the end of 2019. Although, 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.

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

There are currently 17 towns and cities with 5G coverage from at least one UK mobile network. EE 5G coverage is currently available in 6 locations, Vodafone has 15 locations and Three currently only offer 5G Home Broadband in London.

UK 5G Coverage

City

EE

Vodafone

Three

O2

Belfast

-

-

Birkenhead

-

- Summer 2020

Birmingham

End of 2019

Summer 2020

Bristol

End of 2019

End of 2019

Bolton

-

End of 2019

-

Cardiff

End of 2019

Coventry

-

-

-

Edinburgh

-

End of 2019

Gatwick

-

- -

Glasgow

End of 2019

End of 2019

Summer 2020

Lancaster

-

- -

Leeds

End of 2019

-

End of 2019

Leicester

- - -

Liverpool

End of 2019

End of 2019

Summer 2020

London

Manchester

End of 2019

Summer 2020

Newbury

-

-

Summer 2020

Plymouth

2020 - Summer 2020

Stoke-on-Trent

- - End of 2019

Wolverhampton

2020

End of 2019 Summer 2020

Coverage Checker

Check Coverage

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Check Coverage

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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 between 20 and 30ms.

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.

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