Three's new CTO Bryn Jones has pledged to improve network capacity and make sure LTE trials are underway before the end of the year.
In his first interview since joining the operator from Virgin Media, Jones said he was excited by the challenge of having responsibility for the overall management of a network.
He added that the new role would give him the flexibility to make improvements and his immediate focus would be on improving capacity by increasing the number of sites and carriers, particularly in densely populated areas.
Jones told Mobile: ‘My aim is to continue to deliver the best customer experience and data speeds to all our customers. We are investing in both the core network and the radio network to deliver additional capacity and coverage.
‘As part of this plan we are migrating to an all IP backbone and backhaul, upgrading our HSPA+ technologies to support the 42Mbit/s standard while deploying and upgrading more cell sites in urban areas where we are experiencing the highest customer data use.’
Three recently unveiled its growth programme in a business update with plans to increase its sites from 12,600 to 18,000, representing a 40% growth.
Jones, who steered Virgin Mobile through some major changes in his role as technology engagement director of mobile, voice and national broadband, said he hoped Three’s growth targets would be met by 2015.
‘The real challenge is to maintain the excellent results and positive customer experience that we have enjoyed. You only have to look at the YouGov surveys to see how well we’ve performed. We’re first for quality of data and first for quality of speed.’
However, Jones promised that Three would continue to improve the performance of its network with plans to measure customer experience to ensure it is meeting their expectations.
He said: ‘To ensure that we are delivering the best network experience to our customers we continually measure and benchmark our service against all of our competitors.
‘We do this by carrying out ‘drive tests’ across the country, automatically testing the voice and data service in each area.
‘Measures include the time to set up voice calls, speech quality and data upload and download speeds, which are backed up by what our customers are saying through the YouGov surveys.’
Jones confirmed that the operator still has plans to trial LTE later this year and was in the process of choosing an area to focus on.
Earlier this year, Three CEO David Dyson spoke of an explosion in the demand for data among its customers, with a four-fold increase in just 12 months. Dyson said that Three contract customers were now using an average of 800MB per month.