Three, a mobile operator, is assured to start a multi-billion-pound overtake of its network as demand for data skyrockets and it makes ready for the establishment of 5G technology. Equipment services providers have been invited to pitch for the massive agreement to entirely change and run its signaling equipment across the country.
The deal is possible to include funds by Three of hundreds of millions of pounds per year over countless years, according to business sources. It could help the operator take the lead in the race to 5G, which will offer better security and faster mobile internet access from early in the next decade.
Three currently uses Samsung signaling equipment, while its network is run under controlled services agreements with Ericsson and Tech Mahindra. Bids are also valid from the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and Nokia Siemens.
The operator is seeking to increase capacity on its network to cope with demand for data. Although it is the diminutive of Britain’s four main mobile providers with around 11 million supporters, it estimates for more than a third of mobile data usage thanks to ample tariffs and young consumers who are large smartphone users.
It is threatening to launch High Court claim to block an expected auction of more radio spectrum, arguing BT and Vodafone, which control the airwaves, should meet tight constraints. Ofcom wants to sell rights to 5G within months, but a judicial review utilization by Three could delay the disposal for months or years.
Rivals fear Three will seek to slow down their 5G rollouts and take the lead. It already has powers to airwaves at some of the significant incidences following its £250m purchase this year of UK Broadband, the wireless home broadband director behind the Relish brand.
Three’s network upgrade plans are interpreted to include offering Relish-style home broadband services in more cities, as well as developing its mobile service. Relish offers “fixed wireless” service as an option to connectivity via the BT or Virgin Media networks.