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Three acquires UK Broadband for $373 million

08 February 2017

The Financial Times has the low down and given UK Broadband (PCCW) was owned by Richard Li who is the son of the owner of three (CK Hutchinson) the sale is even less of a surprise.

Three has already complained about the distribution of spectrum holdings in the United Kingdom, launching a campaign challenging Ofcom CEO Sharon White to "Make the Air Fair".

As part of the deal, a deferred £50 million will be made available to PCCW as a credit toward an MVNO agreement on Three's network.

Three UK chief executive Dave Dyson said: "UK Broadband gives us an opportunity to expand our ambition to provide high-quality and great value internet connectivity for UK consumers".

UK Broadband Limited owns and operates Relish, a mobile broadband provider based in London.

It has 15,000 customers in the UK.

Since being refused permission to buy O2, Three has been lobbying hard for Ofcom to address the perceived unbalanced distribution of spectrum in the UK.

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"Three remains in a precarious position as a mobile-only provider in a United Kingdom market rapidly evolving to multiplay services". UK Broadband runs its services across its own 4G network.

Since it is so recent, it stands to reason that it is also the most data-forward: today, its network carries 35% of the UK's mobile data traffic.

UK Broadband Ltd will continue to operate as it does now until the deal is completed.

It has since expanded to the Reading and Swindon areas, using regional spectrum licences it acquired in 2003.

But Mann also noted: "Although Three will acquire new spectrum, the acquired band is not compatible with most of today's mobile devices, meaning that it can not be put to immediate use".

Adding more spectrum is a priority for Three especially in the wake of its O2 merger attempt getting scuppered.

Three will also get access to UK Broadband's spectrum holdings, something that will prove invaluable for delivering 5G services in the future.