Ever been on your mobile phone walking down the street, having a nice chat when suddenly, as soon as you cross the threshold into your house, the call drops? You're not alone – 3G signals often struggle to penetrate buildings. But if you're a Three customer making use of a 4G mobile, that frustration may soon come to an end.
Today, Three is launching its new 4G Super Voice service, a new way to boost call quality for its customers using voice-over-LTE technology. Though Three's customers already get 4G data at no extra cost, their signal drops to 3G when making calls. 4G Super Voice will instead carry calls over Three's 4G network, improving indoor coverage and likely knocking out a few outdoor blackspots, too.
Improving Indoor Network Coverage
4G Super Voice makes use of Three's chunk of the low-frequency 800 MHz spectrum, which it bought up in the 2013 4G auction. Unlike Three's standard 1800 MHz wavelength, the 800 MHz wavelength is shorter – just as your noisy neighbour's low frequency subwoofer sounds rattle through the walls of your home whereas the top-end frequencies are harder to hear, so too is the 800 MHz wavelength better at reaching within your walls than the 1800 MHz wavelength.
Three claims that already 50 per cent of the UK population for indoor coverage is covered by the new 4G Super Voice service, including three quarters of London. It's looking to boost this to 65 per cent by the end of the year, bringing the service to Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester and Liverpool shortly. It beats O2 and Vodafone to the post in delivering a commercial voice-over-LTE service, though those networks are also trialling their own alternatives.
To make use of the 4G Super Voice service, Three customers must be using a compatible 4G handset. Three will then push through a software update over the air, activating 4G Super Voice.