3 completes 'phase one' of £400m network upgrade

After three years of work involving 3,300 engineers, 3UK has completed the first phase of its UK-wide 3G network upgrade programme. The £400 million investment saw the installation of 4,900 new base stations--bringing the total to 12,400--and boosted 3G coverage, according to the company, to close to 97 per cent.

While 3UK's network reach and capacity has grown with this capex, due to the consolidation and upgrading of existing equipment, and sharing sites with other providers (Orange and T-Mobile), this project has actually led to over 5,000 fewer active masts across the UK. Many of the new masts were installed on sites owned by local utility services providers.

The company reported that the new network now carried more than 100TB of data a day, with 40 per cent coming from customers streaming media from sites like BBC iPlayer and YouTube, 38 per cent was from web browsing (including web downloads), and close to 6 per cent was from people updating Microsoft software.

In addition to the accomplishment of completing the first phase, of the 3,300 engineers involved, who took around 8.5 million man hours to complete the work, only eight were attacked by birds.

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