back to article Three UK goes TITSUP*: Down and out for 10 hours and counting

Three UK has suffered a nine-hour outage and counting, affecting 3G and 4G calls across the entire British Isles. The mobile network operator, which boasts 11.7 million customers, has been down since around 11 last night judging by the volumes of angry tweets directed at it. A quick squint at Down Detector shows thousands of …

  1. Doogie Howser MD


    One presumes turning it off and on again has not alleviated the problem.

    Three customer having a quiet day on the work calls front ;-)

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Gah

      One presumes turning it off and on again has not alleviated the problem.

      Actually that worked for me about 5 minutes ago (in Cambridge). Seems that having disconnected you have to force your phone to reconnect.

      1. Jules 1

        Re: Gah

        Same here, went down around midnight last night. Phone still reported no service this morning.

        Disabling and enabling airplane mode made no difference but switching the phone entirely off and on again did the trick! Identical experience with 2 different iPhones.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Huawei introduced to network...

          Three UK is ripping out Samsung's 4G radio equipment and introducing gear from Huawei

          testing and everything went well didnt it ?

          1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            Re: Huawei introduced to network...

            Either that or it's the NSA patch that is causing problems . . .

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Huawei introduced to network...

            Huge Upset Arrives With Every Installation.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gah

      If you can access second-tier customer support, they will suggest hitting your phone with a hammer....

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gah

      Have they recently off-shored all tech support to India, with the expected consequences?

    4. tonkei

      Re: Gah

      Maybe they didn't realise how impractical that 'solution' is when you're in the car and have driven out of the saved map only to find Google maps can't load the next bit of the map?

      Niche problem, I know.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gah

        So, use an offline mapping app, then!

        1. Flywheel

          Re: Gah

          You mean one of those paper, folding things? Blimey!

          1. nagyeger

            Re: Gah

            osmand, for instance.

            Other offline apps are available, may have a better UI, may not be so annoyingly full of options.


            your qualification when you can go straight to the right sub-sub-menu on osmand

            1. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Gah

              >Other offline apps are available

              But only if you have Internet connectivity to be able to download that offline app...

              In these circumstances the best offline app is one of the paper versions, combined with setting the car radio to pick up traffic reports - its what we did a little over 10 years ago...

              1. Glen 1

                Re: Gah


                Is that like e-ink?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gah

          Google maps does offline mapping - you can have it keep a selected area offline for general use or/and download route plans for offline use too.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gah

          Or a map? You know, papery thing, bit like a book or magazine but with drawings of roads etc

  2. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

    Yay, another titsup backronym to add to my growing list!

    1. Tony Gathercole ...

      TITSUP *

      or even ... *Three's Inability To Support Usual PhoneStuff

      1. Chloe Cresswell Silver badge

        Re: TITSUP *

        Nice, but I'm only collecting the ones in articles.. I have a pastebin where I add them when I see them ;)

  3. simpfeld

    "experiencing intermittent service"

    Yeah I have to say that bugs me. Has anyone got any access at all, the network looks completely down country wide!

    Any to give zero feedback all night on any platform isn't good.

    1. bristolmoose

      Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

      Had access all morning. Currently in Leeds

      1. merchie

        Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

        That's funny. I am in South Leeds and no service at all.

        1. firu toddo

          Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

          I was in Brighouse, West Yorks, yesterday. My Three phone was fine all day. Poor couple stood next to me had no service on Three. They were not impressed!

    2. IsJustabloke
      Thumb Up

      Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

      "Has anyone got any access at all"

      I reside in the People's republic of Bedfordshire and I haven't had any kind of outage at all. It was all good last night and it's all good today.


      1. simpfeld

        Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

        Strange, the downdetector seems to suggest it's countrywide.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Strange, the downdetector seems to suggest it's countrywide.

          Perhaps we need to cross-reference downdetector reports from those on updetector... :-)

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

        Down ere in rural west hampshire, it has been fine all day. Reading this site is the first I've heard about it. There again, in this backwater, we are never anywhere near the first to hear about anything. The POTS network is a bit of wet string and two tin cans on days like this (aka chucking it down)

      3. nsld

        Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

        Likewise and a simple power cycle of the wifi router got me back online this morning when it was a bit iffy.

