back to article Three's mobile data goes titsup in mysterious spreading outage

Many customers of the UK's smallest mobile network, Three, are without data connectivity this morning as an outage which started last night is spreading with no sign of a fix. The problem is affecting customers across the UK. Once connectivity is lost it can't be regained, but some remain unaffected - so identifying the …


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  1. Shell

    Three -or None

    Bizarre behaviour with my Three-connected iPad here - it does appear to be an authentication issue. While trying to connection to anything, I get a flash of a dialog that appears to be asking for credentials, which then vanishes before it can be tapped. Also, "The internet connection appears to be offline" says TuneIn Radio.

    * Have restarted device and now no 3G connection symbol either, Edinburgh city centre.

    1. Bill the Sys Admin
      Thumb Down

      Re: Three -or None

      Yes Edinburgh here and im getting **** all. 2G connection is going as well. Bloody annoying is what this is! Meant to be taking an important call later today.

      1. S4qFBxkFFg

        Re: Three -or None

        Glasgow here, nothing since ~08:30BST.

        1. S4qFBxkFFg

          Re: Three -or None

          Back up as of 11:19BST.

      2. S4qFBxkFFg

        Re: Three -or None

        "2G connection is going as well."

        I didn't think Three actually had any 2G - is this correct?

        1. Zippy's Sausage Factory

          Re: Three -or None

          3 use Orange to provide their 2G connection I believe - at least they used to a couple of years ago, not sure what they use now. Suffice to say I've ended up on Orange a couple of times when outside 3G area.

        2. lukegb

          Re: Three -or None

          Yeah, Three's 2G connection is actually on a contract between them and Orange (I believe). They used to also provide data services over the 2G link but they've been shutting that down in areas where they believe the 3G connectivity is good enough, and I think they may have shut it down nationwide already.

          I remember sometimes I used to be able to get better connectivity by setting my connection to 2G only in Portsmouth, but I haven't needed to do that in forever, and it wouldn't work now anyway.

  2. Admiral Grace Hopper
    Thumb Up

    Leave In Silence

    They aren't answering the Twitters either. Or not me, anyway.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: Leave In Silence

      Not sure how the thumbs up happened, although if sticking a thumb anywhere might chivvy them up a little, I'll get the lube out.

  3. tentimes
    Thumb Up

    Rare occurrence on 3

    I've been with 3 for over 10 years and this is the first time I can remember this happening. OFC I might not have noticed it before. They are pretty good for data and better than my experiences of trying other networks with PAYG sims to compare.

    1. Shell
      Thumb Up

      Re: Rare occurrence on 3

      As frustrating as the network being down is, this is also my experience. Three is usually very reliable - I use a dongle with my fruity laptop as well as the SIM in the 'pad.

      1. Tom7
        Thumb Up

        Re: Rare occurrence on 3

        Agreed. First time I've noticed a serious outage on 3, in five years of use. Coverage another matter, of course...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Rare occurrence on 3

        "I use a dongle with my fruity laptop as well as the SIM in the 'pad."

        what a shame for you!

    2. Idy

      Re: Rare occurrence on 3

      Also been with three for a long long time, and this is the first occurrence we've had. More than happy to use Wifi for now though :)

  4. nuked

    Mine has been off since about 11pm last night, but I managed to connect briefly this morning at 8am to download some emails and check a website or two. It's been down since.

    1. nuked

      Back on now.

  5. Churro Joe

    Aha - explains why the podcast i was listening to stopped and never came back on when I went through a tunnel this morning. God, radio is awful these days.

  6. CoffeeFueled

    Makes sense

    That explains why my dongle dropped connection earlier on the train, and never came back up.

    Having said that it's now just reconnected on its own. Fixed, or did I just get lucky?

  7. LesB

    Still down for me...

    Newcastle city centre. Phone showing no 3G symbol after a restart, MiFi's web interface shows "Connection failed"

  8. st3x
    Thumb Down

    Not just data...

    Calls to other 3 numbers, SMS and access to their own 333 support number also seem affected (although that last one might be due to all their disappointed customers trying to find out what is happening thanks to them neglecting to acknowledge any sort of issue on either their website or twitter...)

  9. Jemma


    Just checked & mines working perfectly..

  10. Trustme

    Down in Someset (ooh-arr).

  11. Callum

    ip config?

    my 3G dongle on linux looks like it is successfully authenticating and then immediately dropping on ip config.

