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(Pocket-lint) - Three UK first launched its 5G network in August 2019 as a home broadband service, it then started to rollout the network for mobiles too - with coverage now spanning the country. 

Customers in 193 locations across the UK can access 5G services, as long as each owns a 5G-enabled handset - such as the iPhone 12 or Samsung Galaxy S21.

Here then is everything you need to know about Three's 5G network, including the locations currently served, prices and much more.

What is 5G?

5G is the name given to the new-generation mobile service that boasts faster speeds, lower latency and more stable signals than ever before.

It runs concurrently with 4G services, so those aren't affected if you don't want to switch right now.

5G requires new hardware, either supported smartphones or mobile broadband routers that can access the bandwidths it uses. It's still a relatively new technology, so is still finding its feet, but the possibilities are great. Eventually, 5G services will greatly improve mobile and home gaming, offer incredible upload and download speeds, plus provide seamless, always-on internet connections for smart home appliances and, even, cars.

Is Three 5G available now?

Three launched the first phase of its 5G network in mid-August 2019. Its network now covers mobile 5G services in 193 locations across the UK.

More locations are being added all the time, as it continues its network rollout through 2021 and beyond.

Where is Three 5G available?

Three 5G is currently available in a host of UK towns and cities. Major locations include regions of Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne.

Many more towns and villages are also covered. You can find a complete list and coverage checker here.

    What phones and devices are available on Three 5G?

    Three offers a large selection of 5G Android handsets and the iPhone 12 range. It also provides 5G routers for those who take up its 5G broadband offering.

    You can find out more about its selection of 5G handsets and devices right here.

    How fast can Three 5G be?

    We are yet to see the Three network reach its full potential, but the provider claims its network has the potential to be the fastest of all the big brands, including EE, Vodafone and O2. It cites average speeds of 232 Mbps generally with peak speeds in excess of 1Gbps possible.

    That's because it holds spectrum in the 140MHz block, including access to a 100MHz contiguous block that is potentially capable of delivering faster 5G speeds. Other operators hold 40MHz and 50MHz blocks. That situation is set to change a little when Ofcom holds another spectrum auction this month (March 2021). We await to see whether that will further benefit Three or its competitors.

    How much does Three 5G cost and what are the best deals?

    The best news about Three's 5G mobile offering is that it is offered at no extra cost to customers. It's a free upgrade to all Three customers on contract, SIM-only or PAYG plans.

    All you need to do is upgrade to a 5G phone to access the superfast network - you do not need to upgrade your existing tariff. You likely don't even need to swap over your SIM. If it's reasonably recent, it should work instantly with 5G when inserted into a supported handset.

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    SIM-only unlimited 5G plans will start at £20 per month. Prices for Three's 5G home broadband service start at £27 per month.

    Writing by Rik Henderson.