5G in the city of the future
Three reportedly plans to launch the new service within the next three years iStock

Mobile operator Three may be planning to get a jump on the introduction of 5G in the United Kingdom by rolling out an ultra-fast wireless network in the country within the next three years. According to sources, the "fixed wireless" broadband service will cover approximately 40% of the UK population and could offer download speeds of up to one gigabit per second (Gbps).

The new service offered under Three will be packaged alongside a 5G wireless router and will be fast enough to compete with fixed broadband services from rival operators, reports The Telegraph. It will also remove the need for customers to pay for separate home broadband and smartphone contracts by offering connectivity packages that cover all of their devices, both inside and outside of the home.

Three, which is owned by Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison, is expected to launch the new service across the high-frequency radio spectrum the operator will acquire as part of its ongoing takeover of London-based UK Broadband, which includes assets in the 3.4GHz, 28GHz and 40GHz frequency bands.

High-frequency spectrum is considered key to the development of 5G networks as it less crowded than the bands used for current 4G networks, meaning it will provide greater capacity, higher speeds and experience less interference.

Typically 5G isn't expected to arrive until 2020. Should it be successful, Three could be the first mobile operator to bring a 5G service to the United Kingdom. This of course depends on whether the standards for the technology can be agreed upon within the operator's ambitious three-year time frame.