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Three chief sounds another warning over UK’s 5G capabilities

Staff Reporter
March 21, 2024

The UK will continue to lag behind in 5G unless Vodafone and Three can join together and match the scale of the combined operations of BT and EE and Virgin Media and O2  said Three UK CEO Robert Finnegan who was announcing the network’s 2023 performance.

The CMA is due to announce tomorrow if it thinks the proposed merger should go to phase 2.

“With two scaled players who have the ability to invest but do not face enough competitive pressure to do so, and Three UK and Vodafone who lack the scale to be credible challengers the UK will continue to lag behind on 5G . The UK has the slowest data download speeds in the G7”.

“Rolling out and maintaining a 5G network has impacted our profitability”

“The cost of rolling out and maintaining a 5G network, and improving connectivity across the UK, has impacted our profitability with negative Earnings Before Interest and Taxes for the first time since 2010. This financial performance is clearly unsustainable despite scaling back our 5G investment”.

“We are committed to improving our service for our customers and our country, creating additional jobs, and supporting the digital transformation that is taking place across the UK.

“The merger with Vodafone will enable the investment of £11bn in the UK over 10 years to create one of Europe’s most advanced standalone 5G networks in full support of Government targets.”

Three last year boosted its total contract base in 2023 by seven per cent to just over nine million customers with business connections increased by 67 per cent, but the prepay based dropped by 15 per cent to 1,56 million subscribers.

Three’s SMARTY mobile virtual network was uo 37 per cent and surpassed a million customers while 5G Home Broadband doubled in size over 2022.

Enders Analysis says the network now carries more mobile data traffic than any other UK operator with each customer last year using 30Gb a month which is 20 per cent more data than in 2022.

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