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Telecoms providers: Three UK, no longer only a 3G specialist

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Three is a telecommunications provider and network carrier in the UK which enjoys the strategic advantage of owning its cellular networks. Although Three UK did everything it could to tie its image to the development of 3G networks, when this technology was all the rage, it evolved to adhere to new technology developments and still serves business customers with specific, simple mobile phone plans - and other interesting services for businesses.


About Three UK

The carrier was aptly launched at the beginning of the 3G boom. It went to great lengths to associate its image with this technology when it was cutting edge.

Origins of Three UK

Three UK was created in 2003 as a subsidiary of Hong-Kong based Hutchison Whampoa group, roughly at the same time as other national subsidiaries of the same group around the world, including Hong Kong, also using the same brand name.

In fact, this development follow the exact same model as Orange, a telecom carrier which Hutchison Whampoa had created a decade before - until the Hong-Kong based group cut all ties with these subsidiaries and this brand.

One key asset of this carrier is that it immediately created considerable infrastructure resources, with their own cellular networks and shops across the UK.

Three UK and 3G

The carrier went to great lengths to associate their image with the launch of 3G. This is illustrated not only by the name of the brand itself, but also by the very date when the company was founded and the service launched: March 3rd 2003, or 03/03/03.

This tight association became a problem when it appeared that fallback to 2G networks where 3G signal is not available was not always possible.

Although Three UK was not renamed Four, it now has also developed a large 4G network to modernise its product and services portfolio.

Three UK product line

The company’s product portfolio is extremely simple, consisting of mobile phone plans - but also mobile broadband services which businesses may find quite useful.

Mobile phone plan

Three UK’s mobile phone plan for businesses is extremely simple - because yes, there’s only one: users pay £16.61 per month excluding VAT, and they get a smartphone with a so-called “eat-all-you-can” data allowance.

Services include:

- Support from a dedicated business customer services team,

 - 24 hour replacement service if the phone has problems while it’s covered by the manufacturer's warranty - which does not work with iPhones unfortunately -,

- Free Bill Analyser to keep control on the company’s monthly usage.

- One single bill for all lines of the same corporate customer.

Mobile broadband

Three UK also provides interesting mobile broadband plans:

- MiFi modules lets users connect up to five devices, or up to ten devices depending on the model via Wifi. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket and allows its users to connect t broadband without using cell phone signals. It may be as cheap as £9 per month, with limited data allowance;

- Broadband dongles are inserted into a laptop’s USB socket and allow its users to surf on the internet using 3G cellphone networks - pricing is similar;

- Tablet SIMS may be ordered under pay-monthly or pay-as-you go schemes, starting at £8 per month or £30 upfront cost plus communications respectively.