Getting to Know 3 Mobile.
If you’ve ever sat in a public place and marveled at how fast your mobile internet is, then you have Three to thank for it. That company, who came out of nowhere to become one of the UK’s biggest and most potently advertised mobile networks in the country, were at the spearhead of a revolution in the way we use our phones from day to day. In fact, it’s fair to say that without Three the whole shape of the mobile landscape in the UK might be completely different to the way we can observe it today. What do I mean by that? Read on to find out.
Three Mobile was launched on the 3rd of March 2003 (03/03/03) as a subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa, a company whose last dealings in the UK media market were with Orange, which it created and then sold on for the remarkable sum of US$33 Billion to Mannesmann AG in 1999. For four years following that, they plotted their next move, utilising the 3G spectrum auction to build a brand. Called Three, this new company would utilise the early 3G network to save costs (favouring it over 2G in almost all cases) and pass those savings on to consumers. Unfortunately, the still patchy 3G network wasn’t capable enough to handle consumers’ needs, and the company quickly had to sign a 2G roaming agreement, which is currently holds with EE.
Initially, their draw came from the promise of video calling, which was positioned as the next generation of mobile communication. Unfortunately, the phones Three supported were large, slow and cumbersome affairs, like the gigantic NEC e313. At this time, smartphones were the domain of Palm and Blackberry, and so mobile internet was far from a pleasurable experience.
In the years since, 3 Mobile have taken an aggressive stance in the UK media market, offering low all-you-can-eat pricing; free overseas minutes, texts and data; low prices on the latest phones even access to Wi-Fi in over 130 London Underground stations. Now, Hutchison Whampoa are in the process of trying to buy O2 for a sum of £10.25 billion, should regulatory approval go through. It would make one of the biggest combined networks in the country, and be able to battle with the likes of EE (which itself was formed from a merger between EE and Orange).
Head office: Hutchison 3G UK Limited, Star House, 20 Grenfell Road, Maidenhead, SL6 1EH
Customer services: http://www.three.co.uk/Support
Number: 0333 300 3333