    Jun 4 10:14:12 x pppd[3749]: CHAP authentication succeeded

    Jun 4 10:14:12 x NetworkManager[873]: CHAP authentication succeeded

    Jun 4 10:14:32 x NetworkManager[873]: <warn> pppd timed out or didn't initialize our dbus module

    Jun 4 10:14:32 x NetworkManager[873]: <info> Activation (ttyUSB0) Stage 4 of 5 (IPv4 Configure Timeout) scheduled...

    Jun 4 10:14:32 x NetworkManager[873]: <info> Activation (ttyUSB0) Stage 4 of 5 (IPv4 Configure Timeout) started...

    Jun 4 10:14:32 x NetworkManager[873]: <info> (ttyUSB0): device state change: ip-config -> failed (reason 'ip-config-unavailable') [70 120 5]

    Jun 4 10:14:32 x NetworkManager[873]: <info> Marking connection '3 - Internet' invalid.


    Jun 4 10:14:32 x pppd[3749]: Connection terminated.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All good here in London Bridge now, just hope they get around to fixing out local transmitter, incoming & outgoing very hit & miss even with a full signal but strangely data is fine hopefully will find out after beer o'clock.

  13. creepytennis
    Thumb Down

    Problems a few weeks ago

    I live in Sheffield, and myself and all of my friends who are on Three had a huge, *six day* outage a few weeks ago. Three eventually admitted there was a problem but wouldn't say what it was, or what they had done to fix it.

  14. Gatt

    Still nothing here in sunny Manchester (yes it is actually sunny!)

    As already said their tweets are going unanswered - in fact 3 seem to be keeping us in the dark...

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think you put your username in the wrong field

      1. GraemeS

        Ah - the perils of letting 1password fill in my username and password and then not checking it before posting

    2. batfastad


      I hope the body of this post is your password

      1. Anonymous Coward


        That made me snort.

  16. Craigie

    Started yesterday

    Died in Glasgow City Centre at about 22:00 last night. Thought it might be a local mast thing but was still borked when I got home, and this morning, and now. It was patchy at first, but as the article states, it seems to be spreading to other masts, probably due to them trying to handle the extra load?

  17. Aitor 1

    Edinburgh here: we just got connection.

    It went out first yesterday somewhere around 10PM. My Gf didn't have connection but I did wtf?

    Then this morning I lost connection till now...

    At least, it is SUNNY in Edinburgh!!

    1. Stuart 22

      A message from Murdochia ...


  18. Gatt

    And it's back!

    Back up and running here in Manchester!

  19. Narom

    Back up and running.

    Just got the service back. Fast as ever.

  20. LesB

    Back up for me...

    Now working in Newcastle city centre.

    Three's last tweet said it was back in London, with everywhere else due to be connected this afternoon.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Bilderberg's arrived. Communications restored.

    Oops, I think I forwarded it to the Register.

    > Thanks mike

    >> We've switched in all back on now, the pikeys didn't get to stop any of them.

    >> Tom's said that Everyone Active's doing a free swim, so all the vagrants can at least be clean.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bilderberg's arrived. Communications restored.

      I'll admit i got a bit tinfoil n' black choppers after I couldn't locate my girlfriend (who uses Three) using the iphone's "Stalk My Missus" feature (AKA the "I'll Remind You To Post The Letter When You're Off The Tube" feature) at 8.30 this morning. When it persistently failed to find her (my letter didn't get posted), I remembered 'er Maj was heading down to Westminster Abbey for the coronation anniversary, put two and two together and got 9.563, which had me convinced we were actually witnessing a suppression of data/GPS ahead of a planned diamond jubilee coup intended to solve the country's problems by rolling government back to just before Magna Carta with Whalesong Charlie as titular ruler backed by a shadowy group of business types who had subverted the CBI.

      Properly attired and safely ensconced behind our large sofa for an hour or so, I began to have doubts when the obligatory choppers failed to turn up, but the clincher was the fact that I could still get Masterchef reruns on iPlayer via my Vodafone dongle, and of course TVs the first thing you go for in a coup (although the speed of my Vodafone connection might not pass as communications in need of suppressing). I hope Three don't make a habit of this, because it's pretty exhausting and not too comfortable behind the sofa.

  22. Andy Scott

    It was down in Paisley for at least 2 hours this morning. It's now back though at the moment (11:40)

    I know I lost signal the other week there and three replied on twitter that they're upgrading the base stations in Paisley.

