Belfast Telegraph

Three customer numbers up ahead of 5G launch

The mobile network saw earnings slide as it pumped investment into the launch of its 5G network later this month.

(Yui Mok/PA)
(Yui Mok/PA)

Mobile network Three has reported an increase in customer numbers over the first half of the year as it pumps “huge investment” into the launch of its 5G network later this month.

Three will be the latest telecoms company to launch a 5G service in the UK, following EE and Vodafone.

The company said it has made “significant progress” with a transformation programme to improve its network and IT systems ahead of the launch.

However, during the half-year to June, Three saw earnings before tax slide by 8% to £334 million on the back of significant infrastructure spending.

Revenues also fell, slipping 2% to £1.17 billion compared with the same period in 2018.

It reported the slump in sales despite bumping its customer numbers higher, with its active customer base rising 1% to 10.2 million and its number of contracted customers rising 2% to 7 million.

Three reported a decline in broadband customers across its portfolio, down to 830,000 from 840,000 last year.

The firm said it will launch its 5G mobile and home broadband service in 25 towns and cities across the UK by the end of 2019.

The company will include 5G in all existing customer tariffs at no extra cost, which it said will make it the only UK mobile provider to do so.

Three was founded in 2003 and employs more than 4,800 people across its offices in Maidenhead, Glasgow and Reading, and 326 retail stores.

Dave Dyson, chief executive of Three UK, said: “The second half of 2019 will see the most important and exciting milestone in our history since we launched the UK’s first 3G network in 2003.

“Three has a long history of putting UK consumers first and the launch of the UK’s fastest 5G network using our leading 5G spectrum portfolio and investment in world class cloud-based infrastructure means that we can disrupt the UK’s home broadband network, at the same time as serving our data-hungry mobile customers.”