back to article Three posts lacklustre results, angrily mutters over O2 merger rejection

Mobile operator Three posted lacklustre results for its first half of 2016, following a move by the EU competition regulator to veto its proposed £10.25bn merger with O2. Revenue for the first six months of the year dropped by 2 per cent to £1.052bn. Average revenue per user also fell by 3 per cent to £19.50 per month. The biz …

  1. Tessier-Ashpool

    Revenue dropped by 2%

    That would be me, then, together with quite a few other customers who ditched Three earlier this year.

    Here's a clue, marketing bods: Don't shaft long-standing loyal customers by retiring old plans and forcing them onto new plans at double the price.

    Three was making money out of me, but I didn't mind because it was good value for money. Now they make no money whatsoever out of me. So there.

    1. TonyJ

      Re: Revenue dropped by 2%

      "...Here's a clue, marketing bods: Don't shaft long-standing loyal customers by retiring old plans and forcing them onto new plans at double the price...""


      Me too, by the way.

      I had the 30 day rolling, One plan, SIM-only that allowed unlimited net access indluding tethering so whilst I was with O2 and their measly limits (and before that, they're £1 per MB tethering fee) I used it purely as a mobile hotspot.

      I wasn't a heavy user either but when they decided I would need a new tariff at much more money that didn't include tethering, I ditched them.

      And that leads to the crap service. I swear I heard "I can certainly help you with that" from their Indian call handler two dozen times followed by hard-sell to try and keep me. It took 3/4 of an hour and losing my temper to get the thing culled.

      1. Lars Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Revenue dropped by 2%

        "Average revenue per user also fell by 3 per cent to £19.50 per month". So should we weep and should we not understand that they like to merge in order not to have to compete.

        1. paulf
          Thumb Down

          Re: Revenue dropped by 2%

          @ Lars

          "So should we weep and should we not understand that they like to merge in order not to have to compete."

          Exactly this. As I've mentioned before the £10bn O2 acquisition money (plus the various monies for advisors etc) would buy Three massive customer service and network improvements plus the savings of not having to merge the O2 CS operations into Three not to mention the myriad complexity of having the O2 half of the network in Cornerstone (with Vodafone UK) and the other half in MBNL (with BT-EE). That kind of competition would put a serious rocket under the other UK operators. CS quality and coverage seem to be the biggest gripes so if Three could become best in class for CS it would be a major selling point, with improved coverage/capacity the icing on the cake.

          Unfortunately CKH/LKS clearly decided the £10bn only had a compelling RoI if it also came with reduced competition thus increasing their pricing power over muggins!

      2. goldcd

        Oh yes that as well

        Mid my asking "what's the best thing they could do over my official shafting", I seem to have inadvertently said "Yes, I would like to take you up on that offer, without noticing".

        I must have though, as she rattled into the T&C spiel, and then told me she'd arranged delivery of the phone...

        ...then got all hurt when I said I didn't want it.

        "You want me to cancel your order?"

        'WHAT ORDER??"

        Oh - and they're roaming is a bit 'shit'. Yes, it might work, but seems to vary wildly.

        Trip to US was faultless. Trip to Aus and I seemed to be being VPNd back to the UK and was running on dial-up modem speeds. Ended up buying a local SIM.

        Oh OH.

        AND THEY STILL don't seem to have managed to implement a decent voicemail system.

        No nice little icon (like everybody else), just a random text hours/days later if at all. Doesn't matter too much, as most of them are empty as they seem to treat immediate hangups as a 'message'

    2. djstardust

      Re: Revenue dropped by 2%


      Doubling the cost of long term plans for no reason was never going to work out well. Lying to customers also isn't the best way of keeping them.

      Add to that the fact that "feel at home" data is routed back to the UK and throttled to death with no streaming or Google maps and that was the end for me. They constantly blamed the foreign networks for this (including their own) but after moving to Vodafone for the same monthly fee I can now go on holiday and use the 4GB inclusive EU data at full 4G speed and even tether too.

