4G in the UK: Samsung signs up to build Three's network

Three has chosen Samsung to provide the underlying infrastructure for its 4G network, which looks likely to launch in 2013.
Written by Ben Woods, Contributor on

Samsung has been chosen by UK mobile operator Three to provide the wireless infrastructure that will be used to deliver 4G services.

Three UK
Samsung has signed a deal to build the infrastructure for Three's 4G rollout in the UK. Image credit: Jon Yeomans

The company will provide LTE Radio Access Network (RAN) and 3G/LTE core infrastructure for Three and the deal marks Samsung's first significant commercial mobile network in Europe since the formation of its Europe Network Operations (ENO) division in 2011.

READ THIS: Three cleared to prepare for 4G takeoff

"Samsung has been active in developing and commercialising data-specialized mobile solutions since the early 2000s, and has accrued significant experience in LTE projects around the globe. We are bringing the full weight of this experience to our deployment with Three UK, and trust this will mark the start of many successful relationships with leading mobile operators based in Europe," Youngky Kim, general manager of the Telecommunication Systems Business at Samsung Electronics, said in a statement on Friday.

Ultimately, Samsung will deploy LTE base stations, including all associated systems and network support services across Three's entire network in 2013. Before the end of the year, Three and Samsung will trial the technology before moving to full deployment next year.

READ THIS: 4G in the UK: What it means for you

"Three's customers will start benefitting from this investment in our core network early next year and those benefits will grow further as we deploy new spectrum," Dave Dyson, chief executive of Three UK, said in a statement. "In Samsung's home market operators are busy turning off 2G. In the UK Three is the only operator without a 2G network which means more and more consumers are choosing the network built for the internet."

The deal will pave the way for Three's rollout of 4G services but nixes suggestions that the UK operator will be able to start offering them before the end of 2012 like rival Everything Everywhere. Even if the infrastructure was already in place, Three would need explicit co-operation from Everything Everywhere to use the spectrum under terms of the spectrum deal.

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