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Three introducing new technology to improve mobile coverage

Friday, April 24th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Mobile operator Three has announced more new technology that will help tackle coverage not-spots.

The company is adding low frequency spectrum to its existing network, in a move which is hoped to enhance its coverage footprint, especially indoors.

The issue of coverage blackspots or ‘not-spots’ – areas with no mobile coverage – is one that has previously attracted the attention of politicians.

An agreement between the UK’s four mobile network operators and the government, announced in December, saw EE, O2, Three and Vodafone agree to invest £5bn to improve mobile coverage.

The move means they are now legally committed to providing voice and text coverage across 90% of the country by the end of 2017. It is hoped ‘not-spots’ will be cut by two thirds while the number of ‘partial not-spots’ – areas not served by all four networks – will be halved.

Announcing several major network upgrades, Three said it will roll out low frequency spectrum from September to tackle coverage blackspots.

Another boost for the network comes with the introduction of Voice over LTE (or VoLTE) technology, which will allow customers to make calls over 4G.

At the moment, calls on the Three network are carried over 3G, with 4G used to run data services.

High quality calling

The company said the move means its customers will be able to make and receive calls in places they have never been able to before, whilst experiencing high quality calling and speedy voice set-up.

The improvement to the network will be extended to all of the operator’s customers, with a view to 1m using VoLTE this year and 7.5m reaping the benefits by 2016, it said.

Three’s chief technical officer Bryn Jones said: “Our aim is to keep our customers connected wherever they are.

“Adding low frequency spectrum to our network and enabling voice calls over 4G and wi-fi will mean Three customers can stay connected in more places than ever before.

“With roaming at no extra cost also available in 18 destinations, Three is doing more than any other network to give our customers a reliable, quality experience wherever they are.”

Three also announced that more than 1m customers have downloaded and activated the Three InTouch app, benefiting from the ability to call and text over wi-fi.

Danny Dixon, director of Customer Strategy, said: “The Three inTouch app has been highly successful with over 1million users to date.

“Seamless connectivity on mobile and wi-fi is a key part of our future strategic direction and by using the app, our customers will never miss that important call or text, whether they're in the home, commuting to work, or away on holiday.”

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