Three is a brand name under which several UMTS-based mobile phone networks and Broadband Internet Providers operate in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The company was founded in 2002.
CK Hutchison Holdings (formerly Hutchison Whampoa) owns direct majority interests in the companies that operate the networks that are branded 3, except 3 Hong Kong and 3 Indonesia. These two networks are majority-owned by Hutchison Asia Telecommunications, a wholly owned subsidiary of CK Hutchison. Its operations in Europe are run by a separate division, 3 Group Europe.
Hutchison Whampoa no longer holds a 3G licence in Israel which was formerly operated under the brand Orange (now Partner Communications Company), and in Norway which was an unused licence previously held by 3 Scandinavia.
As of 30 June 2015, registered 3 customers worldwide numbered over 30.1 million.
Like other mobile-provider Internet home pages, 3's portal is 'free to browse' for some content in most 3 countries including Ireland, UK and Australia in most price plans; the user pays a fixed price for each video, text or application downloaded.
Besides that, 3 UK and also 3 Ireland initially made the decision to block direct Internet access from handsets, while 3 Austria allowed access to the Internet since the beginning.
In 2004, 3 released a PC Card 3G Data Card ("NetConnect Card") for Windows-based laptops which allows Internet access through 3's network directly from the computer, accompanied by a range of data and business tariffs. Later, more cards and USB modems for HSDPA were introduced.
3 Skypephones and Skype on 3
In November 2007, 3 started to sell the Skypephone, which was developed in conjunction with the Chinese phone manufacturer Amoi and Skype, combining the functionality of a UMTS handset with free voice calls and instant messages from Skype. The phones were sold exclusively by 3 on contract and on a prepaid basis.
3 also produced an application called "Skype on 3" which brought the same functionality to S60 and J2ME-capable phones (but not iPhone or Android, although some unofficial Android versions were distributed). Unlike the non-3 versions of mobile Skype, "Skype on 3" does not use the phone's data connection for voice calls, but instead places a normal phone call to a special number which 3 make available for this service. 3 does not charge users for calls to this number. This service is available in Australia, Ireland and the UK; it has been discontinued in Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy and Sweden. A company called iSkoot (now Qualcomm iSkoot Inc.) was behind at least some of the clients and back-end servers but iSkoot announced a shutdown scheduled for 20 January 2011. It appears this shutdown initially affected the J2ME version and some Skypephones (which now show a "click to upgrade" link which either doesn't function or takes you to a page saying an upgrade is not available), but some S60 versions were not affected. Skype have started sending emails indicating the Skype on 3 service will be terminated on 30 September 2014, in spite of Three's original "free for life" advertising. The recommended clients for smartphones will use the phone's data connection which may be liable to charges, instead of the dedicated access number used by the client, which was free to call.
Roaming Propositions (Roam Like Home & Feel at Home)
In February 2007 3 introduced '3 Like Home': a service that in theory allows subscribers to use any 3-branded network with the exception of 3 Indonesia without having to pay additional roaming charges, instead paying the same amount for voice, data, and messaging services as they would do on their home network. This also allows users to use their free or inclusive bundles and allowances while abroad. However, pre-pay customers do not benefit fully, as they can not yet use each 3 branded network for '3 Like Home'.
- 3 Australia confirm that calls made using '3 Like Home' are not included in any "cap" plan or inclusive bundles.
This arrangement is possible because of the roaming agreements between the networks. Each of the networks provides service to other partners networks free of internal roaming charges. This means that the marginal cost of a roaming call is much the same as a call on the home network.
- At the end of April 2009, 3 UK announced that '3 Like Home' would no longer be available to customers of the 3 UK network from 30 June 2009. On 7 April 2010, 3 Sweden announced that '3 Like Home' would be discontinued on 23 May 2010. No cancellation announcements have yet been made for customers of other 3 networks.
- On 19 August 2013, 3 Austria announced at a press conference that '3 Like Home' would no longer be available for new customers, following their acquisition of Orange Austria. Existing plans are unaffected.
- On 30 August 2013, 3 UK launched "Feel At Home" for UK customers visiting Australia, Italy, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, Hong Kong and Ireland, where calls, texts and data are charged at their standard UK rate.
- On 4 December 2013, 3 UK added Indonesia, Macau, Sri Lanka and the USA to the list of countries included in its "Feel At Home" package.
- On 1 July 2014, 3 UK added France, Finland, Israel, Norway and Switzerland to the list of countries included in its "Feel At Home" package.
- On 1 April 2015, 3 UK added New Zealand and Spain to the list of countries included in its "Feel At Home" package.
