Mobile network operator Three UK has completed the first phase of its £400 million 3G network upgrade. It's added 4,900 'base stations' in the last three years, giving it a total of 12,400 sites and 3G coverage of almost 97% of the UK population.
In total, the company says 50,000km² of coverage has been added, bring 3G service to an area more than twice the size of Wales. Much of this has been achieved through consolidating and upgrading equipment and sharing sites, reducing the number of active masts across the country.
Kevin Russell, CEO of Three UK, said "Thousands of people across the country have put in a phenomenal amount of work to build the UK’s biggest Mobile Broadband network. Smartphone and Mobile Broadband use is exploding and we have built a 3G network that reaches further than ever before, as well as bringing more capacity into urban areas where our customers need it most."
Three’s network now carries more than 100 terabytes of data a day. More than 40% of this consists of people streaming media from sites like BBC iPlayer and YouTube, while 38% is from web browsing and downloads. Curiously, over 5% is from people updating Microsoft software.