Vodafone to end 3 mobile service completely

Vodafone to end 3 mobile service completely

Summary: Several hundred thousand customers still on the legacy 3 mobile service will need to switch in the next three months before Vodafone retires the brand completely.

TOPICS: Telcos, Australia

The remaining several hundred thousand customers still using the 3 mobile service will need to switch over their service by the end of August, as Vodafone brings to an end Australia's longest running 3G mobile network brand.

(Image: Josh Taylor/ZDNet)

3 mobile was launched in Australia in 2003 by Hutchison as Australia's first commercial 3G network. In mid-2009, Vodafone and Hutchison in Australia merged to form Vodafone Hutchison Australia.

In 2011, Vodafone announced it would cease offering 3 mobile plans to new customers, and would encourage existing customers to re-contract with Vodafone instead but insisted at the time that the 3 brand would remain.

Then in 2012, Vodafone and Telstra shut down the joint 2100MHz 3GIS network Telstra and 3 had shared.

Today Craig Reines, Vodafone's director of sales and service has announced that 3 mobile customers would need to be moved over by August 30, 2013 because the 3 service will be switched off entirely.

"3 customers have already been using the Vodafone network since August 2012, so all they need to do now is pick up a new Vodafone SIM and plan to continue to use their same handset and mobile number. We are working hard to ensure customers have a seamless experience," Reines said in a statement.

Vodafone could not disclose the total number of 3 customers that have remained since the merger, but it is understood to total several hundred thousand. Vodafone's total customer base sits at slightly over 6 million.

As Vodafone also brings an end to the agreement for 3 mobile customers to roam to Telstra's network in regional areas at the end of June, Reines said that Vodafone was already in contact with the 1 percent of 3 Mobile customers that would be significantly impacted by the end of this agreement, and would ensure that all customers were switched over.

The company announced last week that it had expanded its 3G network footprint to 1,200 sites ahead of a 4G launch later this month.

The news follows an announcement in February that Vodafone would end the Crazy John's brand in Australia.

Topics: Telcos, Australia


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Sad day for the 3 brand

    I am sure that Hutchison regret the decision to merge with Vodafone a number of years ago. No doubt they regret even more selecting the Vodafone network as the network infrastructure rather than the 3 network of the time. A lot of mention has been made of the fact of the 2010 "meltdown" of the Vodafone network. The fact is that network had been underinvested in for many many years and had been under-performing the competition for at least the last 5 years. The issues of today were born in decisions made 5 years ago - Vodafone have never had a true 3G network until the investment started to pour in to the fix the holes a couple of years of ago. In contrast the 3 network and services were well in advance of this. The most serious issue that 3 had on the network was data speed but its reliability and stability were way in excess of even the Vodafone network today. And even today if you look at the brands the 3 brand stands tall and certainly is seen in a better light than the Vodafone brand. No doubt if Hutchison had their time again they would have pushed ahead on their own and would have taken over the Vodafone base by performance rather than merger. The Vodafone network was always going to fail , it was just a matter of time. When it comes time to swap my 3 sim then I will simply keep it and go to an alternate carrier as I want to be with a service provider that stands for something more positive than what I see from Vodafone today.
  • VHA You made the wrong choice

    VHA made the wrong choice in June 2009 by selecting to use the Vodafone brand instead if the 3Mobile brand and prior to that HTAL as owners of 3Mobile made a strategic error in basically destroying a brand that they worked hard to get into the market and then thrive to be snapping at the heels of Vodafone Australia, my guess is that Mr Fok probably regrets having to continue to write cheques to bail VHA out every 6 months or so since about June 2010 ...

    I just spoke with the Tasmania call centre reps for VHA (3Mobile upgrades & customer rentention) and the ammount of basically crap they threw at me to not leave and join Vodafone was amazing but I still declined due to one simple fact ... Vodafone Australia do not deserve my business no matter what they are prepared to offer, never will I join Vodafone again after I left that shambles of a mobile business in 2000 for Orange and then in 2006 for 3Mobile, they operator tried hard and I could not fault him but he simply did not understand what troubles Vodafone gave me when I was last with them.

    The other main reason for staying with Orange/Three was the awesome ability to roam onto Telstra (CDMA with Orange, then GSM and finally WCDMA 3G), in fact as I buy my mobiles outright I simply locked the handts into full time Roaming and it worked out great.

    Off to Boost I go, 3 it certainly was a magic number, meanwhile the way Vodafone Australia is going they will be lucky to have 3 customers left if they persist on this current form or busknes management.
    the elder