UK Network operator Three has said that just over one million new subscribers have been added to its user base in the past 12 months, in a period when rival networks have all reported a decline in user numbers.
With the addition of 1.04 million customers, Three's user base now sits at a fairly healthy 8.8 million, the majority of whom are contract customers. 850,000 of the new customers to Three signed up on a pay monthly tariff, whilst 190,000 opted for one of Three's Pay As You Go offers.
Three say the growth in numbers is driven by an increase in smartphone ownership, with users looking to take advantage of Three's Ultrafast network. Three have been deploying DC-HSDPA technology across their nationwide network, whilst increasing the speed of its backhaul.
In areas where the Ultrafast system has already been deployed, Three users are reporting speeds of over 20 Mbps. Over half of the UK population will be covered by the end of this year, with more than 80% population coverage by April 2013. Focus of the existing DC-HSDPA coverage includes 50 of the UK's biggest cities, including London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield.
In addition to its Ultrafast network, Three will also be deploying 4G in 2013, which should go live by September 2013.
“We have led the adoption of smartphones in the UK by giving our customers great coverage, fast speeds and compelling price plans,” said Three UK Chief Executive Dave Dyson. “These network improvements are designed to maintain our position as the fastest growing UK mobile operator. Our Ultrafast network is giving more people in more places access to an even faster mobile internet experience. But mobile internet is about more than just technology. All-you-can-eat data at prices to suit everyone and peace of mind bundles that guarantee no surprise data bills are designed to allow customers to get the most enjoyment from their smartphones.”