Three UK tackles indoor blackspots with VoLTE


One million customers to benefit from increased indoor and rural coverage by end of year

In the latest enhancement to its network, Three UK has launched voice over LTE (VoLTE) to help combat poor indoor coverage for end users.

Three is the first UK operator to launch VoLTE technology, yet the service is currently only available on the Samsung Galaxy S5 and LG G4. However, Three UK said new devices will be added regularly, including recent iPhone models, later this year.

Based on a roll out of low frequency 800 MHz spectrum, the new VoLTE service named 4G Super-Voice allows a mobile signal to travel much further into buildings and extends its reach to more rural areas, boosting many of the current coverage blackspots across the country, said the operator. This means that customers will be able to make calls, send texts and get online in places that previously had poor or no signal.

4G Super-Voice is made possible by the addition of the low frequency spectrum to the Three network, that will enable its 4G network to carry voice calls using VoLTE technology as well as texts and data.

The combination of both lower and the higher frequency spectrum (1800MHz), which Three currently uses, means customers will benefit from the advantages of each, so improved indoor coverage, less blackspots and better call connections.

The enhancement is the latest initiative in the company’s drive to improve indoor coverage which includes adding new sites to the network and launching Wi-Fi calling application, Three InTouch, last year.

4G Super-Voice is already set up to cover 50% of the UK population for indoor coverage and more than three quarters of London, Edinburgh, Exeter and Birmingham. This is combined with the operator’s 3G network, which already offers 98% outdoor UK population coverage.

Three has also begun rolling out Super-Voice technology in many other towns and cities across the country including Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol. By the end of the year the service will extend to 65% nationwide, and by 2017, Three expects up to 5.5 million customers to have access to 4G Super-Voice, subject to device compatibility and take up.

Director of customer strategy, Danny Dixon, said: “Not being able to use your phone as and when you want, no matter where you are, is one of the biggest pain points for customers. Today’s announcement is the latest step in our efforts to offer customers a quality experience on what is already the UK’s most reliable network.”

While Bryn Jones, chief technology officer at Three, added: “By the end of the year, one million of our customers will have access to better indoor coverage and be able to use their phones in more places than ever before. We are proud to be the first network to roll this out across the country.”

To use 4G Super-Voice, the customer needs to update the software on their compatible device to the latest version to access the service, completely free of charge. When the update is ready for a customer’s handset an alert will be sent, notifying them to update their operating system.


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