Three and EE join forces to boost UK 4G

The 4G rollout in the UK has been a slow process filled with controversy around spectrum availability and related exclusivity periods – of which EE gained a significant head start. Since the period has finished; every major network in the UK has launched 4G.

Three was the last to offer their 4G service, and is still only available in limited areas whilst being subject to an ongoing, slow rollout.

Today, Three and EE have revealed a partnership and investment strategy to share their networks and boost the speed and infrastructure behind the UK 4G rollout…

Between these two MNO giants, £1 billion ($1.63 billion) will be jointly invested. This is a huge win for customers, particularly on Three, who can reap the benefits of the network experience and infrastructure already in place by EE.

Under the agreement, the carriers will share masts and backhaul transmission costs.

Both networks will be able to control the speeds and coverage of their own networks, according to the report, with "the antennas, spectrum and the core network” all are being operated separate from each other.

The deal will help the UK push forward much faster with its LTE aspirations; after lagging behind in comparison to many European and global countries. Recently TelecomsTech has reported on the rollout of LTE-Advanced in some regions; offering (actual) download speeds of between 100Mbps – 300Mbps compared to the 10 – 100Mbps available on standard LTE.

Most notable for its advancements is the highly-contested South Korean market; where a memorable quote from Wonil Roh, Head of the Advanced Communications Laboratory at Samsung Electronics, said: “I guarantee you—if I call my carrier tonight and complain about not getting a good signal in my bathroom, they will send someone to install a repeater first thing tomorrow morning.”

Any other market and you’d be lucky if anyone ever came out if it’s not part of their schedule.

Three already shares part of their network with EE-partner Orange; where the smallest UK operator can make use of the 2G network run by the UK’s biggest operator. After beginning to roll out its 4G service in December, Three is aiming to reach 50 cities by the end of the year and 98 per cent coverage by the end of 2015.

In areas where Three currently doesn't have 4G coverage - but EE has a mast - the network should be able to install their own antennas cheaper and much quicker -- substantially speeding up this planned rollout.

What do you think of the 4G partnership between Three and EE?

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