In a recent press release, 3UK says their 3G network now transports 100 terabytes of data a day. An impressive number. One and a half years ago, 3UK reported 1000 TB per month or roughly 33 TB per day. In other words, the amount of data going through their network has trippled in about 18 months.
Back then I did some calculations to set the number into context and to show by breaking it down to a base station, there's still ample room for future growth. At the time I estimated them to have around 8000 base stations. The press report linked to above states that after their recent network upgrade and extension they now have increase their number of base station sites from 7500 to 12400 in the last 3 years. So my estimation back then was right on the mark.
With the number of base stations having increased by a third, the load of their network as calculated back in 2009 should by now have doubled. So from a capacity point of view they should still be fine and HSPA+ in addition to adding a second carrier per coverage sector should keep them ahead of the increasing use in terms of capacity for quite some time if they do things right.
4 thoughts on “3UK: 100 TB per day”
The press release says “expansion has been achieved through consolidating and upgrading equipment, and sharing sites with other providers [which has] led to 5,069 fewer active masts”. I don’t get it. 4,900 more sites but 5,069 fewer towers? I presume that this means 5k fewer sites actually owned and operated (as opposed to leased) by 3, but the verbiage doesn’t really indicate that.
thanks for this post.
I also did a quick calculation since I thought 100TB might be high…
I estimate 3UK’s subscribers to be around 5.3m so dividing the total traffic over the subscriber figure gives aprox. 18MB a day. Which is around 540MB a month.
Given that the largest share of subscribers will have a non-smartphone handset, the number is surprisingly high!
One thing to note.
Dual Cell in HSPA+ is indeed nice, but may have limited usability in the UK. Many of their operators are limited to two frequencies and therefore their capacity growth at the BTS sites is more limited than many other countries that offer 3-4 carriers to their operators.
In these cases the future multicell-capabilities will not be usable at all.
3UK share their 3G radio network with T-Mobile UK.
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