back to article It's not you, it's Three. Mobe network goes titsup across UK

Mobile operator Three UK is suffering a widespread outage across the country after the service was abruptly halted by server maintenance earlier today. Customers began complaining that they were unable to access the network this morning. The Register contacted Three UK to find out what had gone wrong. Yet the carrier's PR …

  1. Tom 38 Silver badge

    OK, companies should provide the service you pay for, but "pathetic" for one single outage? If Three continually had spaffy connections maybe, but generally they are very good.

    Raging on the internet because you briefly (evidently) have no internet? #notevensurprised

    1. Ross K

      If Three continually had spaffy connections maybe, but generally they are very good.

      Agreed. Just as well their service is reliable, as their India-based "support" is unbearable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No issues here

        I've had no problems all day on Three. I've even called their customer services today which was a good experience.

        If you want to talk about bad off-shore customer services, look no further than Vodafone and their Egyptian call centre. That and not being able to make a call whilst moving between base-stations make their service laughable.

    2. Lionel Baden

      if you want redundancy

      Go pay for it yourself, one outage is not bad considering.

    3. Oh Matron!

      Let's not forget that:

      Those who can't, tweet….

    4. Saint Gerbil

      Generally Three works great outside of London, I've no idea why but calling and internet on Three in London is very sporadic and low quality when its actually working.

      Probably explains the sarcastic comments.

      1. NatNatNat

        Waterloo & The Angel

        I travel around the big smoke for most of my working day and have only found two places where the 3 tinternet connection consistenly drops, which isn't bad when I compare it to my EE phone or iFlab that when they're not displaying a PDP Authentication Errors they have full signal but slow as buggery throughput.

      2. 142

        Re: Three in London is very sporadic and low quality when its actually working.

        For 3G at least, this was due to the part of the spectrum they've been allocated. They were much more sensitive to line of sight than other networks as a result. I can't speak for their 4G service, though.

    5. Adam T

      Three's good

      Recently ditched O2 for Three after giving up on ever getting decent network connections.

      Now I get 4G practically everywhere I go, and surprisingly 3G when we go exploring the countryside (strictly No Service territory for O2).

      I'd rather have one hiccup a year than 365 days of pissing in a pot.

      1. a_a

        Re: Three's good

        Yes same here, data on O2 was appallingly slow I thought that was just mobile data in general, then I tried a 3 PAYG SIM, the difference was night and day.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No problems here

    Accessing the net via 3 on my phone and it's been fine all day

    1. Nadjau

      Re: No problems here

      Three data is working fine here in rainy Hampshire.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: No problems here

      APN: 3internet has been fine all day in my part of the East Midlands.

  3. Fibbles

    Can't say I'd noticed. Three's network has been working fine all day in the West Midlands.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge

      remember for a lot of people

      "the UK" really means "London and the South East"

      1. Andrew Jones 2

        Re: remember for a lot of people


        Just tested here in the Scottish Borders and my internet is still working - voice calls connect.

        I don't think this is UK wide at all.

      2. Fibbles

        Re: remember for a lot of people

        I've just looked at that Down Detector site. Their map of outage reports shows a big red mass over London and sod all anywhere else.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: remember for a lot of people

        That's where most people live. Most people of any importance anyway :-P

        1. twelvebore

          Re: remember for a lot of people

          "Most people of any importance anyway :-P"

          In their own estimation, maybe.

          1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

            Re: remember for a lot of people

            Oi! Us South-Easters don't want to be associated with that London mob. Sooner they build a wall round the M25 the better!

  4. Lord Lien


    I have had the miss fortune of dealing with there support desk once.

    "My mobile data is not working"

    "Have you tried rebooting the phone"

    "Its not the phone because if I go into another town it works fine, I have been to the local 3 store & they are having the same issue"

    "Have you tried rebooting your phone"

    "Can you pass me on to some one who knows what they are talking about please as you clearly do not"

    ....... Think you can take an educated guess at what the next person said. Was not until I got a Level 3 (what ever one of them was) that I finally got some one who had a slight clue. It took them over a month to fix what ever the problem was. Apparently there was a faulty tower (Yes, I have a image of John Cleese in my head now) in our area. Once the contract is up in a few months I think its time to bin 3.

