back to article UK mobe network Three's profits hit by IT upgrade costs

Mobile operator Three UK reported a fall in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA)* of 2 per cent to £437m for its full-year results – largely due to an IT and network upgrade. Sales went up 7 per cent to £2.4bn for the 12 months ended 31 December 2017 (PDF). Capital expenditure rose 30 per …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge

    Li Ka-shing

    What a name for one of the richest guys in Asia ~ Kashing! Cashing it in. Priceless!

  2. eswan

    Ka-shing out?

  3. julian_n

    They are also losing money because people try them once, realise how crap their coverage is, and go elsewhere.

    I've just moved 3 contracts this year.

    1. DenTheMan

      20% profit

      It reads like 20% profit on sales of £2.5 billion.

      Not bad for a the minmow offering good consumer deals.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 20% profit

        In turnover that's just under half the size of 02, which implies that O2 are a sardine.

        As for the 20% "profit", see the footnote - that is before the cost of borrowing, tax, and planned writedown of assets. They might not have released the details yet, but for 2016, depreciation was £316m, amortisation was £49m, and interest was £6m a year. Those costs will be roughly similar in 2017, so the £437m EBITDA "profit" converts to a profit before tax of £66m, for a 2.75% pre tax margin.

        In terms of return on capital employed (using net assets), they probably got a 1% return for 2017, which is dismal.

        1. ARGO

          Re: 20% profit

          This makes me wonder if anyone at El Reg actually reads the things they link to. Both the 3UK PDF and the CKH PDF linked from the article state £437m as the EBIT figure, with EBITDA at £702m. Which is a healthier return.

          But with CAPEX at £459m, and another £294m spent buying UKBB there is still a negative cash flow for the year. Which is not ideal....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "realise how crap their coverage is"

      No worse than anyone else here, but at least they have a decent WiFi Calling package - was with Vodafone, but they only had it on business packages and it didn't support SMS or voicemail.

      1. Lee D

        Re: "realise how crap their coverage is"

        But mobile broadband... that's not just smartphones. Three got famous by being for the "data-heavy" user, they aren't going to be wandering around much.

        And I have both Three (mobile Wifi) and Giffgaff (smartphone) and I don't think either of them are better than the other and not to the point of detriment for either of them.

    3. Vince

      YMMV of course, but my experience is entirely different. In fact in our office, the vast majority of the staff use 3.

  4. James 51

    The price of contracts with flagship contracts is eye watering. SIM only is better value.

  5. Come to the Dark Side

    "Three is something of a minnow compared to BT/EE and Vodafone, which respectively hold 42 and 9 per cent of immediately usable UK mobile spectrum. In contrast Three owns 15 per cent, and O2 some 14 per cent."

    How does owning 15% make you a minnow when compared to someone who has only 9%?

    1. DavCrav

      "How does owning 15% make you a minnow when compared to someone who has only 9%?"

      My guess, typo. 1) the numbers don't add to anywhere near 100%, and 2) Voda doesn't own 9%.

      Edit: article has since been corrected. It's 29%.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ka-shing ...

    ... ka-CHING! The sound of money.

    1. m0rt

      Re: Ka-shing ...

      My pocket makes that sound, sometimes. But I am certainly not rich.

  7. Doogie Howser MD

    Bullshit Bingo Klaxon



  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's in a name?

    They're called Three as in 3G right? They brought it to market first didn't they with their crappy handsets with free Skype calls. Fast forward fifteen years... why would I consider "Three"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: why would I consider "Three"?


      - They are BT or Vodashite

      - They give me calls in the USA and Oz from my UK minutes.

      - I get 4G at home wheras O2 gives me 3G on a good day and the masts are next to each other.

      - When I have had a technical issue, I got to speak to someone who isn't from India (may have changed)

      All for under £12/month on a one month rolling contract.

      Yes, sometimes their coverage is a bit patchy but overall, I'm pretty satisfied.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why won't I consider "Three"

    They allowed my details to be accessed by a third party via their upgrade system, when said system has no technical need for access to any of said details. (it should pass details entered by the operator to a server which says match or no match, not show the details). This was (reported to me) months after having left them due to no wifi calling / visual voicemail.

    Signalwise, they were always great, their helldesk was in India when I had the misfortune of needing to call them.

  10. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Every Trip Home I buy a Few 3 Sims.

    Next trip back - Activate just before I get on the plane, put 10 quid on it & then convert to a "Add-On" with that balance to get me 1GB Data, 3000 mins, 3000 texts. Then buy a few more for next time.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like