Operator 3 UK has activated its 5G service and is now offering high-speed 5G broadband in London. Customers can get a single 5G home broadband plan for £35.00 (US $42.47) per month with unlimited data in the home. The tariff, called 5G Broadband, comes with a 12-month contract. Next-day delivery of the Wi-Fi broadband hub device is free of charge, while same-day delivery costs £20.00 (US $24.27).
To promote the launch of 5G Broadband, 3 UK has created an immersive mixed reality experience called the Living Room of the Future at its flagship London store on Oxford Street. The installation uses Magic Leap augmented reality technology powered by 5G.
Three UK is third to the market with 5G rollout, after EE and Vodafone. However, the operator is trying to distinguish itself by offering a 5G experience that can be accessed by users who do not already own 5G smartphones or other compatible devices. They are doing this in an innovative manner, by targeting home broadband as the service to market.
First, the service offers subscribers the 5G advantages of ultra-high speed and low latency without any need to invest in an expensive new 5G smartphone (the hub device comes at no extra charge). In addition, 3 UK’s 5G Broadband eliminates the need for challenging and time-consuming installation of cable or fiber lines; the hub is advertised as being plug-and-play, with no technician needed to activate it. The hub receives a 5G signal and then transmits the data over Wi-Fi to any Wi-Fi-enabled device in the home.
Three CEO Dave Dyson said, “Three’s 5G is going to revolutionize the home broadband experience. No more paying for landline rental, no more waiting for engineers, and even a same day delivery option. It really is the straightforward plug and play broadband that customers have been waiting for.” He also touted the operator’s “simple approach with one single truly unlimited data plan to give customers the opportunity to fully explore 5G and all its exciting possibilities” and added that 5G-based broadband “is going to be key to the future of the connected home.”
Whether 3 UK is able to make major inroads in the home broadband market will of course depend on how much real-world speed its Wi-Fi hub delivers. Promises of 5G speed go as high as 10 Gbps (around 100 times faster than peak LTE speed), whereas home broadband in the UK currently averages around 30 Mbps. However, in practice all speeds can be much lower when conditions are not optimal, although 5G does also have the advantage of seeing less reduction of speed due to network traffic.
We might add that ultimately, uptake of 5G Broadband could lead to customers wanting the advantages of 5G outside the home, as well, and eventually purchasing 5G devices. So in that sense this is also a growth-oriented move for 3 UK’s 5G program generally.