      Three won't be missed one bit.

    3. goldcd


      Called them for my "My 2 years are up call" and I'd like a phone upgrade (switching from previous HTC One to new HTC One - which HTC are trying to clear, based on the £100 off voucher they mailed me).


      For the same price I currently get unlimited data for.. I could now have the basic 1 Gig.

      Oh, and the useless insurance has gone up, taking even that over the £50 my employer will kindly let me expense. I say useless as when my phone did go kapput and die, I rapidly realized they have a £100 excess on it..I could have got the USB repaired myself for less.

  2. jeremyjh


    Er, having voted in a referendum to leave the EU doesn't mean we don't have to stick to the rules. We're still bound by them right now. We haven't left yet.

    Also, if we're to stay in the single market, which is still a fairly good bet, we're also likely to have to swallow the rules.

    1. Chad H.

      Re: Pedantry

      Its more than pendantry, the article is misleading.

      The effects of the referendum are purely political, not legal.

      We do not know if the UK will choose to keep that rule, or whether the post brexit settlement will require it to be kept, or whether brexit will really happen at all.

  3. Vince

    My problem with three is that they're too cheap.

    The service is great, the approach to data is fine in my view, but they do make it a bit too cheap - especially on SIM only, so the ARPU is going to be pretty low.

    1. goldcd

      You've not been looking at their "new tariffs" have you?

      Rolling Sim-only unlimited data and calls, is now a pretty hefty £36.

      1. Vince

        Re: You've not been looking at their "new tariffs" have you?

        1) I don't think £36 for unlimited (as in truly) is that big a cost.

        2) You pay list price? Mug!

  4. ARGO

    "The biz did not release its pre-tax profit."

    Try page 15 here:

  5. TheProf

    I think I'm to blame

    I moved to a Three payg at the end of June and I've still got £6.50 of my £10 top-up left.

    Sorry Three, I'll go and text a couple of friends.

  6. colin79666

    "Dave Dyson, chief exec of Three, said he wanted the biz "to lead the industry on mobile data usage."

    Sorry but how does that fit with shutting unlimited data plans and launching new plans at much higher prices and with lower caps?

    I'm sticking with them for now as I'm on a reasonable plan but if they try to move me off it I'll be jumping ship. Three used to be a stand out network because of their data allowances but they are now as bad as the rest and they don't have lower prices on their side now either.

  7. Big_Ted

    WTF ?

    Ready for down votes . . .

    People getting angry because a business (not a charity) decided that they were going to stop some old plans and cancel the contract of anyone still on them (And yes it was when you no longer had a contract with them). Wow how dare they protect their business.

    You then have 2 choices take out a new three contract for more money but still unlimited data with now a possible 30gb hotspot limit or go to another supplier and try to get something for as good a price. Oh look no-one does unlimited data any more do they.

    So its your choice, pay the price or move elsewhere and get less possibly for more money.

    I drive all over the country on holiday and only rarely have no signal for non stop streaming of music from Google Play.....

    1. goldcd

      Oh my issue isn't that I felt they were a charity

      Just they're a remarkably stupid business.

      I was VF, then EE, then last time went to them.

      Good value plan, innovative free-roaming - so could put up with the call-centres (only operator who I genuinely have trouble understanding, and cold-call me to try to flog me shit I don't want) and the f'in awful voicemail.

      For the same cost I signed up for 2 years ago, I'm being offered 1Gig rather than unlimited.

      Now I rarely went over a gig - but occasionally hammered it when office/home wifi was down.

      I'd have been happy with data-rollover - but knowing I'm going to be paying more for less..bah, they're no cheaper than the others now, so not quite sure what the point of them is.

  8. nijam Silver badge

    > ... could save operators up to £750m per year

    No, it means they get to rip off customers by that much. I'd expect a better understanding of their finances from a Reg journalist!

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