Three, the UK’s fastest growing mobile operator grew by more than 1.04 million customers over the past year to 8.8 million, adding 301,000 customers in the last quarter alone.
The growth in customers, driven by Three’s smartphone focus, is being supported by a nationwide programme to upgrade its network. Three is deploying DC-HSDPA technology and increasing the speed of its backhaul, the data pipes used to connect its sites to the internet, as it moves to an Ultrafast network experience.
Three’s new Ultrafast network will reach over half the UK population by the end of 2012, with more than 80% of the population covered by April 2013. 39% of the population already have access to the Ultrafast network, with coverage currently focused on 50 of the UK’s biggest cities and towns.
The ongoing network programme will see customers benefit from increased speeds that will be more than enough for data-hungry services like HD video streaming. Three customers in existing Ultrafast areas using DC-HSDPA devices like iPhone 5, the Sony Xperia T and the Windows Phone 8X by HTC are already reporting peak speeds over 20Mbps. iPad mini, iPad with Retina display and the Huawei E3521 dongle are also DC-HSDPA enabled.
Three will add further capacity to its Ultrafast network in 2013 by deploying LTE technology. This follows Ofcom’s approval of Three’s acquisition of 2x15Mhz of radio spectrum at 1800Mhz. The transfer effectively doubles Three’s overall spectrum capacity and provides further room for customer growth.
Dave Dyson, Chief Executive of Three UK, said: “We have led the adoption of smartphones in the UK by giving our customers great coverage, fast speeds and compelling price plans. These network improvements are designed to maintain our position as the fastest growing UK mobile operator.
“Our Ultrafast network is giving more people in more places access to an even faster mobile internet experience.
“But mobile internet is about more than just technology. All-you-can-eat data at prices to suit everyone and peace of mind bundles that guarantee no surprise data bills are designed to allow customers to get the most enjoyment from their smartphones.”
Three’s growth plans are being matched by the launch of an 800-strong recruitment drive in October that will add nearly 400 sales and service roles at its Glasgow office and 400 across its high street retail stores and Maidenhead office.
Posted by: James