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Three UK Mobile Customers Plagued by Redirected Calling Bug UPDATE

Saturday, June 19th, 2021 (7:06 am) - Score 11,400
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Some customers of mobile operator Three UK were left scratching their heads yesterday after a bug resulted in many of their call attempts being redirected to the wrong number, which on the flip side also meant that other people started receiving unwanted calls from individuals who expected them to be somebody else.

A number of the operator’s customers expressed a fear that the situation might be due to a data breach at the operator. However, it should be said that call redirection faults do happen on networks – both fixed and mobile – from time to time, although mercifully they’re usually quite rare. But just for good measure, a member of the operator’s support staff later confirmed that “this issue doesn’t relate to a breach” (here).

Suffice to say that the problems, which appear to have started at around 3pm yesterday, resulted in a mass of complaints across social media. At the time of writing, it remains unclear whether the operator has been able to completely resolve the issue (we’ll know once more people wake up this morning and start making calls again), although complaints did drop off after around 8pm yesterday.

A spokesperson for the operator said (5:06pm yesterday): “We’re currently experiencing technical issues with some calls. Please accept our apologies if you’ve been affected by this, our engineers are working hard to fix it.

UPDATE 6:32pm

A spokesperson for Three UK said: “Three’s services have now been restored for affected customers. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by the issue.”

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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15 Responses
  1. J says:

    “Although complaints did drop off after around 8pm yesterday.” People will have been busy watching the England V Scotland game with the 8pm kick off

  2. Markdvdman says:

    It was worse than that! I could not call my bro and he could not call me! I had to use Facebook to call! I did a speed test and it was 120meg down 25meg up so it was not signal based! I managed to call him at 7:30pm so it was sorted then. I had a missed call I could not answer too, but I do get work calls redirected so it was maybe as per the article!

    Three are not exactly crowning themselves in glory of late!

    1. Carl O says:

      I disagree.

      As noted in the article, this can happen to any network.

      Three have vastly improved their service in many locations and the extra capacity added by band 32 and 5G has been a god send for them, albeit limited at the moment.

    2. Matt says:

      Except it doesn’t. Three is an awful network that should be banned by ofcom from getting new customers. Their network is so oversubscribed that you are lucky if you can get a decent service.

  3. Michael V says:

    Yeah this can happen on fixed lines when Openreach screw things up!
    A few years ago this happened with SMS of anyone remembers that!
    People are so quick to rant that they forget how complex technology is.i didn’t even notice!

  4. matthew scofield says:

    There is security issues when my number is rerouted to loads of people who think I’ve called them, then I am getting a barrage of calls and texts from them.

    1. Dan says:

      Surely if calls to your number were incorrectly routed to someone else, those recipients would see the caller ID of the people who had tried to call you, not your number?

  5. marcus b says:

    Nearly every Friday I get multiple Spam calls from a number that is almost identical to mine (last 4 digits different). Not just Fridays, but Fridays is particularly strong. This Friday nothing, perhaps these sh***y calls went elsewhere for a change!

    1. Dan says:

      Yeah, that happens across all of the networks. I think the spammers think you’re more likely to answer if they set their caller ID to a similar number to yours. Which would make sense if they were calling a landline number (you’d be more likely to answer if you thought someone from your local area was calling) but makes less sense when they call a UK mobile number, where the start of the number bears no relation to where you live (unlike American mobile numbers, for example).

  6. MilesT says:

    I wonder if this is related to the UK emergency cell broadcast tests that were also happening at about the same time. My phone (on Three) was pinged (only once this time, there were some unacknowledged tests a couple of weeks back where I got 6 in a couple of hours, and no way to disable on my Android phone (Alcatel idol 4)

    NB my number was originally an o2 business numbed

  7. Mr E Race says:

    My 3phone line signal has disappeared and phone gone to wi fi calling.
    My post code Rg12 7Rn.
    What’s the problem started yesterday

  8. RN says:

    Somebody has made a mess of the CIC code alignment on an interconnect here

  9. timeless says:

    l think something was up on Thursday as well, havent tested it yet but l was calling my parents to make sure they got to where they were going and l was met with a “they cant take your call” message, even my sister couldnt get hold of her, so ended up calling my dads phone. the only major difference between them is my mother is with Smarty (which uses the Three network) though my father is still with Three until his contract is up.

  10. Mike says:

    Typical whiney boomers, just use one of the myriad of free VOIP services…

  11. ian says:

    Recieved 10 calls last week this sim card only used in my phone for hotspot only…..over 2 years not one single call made in or out… three says this happens with EE and all providers all BS they had plenty security breaches…..

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