    3. Deej

      Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

      My Three HomeFi service went offline at 0:45 (ish) this morning and was still down when I went to work at 8:30 this morning.

      Since 9:15 I've been able to connect to it by VPN so it looks like it's up, but there is still no signal on my iPad where I work.

      Can only assume they're either bringing it up in a phased way or by APN or something like that?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

      I've not had any problems but I'm on an O2 based network. Hope that helps.

      1. Trev 2

        Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

        Same here but they had their own outages recently so cant be greedy, got to remind people that Three still exists which is really the main point of these outages. They all do it as its much cheaper than TV ads.

    5. dave 81

      Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

      Been fine in Reading. Only made the one phone call to another three mobile in Croyden.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

      Dropped completely about 10:30 - 11pm last night.

      By 5am, mobile data was working for a few (<5) minutes at time.

      DNS was not working, i.e. the route pushed didn't container nameservers.

      By 11am, mobile data has been not working for about 12 hrs.

      11:10am mobile data seems to be back DNS seems fine again.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

      Working perfectly for me in Edinburgh, in fact dare I say better than usual, where my office usually only has an iffy 1 bar signal indoors, but today has 2 or 3?! (Although maybe that could be If there is less load on the nearest mast than usual if other people are knocked out?)

    8. Stuart 22

      Re: "experiencing intermittent service"

      No probs here. Presumably when they switch me to the £6/month tariff it also went to the top of the call priority list. So, even during a nuclear attack I should still be able to check the speaking clock (020 7043 1320 for people of a certain age).

  4. mrdalliard

    Also applies to virtual network operators too...

    ID Mobile customer here. Similar issues.

  5. mr_souter_Working

    I got a text last week saying that they were going to be carrying out work in the Bishopton area this week (near my office outside Glasgow), and hoped to be finished by the 16th.

    so, I had worse than usual service yesterday - and no service at all today. no text, voice or data.

    their website is still down - and I can't use most of the social media sites from my work computer (El Reg doesn't count).

    I think the time may have come to move to another provider (not that most of them are any better)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    may have started much earlier

    Maybe just coincidence but their adult filter turned off on my account for a day, earlier in the week. Since then Firefox has been throwing random security errors before finally collapsing last night.

  7. Paul 25

    Three have been having network issues on and off for some months now in various parts of the country, I wonder if all this is related?

    While their tarrifs have been great value for my useage, the reliability issues have really started to compound their general lack of signal whenever I'm anywhere vaguely remote (while Voda seems to have no problems). Think I might be looking for a new provider in the not too distant future.

  8. Blockchain commentard

    On the bright side, it starts weaning the sheep off social media. So, pint half full kind of day.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    International roaming is also affected

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wet string?

    It'll be fine once the rain stops.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wet string?

      So some time in early June excluding weekends?

  11. commonsense

    Three customer here...

    I hadn't noticed... the service is the same as it always is.

    1. Chika

      Re: Three customer here...

      sPeak up *crackle crackle* can't hear you! *BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE*

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. DavCrav

      Re: No Wi-Fi calling either

      Wi-Fi calling is out for me too, but normal phone, texts and data are still working. This is in both Oxford and Birmingham.

  13. mark l 2 Silver badge

    My phone showed Emergency calls only this morning, but I powered off and rebooted my phone and it connected to the 3 network OK.

    I know some people never power their phones on/off and maybe a quick reboot will allow some affected 3 users to get their service back?

    1. illuminatus

      much the same for me in north Yorks and durham. Service seems ok for me now in durham city.

    2. Groaning Ninny

      A power cycle certainly didn't work for me this morning...

      Curiously, I was apparently connected to 3 now and then, but there was nothing beyond that.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This weeks TV advert headline from 3.