- In Sept 2014, 3 Denmark added France, Germany, Norway and Switzerland to its "Roam Like Home" proposition.
- In May 2015, 3 Denmark added Portugal, Malta, Greece, Cyprus and Spain its "Roam Like Home" proposition.
- In November 2015, 3 Denmark added USA and Singapore to its "Roam Like Home" proposition.
- On 8 September 2016, 3 UK added an additional 24 European destinations, including Germany, Portugal and Greece to its "Feel At Home" package.
- On the 1st April 2017 3 Ireland announced that they were discontinuing their 'Three Like Home' service later announcing they would instead provide a "Roam Like at Home" experience to customers allowing them to use their flexi units and a "chunk" of their data within the
28 EU countries
- Andorra, Guadeloupe, Monaco, Norway, Switzerland and San Marino on Pay As You Go Plans
28 EU countries
- Andorra, Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, French Guiana, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Martinique, Monaco, Norway, Reunion, San Marino and Vatican City on Bill Pay Plans
This was introduced as part of Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 to Abolish Roaming Charges Within The European Union
- On 15th June 2017: 3UK added Brazil & Singapore to their Roam Like Home proposition
Hutchison launched the Three network in Australia in 2003, via its majority ownership of Hutchison Telecom Australia Ltd (HTAL). It operated a 2,100 MHz 3G network in a 50/50 partnership with Telstra (the radio networks were shared while the core networks were separate), covering approximately 56% of Australia's population. The 3G network covered Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, the Gold Coast, Canberra, Geelong, Frankston and Wollongong.
On 9 February 2009, HTAL and Vodafone announced that they would be merging their Australian operations into a 50-50 joint venture called VHA Pty Ltd. All products and services offered by VHA would be marketed under the Vodafone brand. The merger was approved by shareholders and regulators on 29 May 2009, and Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd was established in June 2009. The Three and Vodafone networks remained separate until August 2009. Vodafone phased out the Three brand from late 2011 onwards. No new registrations to the Three brand were made after this time.
Hutchison formerly operated an Australian CDMA network under the Orange brand name, as Orange One. It allowed customers to use their 3 Branded CDMA mobile phone as a Home phone when at home. Calls made from their mobile were charged at rates similar to those of a Landline. Customers also received a "Local Zone " number allowing them to be called on a Landline number whilst at home. Should the phone be out of the Local zone, Calls made to the landline number either diverted to the Mobile number at a small fee, or was directed to Voicemail on the mobile handset. These plans started at a very competitive price of $10.00 per month, and local calls from the local Zone to a local landline was charged at 20c per local call, making their service cheaper than those of Telstra or Optus. The Orange One network was not as vast as others, and so Orange made arrangements with Telstra to allow the services of Orange one devices to roam to the Telstra network On 1 February 2006, it was rebranded as 3 CDMA, and this network was closed as of 9 August 2006. 3 CDMA customers were offered special tariffs and incentives to continue as customers on the 3G network, all customers either moved over to 3's 3G network or to other network providers.
Vodafone Hutchison Australia is owned by:
- Vodafone: 50% – as of July 2009
- Hutchison Telecoms Australia Ltd (HTAL) – 50%. HTAL is owned by:
- Hutchison Whampoa: 52.03% – as of 16th 9 March
- Public shareholders: 26.84%
- Spark New Zealand: 10% (with an option for a further 9.94%)
- Leanrose Pty Limited: 11.13%
On 29 May 2008, Hutchison Telecommunications (Hong Kong) Limited announced that it has signed an agreement with Apple Inc. to bring the iPhone to Hong Kong and Macau later that year under 3. In 2012, a partnership with Vodafone was launched and 3 Hong Kong is a member of the Conexus Mobile Alliance. 3HK has also partnered with a leading fintech player, WeLab, providing interest-free installment plans for purchasing of mobile devices.
The 3 service in Indonesia is operated by PT Hutchison 3 Indonesia (formerly Hutchison Charoen Pokphand Telecommunications (2004–2013) and Cyber Access Communication (before 2004)). 3 Indonesia was founded as a company in 2002, received a 3G licence in 2004, and began operations on 29 March 2007, initially in the Jakarta area only. Only after 9 months of operations, 3 acquired about 2.2 million GSM customers. 3 achieved high customer mindshare maintaining at about 90% of awareness level as of April 2009.
As of April 2009, 3 Indonesia had about 4.5 million customers on its GSM network. 3 offers both pre-paid and post-paid (contract) services. Currently, the post-paid service is available in Jakarta, Bandung, and Surabaya area.
