Three has reported a one per cent rise in annual revenue for 2018 as the average monthly consumption per use rose by nearly a quarter to 8.3GB.
The operator now has 11.3 total active connections on its network – a figure which includes MVNOs like iD Mobile – and 10.26 million customers. Three increased the number of contract customers by one per cent to 7 million and 84 per cent of its subscribers use 4G.
CEO Dave Dyson said the past 12 months had been a “foundational year” ahead of its 5G launch in 2019 and has spent £2 billion building out its network. This has included investment in radio technology, as well as a backhaul agreement with SSE Enterprise Telecoms, and the launch of 21 data centres distributed across its network.
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Three has 140MHz worth of usable 5G airwaves, acquired through the Ofcom spectrum auction and through the takeover of Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) broadband provider UK Broadband. This includes a 100MHz continuous block.
“2018 was the year when we set the foundations in place for us to jump up to the next level and become the UK’s best-loved brand by our people and customers, meeting all our customers’ connectivity needs,” he declared.
“Despite this investment in technology for the future potential of the business, we have improved our profitability and delivered a consistent financial performance through a rigorous approach to cost control.
“Overall, I am pleased with the progress that the business has made in 2018. Only made possible with the hard work and commitment of our staff and partners, and I thank them for their dedication and support.
“We are well set up for some transformational shifts in 2019 for our customers and our employees. It will be a year when our customers will start to see the real benefits of the next generation of 5G “mobile” technology, a technology that will not only replace 4G, but will also replace the need for wired broadband services.”
Three also reiterated plans to rebrand Relish as Three Broadband next month. Three has been vocal about its hopes for 5G-enabled FWA, believing the capacity afforded by 5G will allow it to deliver a wireless broadband service with quality comparable to that of a fixed network.
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