    Life was better without phones?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Three Networks

    What most people don't realise is that Three have 2 main core networks the Legacy 3G/4G and the new 4G/5G cloud network. Obviously running 2 networks together is bound to suffer some teething problems.

    Offshoring of 90% of Service Desk and Ops Support jobs and ongoing reduction of UK back office Tech Support staff by 50% doesn't help the situation either,

    1. ARGO

      Re: Three Networks

      Twin cores might also explain why some people have service and others in the same area don't - only one of them has fallen over?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Three Networks

        The new Nokia core network is relatively new and they are in the process of migrating customers from the legacy network to the new one.

        I suspect this is an issue with one of the networks, and the customers on that network are the ones affected.

    2. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Three Networks

      BUT, apparently not bothering to put anything on their website ( for those who have access via other networks) is pretty inexcusable.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The new Guy.

    The service is still stop and go at this time in Leeds. Apparently it was down to routine maintenance. I have visions of some new guy polishing the ends of the fibre Chanel connectors.

    1. Steve K

      Re: The new Guy.

      Chanel connectors

      I thought that something smelt funny with this outage...

  17. steviebuk Silver badge

    They are shit...

    ..but it's only £15.37 a month on my contract with 30GB of data, unlimited text and voice (I assume they have a fare use clause in that). But their signal strength is shockingly shit.

    Lucky I was asleep during the outage and only noticed this morning but didn't need the phone.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: They are shit...

      Talk to SMARTY.

      Same network, same company (Hutchinson), £18/month on a pay monthly contract will get you unlimited data with a stated tethering maximum of 1000Gb before they will act, in their literature.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SMARTY

        SMARTY doesn't offer the same "roam like home" arrangement that Three does in many other countries around the world beyond the EU, which is very useful and could be a deal-breaker for some.

        (I briefly ported to SMARTY and then later back to Three again as Three's webshite wouldn't let me upgrade to a (much) better value "new customer" tariff (yeah, way to reward long-term loyalty, guys). The Three website could really do with a full rebuild, it's clunky as hell and not entirely mobile-friendly (duh).)

        (Remember, if you are fed up with your mobile network and are out of contract, you can now port hassle-free without having to endure helpline queues and drones, just by texting: PAC 65075.)

  18. John Robson Silver badge

    My remote site...

    Had a failure at about 6:45 this morning, got the router rebooted half an hour ago and it's back and running.

    Have to say I've been very happy with the signal, and the cost, of the service.

    (Uptime on the systems behind it indicate that it was just a network access failure at the router - but I couldn't get it to reconnect without a reboot).

  19. Spanners Silver badge

    OK Here now

    It seems to be working now in the West "Midlands".

  20. poohbear

    Is "Geek" not considered hate speech yet?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Only by geeks, so fuck 'em

  21. Commswonk

    Never Heard of...

    the Single Point of Failure?

    There was an item on You and Yours (R4, lunchtime) that included people for whom life appeared to have stopped completely; can'y pay for car parking, can't buy a coffee and so on.

    To those who are totally reliant on their smartfones for "everything" I would point out that you have willingly and wilfully introduced a Single Point of Failure into your everyday lives and you might usefully consider a small change in methodology to circumvent this. Actually having some cash in your pockets might be a good start.

    Single points of failure are a designers' and engineers' nightmare and they take the trouble to try to ensure that they don't build any in to whatever they are building. Is there any point if end users are going to ignore the possibilities of failure and engineer their lives so that a single failure that bring life to a halt?

    Try a bit of "mode diversity".

    1. myithingwontcharge

      Re: Never Heard of...

      You could say the same about almost every part of modern life. For example if you need a car to get to work and it breaks, you have a single point of failure. If you need money for food and your bank's systems stop working so you can't get paid, you have a single point of failure.

      The point is we pay these companies to remove that risk, in the same way we have breakdown cover for our car. When they fail to implement redundancy themselves they have failed in their core duty.

      When a moble phone network goes down people can die due to not being able to call for help. This is serious and Three should be facing the stiffest penalties any company serving the pubic could face as well as explaining exactly how they could allow an entire network to fail, presumably due to their own single point of failure or cascade failure.