3 Indonesia slogan is "Jaringan GSM-mu (Your GSM Network)", formerly "Jaringan Selularmu (Your Cellular Network)". Sometimes, 3 use "Mau? (Want it?)" and "Hanya di 3 (Only on 3)" slogan in their ads.
3 currently has full GSM coverage in Java, Sumatera, Bali, Lombok, and Riau Islands. And as of April 2009, Kalimantan is covered in South Kalimantan and Sulawesi is covered in South Sulawesi. The 3 UMTS/HSDPA service is now available in most parts of Java, especially big cities like Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung.
3 Indonesia launched its new unlimited text and MMS service for a fee with Facebook on 8 April 2009, so registered 3 customers can update status, write on wall, or upload new pictures freely without any more charges. Beside with Facebook, 3 also cooperated with Yahoo! to give unlimited chat for a fee by SMS and downloadable app using Yahoo! Messenger service. Both of these are the first of their kind in Indonesia.
It is announced that Charoen Pokphand divested its telecommunication business in Indonesia by sale of its share on 3 to Garibaldi Thohir and Northstar Group. The company name is now PT. Hutchison 3 Indonesia.
3 Group Europe
Three Austria started operations in May 2003. The company promised to have 95% population coverage with HSDPA end of 2007. By 2008, 3's 3G coverage reached 94% of the population. Outside the coverage of its own 3G-network (UMTS/HSDPA/HSPA+) it relies on national roaming on the network of T-Mobile Austria (before Mid-2012, the network of A1 was used for national roaming). 3 Austria is the first in Austria to offer its customers so called "HD Mobile TV" based on the H.264 encoding standard, and won IIR telcon awards for their eBay (2006) and X-Series Gold (2007) offerings. 3 Austria won a DVB-H license and launched the service in June 2008, with three devices and free usage of Mobile TV. In September 2010 – The number of 1 million customers were exceeded. In November 2011 – 3 Austria launched HD Voice and LTE In January 2012, 3 Austria announced its national roaming agreement with T-Mobile, which will introduce from July 2012. Customers of 3 Austria will be able to roam on T-Mobile's GSM-network where 3's GSM-network is not available. Simultaneous clients of T-Mobile (including tele.ring) will be able to roam on 3's UMTS-network where T-Mobile's UMTS-network is not available. The roaming agreement with A1 will be continued parallel until year-end. On 3 February 2012 Hutchison Whampoa announced that it had bought Orange Austria for US$1.7 billion, from France Télécom which owned a 35% stake, and private equity firm Mid Europa Partners, which held the remaining 65%. The combined business will create a mobile carrier with 2.8 million customers and more than 20 percent market share in Austria. JPMorgan Chase advised Hutchison on the deal, while Morgan Stanley advised France Télécom and Mid Europa Partners.
Denmark and Sweden
3 Denmark and 3 Sweden have a common network covering most of the two countries. Customers are "at home" on both networks, i.e. Danish customer receive calls from Denmark without paying roaming fees when they are on 3 Sweden's network and it does not cost extra to call Danish telephone numbers. 3 Scandinavia also previously had a license to build a network in Norway, but in 2011 decided against launching a 3G network in Norway. In 2008 both operations showed a positive EBITDA. In Sweden the mobile network is shared with Telenor, except for cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo, Lund and Karlskrona where they handle their own 3G networks, but this practise is not allowed in Denmark. In the spring 2011 3 started, without Telenor, to build their own 3G Network on the UMTS 900-band which will give a bigger coverage. UMTS 900 and LTE 800 is rolled out using the same base stations. Today 3 Sweden covers about 98.5% of the Swedish population. In May 2012, 3 Sweden launched it first LTE services. It uses the TDD2600, FDD2600 and FDD800 bands. According to ZTE, this is the world's first LTE network to use both FDD and TDD at the same time. At the beginning of 2014, 3 Sweden was Sweden's fastest growing mobile operator.
