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Three Outlines UK Network Upgrade Plans

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Hutchison 3G UK (Three) says that it added more than 1.04 million customers over the past year, taking its customer base to 8.8 million, having added 301,000 customers in the last quarter alone.

The growth in customers, driven by Three's smartphone focus, is being supported by a nationwide programme to upgrade its network. Three is deploying DC-HSDPA technology and increasing the speed of its backhaul capacity.

Three's upgraded network will reach over half the UK population by the end of 2012, with more than 80% of the population covered by April 2013. 39% of the population already have access to the upgraded network, with coverage currently focused on 50 of the UK's biggest cities and towns.

Three customers in upgraded areas using DC-HSDPA devices are already reporting peak speeds over 20Mbps.

Three will add further capacity to its network in 2013 by deploying LTE technology. This follows Ofcom's approval of Three's acquisition of 2x15Mhz of radio spectrum at 1800Mhz. The transfer effectively doubles Three's overall spectrum capacity and provides further room for customer growth.

Dave Dyson, Chief Executive of Three UK, said: "We have led the adoption of smartphones in the UK by giving our customers great coverage, fast speeds and compelling price plans. These network improvements are designed to maintain our position as the fastest growing UK mobile operator."

Three's growth plans are being matched by the launch of an 800-strong recruitment drive in October that will add nearly 400 sales and service roles at its Glasgow office and 400 across its high street retail stores and Maidenhead office.

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