Three is planning to make 5G free for all its customers

5 Jan 2023

Image: © Lubo Ivanko/

Three switched on its 5G network in Ireland several months after its major competitors, Eir and Vodafone.

Telecoms provider Three has said today (5 January) that it is making 5G free for all new customers. Existing customers will get free 5G in the coming months, the company added.

Elaine Carey, chief commercial officer for Three Ireland and Three UK, said: “At Three, we want to provide our customers with a better-connected life, and we’re doing just that by introducing free 5G across all of our mobile plans.”

New customers will receive an SMS from Three when free 5G has been activated for their account. Users do need to ensure their device is 5G-enabled and that their location has 5G coverage in order to avail of the free facility.

Carey reassured existing customers that they will all have free access to the company’s 5G network eventually, “bringing them a truly richer connectivity experience, whether shopping, studying or gaming”.

She said the company was making the decision to offer free 5G to give value to its customers.

Three has to date invested around €2bn in Ireland, pumping €62m into its 5G network in 2018. It eventually got the network switched on and operational in 2020 – a little bit after some of its chief competitors. Eir and Vodafone both launched their 5G networks in 2019.

A report by network intelligence company Ookla found that Three had the fastest median 5G download speeds in Ireland in the latter half of 2021.

In October 2022, Three’s UK division and Vodafone entered into talks on a potential merger to accelerate the roll-out of 5G.

The aim of the merger would be to better handle the costs of making 5G more widely available to the UK market, the companies said at the time.

However, Kester Mann, consumer and connectivity director at market research firm CCS Insight, said regulation would be a “major hurdle” if any such deal begins to materialise.

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Blathnaid O’Dea was a Careers reporter at Silicon Republic until 2024.