      1. OrientalHero

        Re: Never Heard of...

        Actually, don't most ppl get courtesy cars (and bicycles - when your main mode is a bike obvs!) in their road side assistance service or insurance?

        Same thing goes for building insurance in that they will house you if there is a flood etc.

        I guess the point is that some ppl don't consider the possibility so don't arrange any cover for it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Never Heard of...

          I just have a PAYG Vodafone second SIM for just for this situation and to cover for network dead spots as a backup.

          I have "call forwarding on not available" setup pointing to my other SIM. Texts are not really a problem now with Whats App and other OTT messaging services.

      2. Arachnoid

        people can die due to not being able to call for help

        What total bollox do what we used to do years ago before mobile phones were so prolific, stop making your mobile the one thing in life you cant do without!

    2. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Never Heard of...

      Exactly why I have one of those small cylinders on my key ring with an "Emergency £20" in it :)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Noticed this morning that my mobile was displaying GiffGaff instead of Three meaning that it had switched over to my secondary sim.

    a quick tap of restart reconnected the phone to three.

    luckily it doesn't matter which network I am connected with as nobody has the real numbers for the sim's, everyone has what appears to be a mobile No but is really just a sip number.

  23. tonkei

    Return of Service after 12hrs of no to little service.


    Getting you vultures involved 'must have put a rocket' under Three, cause almost 5 hours after your posting, _my service_ returned!

  24. Dazzz

    Mines been down all day until I actually rebooted it, got 3G now

  25. 0laf

    I didn't realise it was borked. Phone was on emergency calls only. I assumed it was the phone having a moment and restarted it and all was well. Turned out that was the official advice anwyay.

  26. Franco

    Back up now for me after bouncing the phone, not on 3 but iD (MVNO)

  27. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    voice, text and data

    In other news Three are rebranding as Zero.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other TITSUP news...

    The network issues are annoying granted, but possibly not as important as being directly logged into someone else account when hitting the My3 URL last night at about 19.50 and being able to browse all their call logs/billing details.

    Appears remarkably reminiscent of:

    So far, no response as of yet on Twitter from Three Support on that one...

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Apparently, the taxi "cloud-based" dispatch system belonging to the firm I drive for runs on Three, as I saw various messages on the system today saying that around 40% of our cars were unable to log in and signal was up and down, although I had no trouble, so what's up?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    also didnt work in France

    this would explain why I couldn’t get any mobe internet connection in France yesterday - didnt matter too much as we were travelling but a PITA all the same

  31. Arion

    So... There was a time when Three wasn't tits up?

  32. Patman3


    I have been getting at least 2 days a week the last month or more with most of the day no connection. This last week I am using my phone mobile data from Tesco, as 3 will not connect me. My mac constantly keeps saying connection to 3 network lost, and it's never just a few minutes or an hour or so.

    We are talking give up and maybe you might get lucky next day type connection. And I have to pay £35 a month for that so called unlimited usage.

    They can see and proove my connection is NOT so. And I'm talking use of a 3G dongle here, not even 4 or 5G but pittiful 3G, and they can't even get that right, but keen to take my precious money each month for the poor service.

  33. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "In a statement posted to Twitter, where people without mobile data services couldn't read it"

    Annoying, but not an exceptional approach to communication these days. Governments around the world are now posting diplomatic (and not so diplomatic) messages on Twitter as their sole means of dissemination. Not only are these often ill-considered sound bites unseen by all but the twitterati, but they can start wars.

  34. Nifty Silver badge

    My iPhone was showing 'no service' at work. Ignored it all day as I'd had a text from Three the day before saying work planned in TW14 near that location.

    Coincidnce? On the drive home it stayed at No Service until... I turned airplane mode on and then off again (old trick).

  35. Roland6 Silver badge

    Sign of things to come?

    Given what (little) has been released about the cause, I suspect the root cause will be found to be a software upgrade of some key piece of network infrastructure, which doesn't bode well for the reliability of 5G...

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