3 Denmark has "3 LIKE HOME" including country such as (Austria, Cyprus, USA, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Ireland, UK, Spain, Portugal, Malta, Puerto Rico, Greece, San Marino, Singapore, Switzerland, The Netherlands, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Germany)
3 has a licence for operation in Ireland using the access code 083 (although numbers can be ported over from other networks.) The service was launched on 26 July 2005 as Ireland's fourth mobile network operator behind Vodafone, O and Meteor. 3's coverage is made up of a single 2,100 MHz band UMTS network, with claims of 96% population coverage and 500,000 subscribers. A roaming agreement with Vodafone provides GSM coverage where no UMTS signal is available. Service was initially offered as post-paid only, but on 16 May 2006 the introduction of a pre-paid service, known as 3Pay, was announced. A pre-paid mobile broadband service was launched on 29 February 2008 under the name 3Pay Broadband, with vouchers available for durations of one day, one week, or one month. On 13 May 2010, 3 Ireland announced the launch of the world's first commercial voice and data I-HSPA network. In July 2012, 3 Ireland announced a strategic partnership with Vodafone Ireland to share network infrastructure. This facilitated rapid rollout of 3 Ireland's 4G network, while also making it less costly. When a 3 user is using 2G or Edge connection, they are using Vodafone's 2G network, as 3 are a 3G/HSDPA network only. In November 2012 it was awarded LTE spectrum by auction, along with the three other incumbent network operators. On 24 June 2013, it was announced that Hutchison would acquire Telefónica's Irish mobile operations, O2 for €780 million, to be merged into 3 Ireland upon completion of the deal. As of 2014, The European Commission has agreed to the go ahead of the merge. On 27 January 2014, Three launched their 4G network in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Wexford and Waterford. In March 2014, Three.expanded their 4G coverage to Ashbourne, Bray, Carlow, Dunmore East, Kilkenny, Leixlip, Lusk, Rush, Skerries, Swords and Tullamore. As of October 2015 Three Ireland now has a total of over 2 million subscribers after merging with O2 Ireland
In Italy, 3 was formerly known as Andala 3G SpA, a company founded in November 1999 and controlled by Sardinian internet company Tiscali and Franco Bernabè. It was the first mobile operator to offer 3G services (UMTS), launched in March 2003. As of March 2010, 3 Italia had 9 million registered customers. 3 Italy is the largest company in the 3-group measured in number of subscribers. It has a roaming agreement with TIM which allows its customers to get a 2G service when they move out of 3G coverage. This agreement allows 3 to offer coverage to up to 99.8% of the population on 2G service. On 22 February 2006, 3 announced the first launch of HSDPA technology in Italy, with initial coverage of Rome. The HSDPA service, which provides wireless broadband access with speed up to 14.4 Megabit/s, has been initially launched offering connection speeds up to 3.6 Megabit/s. The service has been called ADSM (as a contraction for ADSL Mobile). On 14 May 2006 3 was the 1st in Italy to launch the Digital Mobile TV with the DVB-H technology (70% of population); this service is currently available with three mobile models LG U900, LG U960 & Samsung SGH-P910. 3 Italy's slogan is: Meglio cambiare, no? (It's better to change, isn't it?). From November 2006 to March 2007, 3 Italy's testimonial has been Paris Hilton, followed by Luciana Littizzetto. From 6 June 2008, 3 Italy offers free of charge the viewing of Rai 1, Rai 2, Canale 5, Italia 1, Rete 4, SKY Meteo24, Current TV and La7 television channels with DVB-H technology. In 2013, 3 Italy all inclusive plan for pay as you go sim called "All In", this plan permits in 2014 to raise customer numbers to 10 million. In 2014, Three starts to upgrade the BTS network with the new frequency licensed UMTS 900 that will improve indoor coverage. Ownership:
Hutchison 3G launched in the UK on 3 March 2003 (03-03-03), the day that 3G services went live across the country, and handsets went on sale later that month. This made Three the UK's first commercial video mobile network. On 9 December 2004, Three announced that it was the first network to meet its regulatory requirement of 80% population coverage in the UK. Three's UK division is owned entirely by Hutchison Whampoa. Three operates 3G and 4G services, and maintains a national roaming agreement with Orange to provide 2G services where 3G is unavailable. Until 2006, Three partnered with O2 for 2G services. The 2G fallback coverage provided by Orange has since greatly diminished. While still available, it is being removed in some areas as Three believe 3G technology is now enough for mass adoption, and as a result, many (often at the cheaper end) phones that support only 2G networks are not compatible with the Three network.
As of 2013, Three no longer provides a significant 2G fallback for most of the United Kingdom. Three's first retail stores (3Store) opened at the same time as the network launched in London's Oxford Street and High Street Kensington, and at the Birmingham Mailbox. Three's handsets and contracts are also sold by mobile telephony chains and independents throughout the UK, as well as online retailers. In 2005, an expansion of the 3Store portfolio saw stores opened in larger malls throughout the UK, such as the Bluewater shopping centre, and The Mall at Cribbs Causeway near Bristol. On 24 October 2006, Three announced that it had purchased 95 high street shops from O2 and The Link.
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