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Three 5G is now widely available, and demand is rocketing

Three’s 5G network is taking off in a big way, as a new report dubbed Mobile Britain 2022 shows, with the highlight perhaps being that over one third of the UK population now has Three 5G coverage.

That’s thanks to Three bringing its 5G network to 370 towns and cities so far, with more than 2,700 sites live.

The report – which was commissioned by Three but conducted by Opinium, and saw 2,000 UK adults surveyed during March 2022 – also found that 5G smartphone usage quadrupled during 2021, which makes sense since 5G is now a standard feature of most new phones.

This in turn led to use of Three’s 5G network increasing by 385% since 2020, and overtaking 3G – though it’s still behind 4G so far. Even that might change before too long though, as Three predicts that 5G will account for 35% of data usage on its network by the end of 2022.

That figure would apparently mean saving people 23 hours of download time every month, which is an astonishing amount.

A football-fuelled nation

Other details in the report include that the biggest data surges are driven by football, with Three’s network hitting an all-time high of 1tbps (terabyte per second) on Tuesday night between 21:15 and 21:30. That time suggests this peak was driven by Liverpool and Manchester City playing Champions League matches.

But smaller surges are being seen on Sunday nights, thanks to a growing number of people choosing to stream TV shows and films at this time.

And while a lot of this increased data use is likely in part down to the availability of 5G, Three hasn’t forgotten about its 4G network, with the report noting that 4G speeds have risen by up to 150% thanks to some of the £2 billion+ Three is spending on network improvements.

Finally, the report has surprisingly found that phone calls are making a comeback, with the total number of calls and the number of minutes spent on calls both increasing during 2021, with 39% of those surveyed saying they now prefer calling to texting, and 30% saying they make more calls than before the pandemic.

Indeed, the pandemic seems to have driven this change, with 25% saying they feel more comfortable talking on the phone now, since they got used to it during the times when they couldn’t see people in person.


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