Three UK SIM

Hidden away in today's festive message from Three UK was the news that the carrier is planning to roll out 42.2Mbps HSPA+ speeds across its network over the next year. Three says it's already deployed 21.1Mbps HSPA+ across "the majority" of its 3G network, and adds that it plans to extend HSPA+ to all 3G coverage areas by early next year.

Other UK networks haven't made quite as much noise about HSPA+, though we have noticed quiet roll-outs of the tech in certain areas by T-Mobile UK and Vodafone. Currently HSPA+ is only available on a minority of handsets sold in the UK, with notable examples being the Samsung Galaxy S II and Galaxy Nexus, which support up to 21.1Mbps.

Looking ahead, Three says its main challenge for 2012 is to ensure that the repeatedly delayed UK LTE spectrum auction goes ahead, freeing up valuable airwaves for 4G rollout in the coming years. Yeah, when it comes to LTE in the UK, we're still talking years, not months. In preparation, Three says it's planning to run its own 4G LTE trials at some point in the near future.

Source: Three UK (1, 2)


Reader comments

Three UK to roll out 42.2Mbps HSPA+ in 2012


This is interesting news, although we'll need the handset/dongle/MiFi manufacturers to come up with equipment that works to the 42.2Mbps standard. But the benefit to HSPA and HSPA+ users will also be apparent as Three will have to increase the capacity of their back haul circuits (from mast to core network) and that will be seen by all users. Already we have seen benefit to HSPA devices where the local mast and back haul has been updated to support HSPA+.

Three also say they will continue their network update work with MBNL that will improve coverage even more than up to now. Who knows, even Norfolk may get some improvement (@spagmuff).

The biggest challenge to LTE is to get the UK mobile network operators to just bite the bullet and get on with it rather than keep delaying OFCOM by threatening litigation as they have done so far. If it were not for their typical intransigence we'd be rolling out LTE in 2012 rather than hoping to legislate for it. As it is we won't get LTE until late 2013 at best, assuming no further delays by the UK mobops.