    1. Dave Bell

      Re: 3.

      I see the same pattern for just about everything. "Have you rebooted" seems to be a standard helpdesk answer, possibly taught by a training college in Bangalore. It's not totally ridiculous a suggestion. And if you had the time to go to another town, you had the time to try a reboot.

      But they still sound like they are not listening.

      My latest little carry-on, I'm not sure anyone trying to answer has actually read my message, but it looks as though a special debug version of the server code gives vague and useless error messages and doesn't notice that the server-unit is overloading. But that's a totally unrelated business.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: 3.

        Who isn't listening here? The helpdesk person asked Lord Lien 3 times whether they had rebooted their phone, and he just keeps blathering about going in to a different town? Fascinating, BUT HAVE YOU REBOOTED YOUR PHONE?

        The first answer to all IT problems is always "Have you tried turning it off then on again?", anyone who comes to me with an IT problem who hasn't done that yet or won't answer whether they have done that...

        1. Velv Silver badge

          Re: 3.

          OK, pointing out the obvious for those here that don't understand, it's the difference between Incident Management and Problem Management.

          To resolve the "one off" incident, it is usually quicker just to reboot - clears so many issues just to restart from scratch. Fine if it only happens once a year.

          But if you need to reboot every day there's clearly a problem that needs investigation. It's just a shame you need to go through 15 customer service bods who insist on running through the same reboot procedure without logging it in the incident that the reboot has already been done 14 times and the problem still exists.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My fault!

    It was my fault! I recently switched two phone and one mobile broadband contract from EE to Three, because EE was having a lot of issues recently (and their coverage in the area we moved to is not at all that great in the first place).

    Murphy's Law dictated that soon after the switch to Three was completed, a disaster had to happen. Sorry folks.

  6. davefb


    Three can't even get an outage correct..

    So it was/is? just London then? It was working all day in t'north west as well..

  7. Aebleskiver

    Three internet connectivity has been fine in this area all day... (South Essex)

  8. channel extended

    Three hard workers?

    Seems Moe, Larry, and Curly finally got into the network cabinet.

  9. J J Carter Silver badge

    Expect some disruption when tapping the backhaul to route via GCHQ.

  10. phantomchaser
    Thumb Up

    No issues in SE Scotland

    This certainly was not UK wide in my experience. I've got a monitored 24x7 UMTS broadband connection on 3, and there were no observed blips on this service today. I suspect the geographic impact of this outage may have been far more limited, than the articles made out.

    I still maintain Three is one of the best mobile carriers in the UK, especially for data. I run a business which relies on me being able to access fast internet pretty much anywhere. I used to run dual-carriers for resilience (Three as primary, one of the others as secondary, depending on coverage), but experience showed ThreeUK to be very reliable. I've now dropped the redundant carrier, as it was a waste of money and more often than not, the redundant link on the alternate carrier would fail anyway! Oh the irony!

  11. Green Nigel 42

    Indian support support

    I have to be fair & say that 3 support have dealt with the various teething problems very quickly & politely. I appreciate that they do have to run down the checklist of reboot your phone ect, which probably sort the majority, but they have achieved for me by sorting a sporadic iPhone texting to setting up a signal booster box & its subsequent crashing issue.

    1. Velv Silver badge

      Re: Indian support support

      "I have to be fair & say that 3 support have dealt with the various teething problems very quickly & politely."

      Good luck when you decide someone else offers a better deal and you try to cancel and obtain your PAC code.

      1. Green Nigel 42

        Re: Indian support support

        My Mrs got her Pac code ok when she went to Orange from 3 a couple of years ago ( then moved to Giff Gaff a year later due to poor signal strength in the house).

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Support still that bad?

    I used to be on Three for about three years (hah!), until their abysmal support and the inability to send SMS to a particular network abroad (yeah I know, wtf?) tipped me over the edge. I'm now with EE, and while their support may be better, the signal and Internet speeds are worse...

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