Three UK reduces indoor blackspots with 800MHz VoLTE rollout

(Image Credit: Three UK)

One of the most frustrating things a mobile user can face is indoor signal, or a lack thereof. Current high frequencies used for LTE in the UK can offer higher capacity, but at the expense of coverage due to how the signal attenuates through walls and buildings. Hutchison-owned network, Three, aims to reduce indoor blackspots through becoming the first operator in the UK to rollout VoLTE using the low 800MHz frequency.

4G Super-Voice (Three's fancy name for VoLTE) is made possible by the addition of the low frequency spectrum to their network, and will use a combination of their new low frequency (800MHz) and existing higher frequency (1800MHz) spectrum to provide customers with improved indoor coverage, less blackspots, and better call connections. 

Danny Dixon, Director of Customer Strategy at Three, said: “Not being able to use your phone as and when you want, no matter where you are, is one of the biggest pain points for customers. Today’s announcement is the latest step in our efforts to offer customers a quality experience on what is already the UK’s most reliable network."  

Although the network can boast as being first to the UK market with VoLTE, competitors are close behind. EE and Vodafone previously-announced a summer launch window for their own services, and the latter joined the former earlier this week in launching an app-free WiFi calling feature.

Mark Windle, Head of Marketing at OpenCloud, said: “Real innovation will only come if VoLTE can be developed beyond the standard that all operators are set to follow. Service-layers that can be openly developed by operators' in-house teams, systems integrators and independent third party developers enable operators to add innovation and differentiation to their VoLTE services.”

Three says its 800MHz network covers 50% of the UK population and most of London, Edinburgh, Exeter, and Birmingham. That number is set to reach 65% by the end of the year as the switch is flipped in Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool, and Bristol. 

Bryn Jones, Chief Technology Officer at Three, said: “By the end of the year, one million of our customers will have access to better indoor coverage and be able to use their phones in more places than ever before. We are proud to be the first network to roll this out across the country.” 

One caveat is that customers need a supported handset to benefit from the latest additions. Three is also performing a gradual rollout when it comes to which supported devices can access their network. The rollout will start with the Galaxy S5, and then new devices - including recent iPhone models - will be added throughout the year. 

Are you looking forward to the rollout of 800MHz and VoLTE? Let us know in the comments.

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