Owned by Hutchinson Whampoa (HW), 3 is an umbrella brand under which several broadband internet providers and mobile phone networks operate in 10 countries, UK being one.
3 has 3 group businesses:
• 3 Group Europe: Fully owned subsidiary of Hutchinson Whampoa
• Hutchinson Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings (HTHKH): Listed on the SEHK, HW owns 65.01% stake in HTHKH
• Hutchinson Asia Telecommunications (HAT): Listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, HW owns 87.87% stake.
3 provides mobile telephony and broadband internet services. It provides 2G services through Orange’s network infrastructure 3G & 4G services through its own infrastructure. For its roaming services, Orange is the national roaming partner from May 2006.
3 started in UK on 3rd March, 2003 as first commercial video mobile network. Recently, HW announced that it would acquire Telefonica’s British mobile unit O2. As on May, 2015 HW has been able to get more than $4.5 billion funding from 5 investors. The merger will create of the largest mobile operator entity in the UK.
3 had focussed on providing only 3G services when it was introduced, providing patchy 2G services. T-Mobile and 3 launched a 50:50 JV, Mobile Broadband Network Limited to combine the parent companies’ 3G network and complete 3G population coverage. 3 has also been one of the first operators to introduce 4G in the UK. It launched “Feel at Home” programme where subscribers in one 3 home network can use their number in other global 3 networks without any extra charges. This scheme was discontinued in 2009, but re-introduced in 2013.
The management of 3 is betting heavily on O2 acquisition to charge its future growth. Existing plans are aimed at gaining market share in the smartphone, mobile data segments and enhancing customer usage experiences in 4g services at competitive prices.