  23. Ed 11

    Lost data signal on my commute from NW London to the City at about 9am. Emails started flowing again by 10.30am.

  24. Naozumi
    Thumb Up

    Back up

    I'm in Glasgow City Centre and after a reboot now (11.45am), it is back up. Needed a reboot to get it working though. Irony is I moved to Three after GiffGaff & O2's massive fails that knocked me out 3 or so times.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Back up

      Where's the irony? Phone networks go down. They're not out to get you.

      1. The Commenter formally known as Matt
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Back up

        > They're not out to get you.

        Unless you're *that* Naozumi, in which case they are out to get you

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    THREE are the only provider that do not block SKYPE in my area ...

    Can't understand how Vodafone and O2 get away with deliberately degrading their prepay packages unless you buy their Skype add-on package. Useless regulators as always! I thought the problem was coverage. After troubleshooting on forums I realized the real culprit. But by then it was too late as I was stuck with a useless dongle... Anyone else get taken in by this practice?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If you mean 'taken in by the idea that UK regulators are there to help consumers', then no.

  26. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Well if the mast

    stays up, then some arse will put a JCB through the fibre optic cable link instead.

    Like at Virgin media's portsmouth hub yesterday....

    Not to worry... only 50 000 customers were left with no net or TV either

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EE have been having issues. Are those affected being carried on EE infrastructure?

    1. Jemma

      EE *are* issues..

      There, fixed it for you.

  28. AndGregor
    Thumb Down

    Been Off for Weeks

    Am near Northampton, we have had practically no voice, text or data service for over 4 weeks now. Signal pings up, a couple of emails may drop in and then it goes again. Calls won't go through, texts usually take a couple of hours to go. I have no signal now.

    Has been intermittent since Jan or Feb.. Many Saturdays, for some reason, we would have no signal and data has been up and down fairly regularly.

    Three have given a token credit on our bill. Support rang and I couldn't hear them (another symptom) so they text me to say they tried to call but I couldn't be contacted., please ring them back..

    Please fix my signal Three.. And prepare for another round of crediting my bill :)

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Been Off for Weeks

      >Am near Northampton, we have had practically no voice, text or data service for over 4 weeks now.

      This morning is the first time I've had the dongle unable to connect to the mast (APN 3internet). In the past (and a little too frequently for comfort these last few weeks) I have noticed the DNS service have been a little unreliable.

      Can't talk about voice/text/phone data services (these use different APNs to the dongles) as these services don't normally work in my village although Orange for voice/text does...

      Mind you this outage just confirms the validity of having dual broadband suppliers for the home office - particularly as a 56k dial modem connection is probably no longer a realistic fall back - even though there are still some places where it is the only option available...

  29. ElNumbre

    Up Now

    Was down from late last night here in the South Black Country/North Birmingham area, but it looks like service is back up again. Speeds are TERRIBLE (1/10th of usual) but something is better than nothing.

    I assume there is a single point of failure that did this, which, for a "network built for data" isn't really very good at all.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Services die from time to time, get over yourselves!

    Christ even wor lass doesn't winge on like some of you lot!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Still down

    Was down at 10:30pm last night. I am still down now!

    I am in the Hereford area. It is sunny here also!

  32. Danny Roberts 1


    Still nothing official from Three, that is the most annoying part! I buggered about with the settings on my phone thinking it may have been just me. This now means I don't know if I have no data because I've stuffed up the settings or of the Three data network is still down. Without something from Three themselves I'm just sat here rebooting from time to time.

    On a side note, if anyone in Leicester has had data return, please let me know! Thanks!

  33. st3x

    ...down again...

    Full service was restored here in Leeds ~1pm but data has dropped off again, and it would appear SMS is back on the blink...


  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no Internet

    Well at least they get internet normally.

    With Vodafone, half of my train journey has no data.

    The signal dips out completely for a couple of minutes, but for the rest it shows average to good signal, but data times out...

  36. Johnny G

    Up and down

    Marylebone, London: Finally connected late morning. Web browsing speed was good, excellent in fact, but time & date services didn't seem to be working and my Gmail client couldn't connect to google to download email. My phone thinks it's 6th January 1980.

    Connection went off again at about 5pm.

    It was actually quite nice not having the distraction of the internet on my train to work. Anyway, it's a beautiful day outside and I want beer, not my phone.

  37. fords42
    Thumb Up

    Back up here

    The signal's back on in sunny East Lothian.

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