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Three UK Botches Firmware Update for New 5G Hub Router UPDATE

Wednesday, May 11th, 2022 (12:01 am) - Score 8,904
Three UK ZTE 5G Hub

Some customers on Three UK’s 5G based unlimited Home Broadband packages, specifically those who recently joined and received the latest ZTE MC801A based 5G Hub router (here), have been reporting problems with connectivity and significant falls in broadband speed. The issue appears to stem from a bugged firmware update.

According to Three’s customers, who have been busy posting in a related topic on our discussion forum, the issue looks to have started during the early hours of Sunday (8th May) morning – after the operator began to push out a new firmware update for the 5G Hub (release: BD_UKH3GMC801AV1.0.0B07). Experiences may vary, as not everybody will always receive such updates at the same time.

The customers who received this update began noticing a significant fall in mobile broadband speeds, as well as some unusual connectivity problems (e.g. the connection signal seems constantly flick between 5G, 4G+ and 4G every few seconds). The Carrier Aggregation (CA) feature for combining multiple mobile bands was similarly switching itself on and off, which is probably related to the first issue.

Sample Customer Complaint 1 (dandring)

“Since Sunday ive had terrible connection and speeds. It changes from 5G to 4G+ to 4G constantly (every few seconds), flicking between all 3. CA Status keeps changing from CA Active to NO CA to CA Inactive. Not sure if this is relevant?

Only thing I can see which has changed since Sunday is an automatic firmware update at 02:30 in the morning, and i’ve had issues since. I’ve tried the device in every window now and its the same throughout.”

Sample Customer Complaint 2 (craigh)

“Same issue. Yesterday (9th May) the router was swapping from 5G to 4G+ to 4G every few seconds; speed was 4mbps/1mbps whereas typical speed before was 320mbps/60mbps.

This morning (10th May) the router homepage says 5G but as poster above, advanced settings show no 5G connection. Speed now 60mbps/4mbps.”

Sample Customer Complaint 3 (Barns)

“Having the same problem here. ZTE 5G Hub connected fine but only getting ~4Mbps downloads. Was 400+Mbps until this morning. Looks like the hub did an update early this morning (3am ish), I suspect the issue started at that point.

Also seeing the “CA Status keeps changing from CA Active to NO CA to CA Inactive” as well, don’t know if that’s relevant, not sure what it is.

Direct line of sight to the 5G mast a few 100m away so it’s not signal issues I don’t think (and has always been very fast and stable up until now, couple of months since I got the thing).”

Customer feedback indicates that Three’s front line support team initially blamed the problem on network congestion issues, while others were told that the issue was fixed yesterday evening. Service speeds have improved on Tuesday, but they’re still well below what they were, and the routers don’t appear to be connecting to 5G any more (i.e. stuck in 4G/4G+) – that’s kind of a problem, given that the Hub is sold as part of a 5G package.

A Spokesperson for Three UK told ISPreview.co.uk:

“We are aware of an issue affecting the 5G service of a small number of customers with a ZTE MC801A router. 4G service remains unaffected. We are working to fix the issue and we are sorry for any inconvenience caused to customers.”

Sadly, there’s currently no indication of when the fix will be ready, but hopefully it won’t take too long. In the meantime, we suspect that Three may have suspended firmware updates for the router, at least until the fixed firmware is ready to be pushed out (one person on older firmware said there doesn’t seem to be a newer version available to them).

UPDATE 3:15pm

Some customers are reporting that their Hubs have now been rolled back to the previous firmware version.

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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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36 Responses
  1. simon says:

    Well I am on the last gen router and it’s doing the same – only been in the last few weeks but I keep a solid 5G signal so I think for me it is a case of congestion. They didn’t start advertising it until 2 months ago – before then I was lucky to get very fast speeds most of the time. Can’t whinge but the router I have is on firmware H122-373
    Current version:

    1. John says:

      Simon: Interesting, I too have been suffering much slower speeds this last couple of weeks, I also though it was just that more people had signed up in my area. For the previous 11 months I had always been getting 300 -400, sometimes even higher.
      Then in May I started with around 100. Its a bit better today, at just around 200, but still half what its been like for the previous 11 months, which has been excellent.

  2. Sam B says:

    I love these press statements.

    It could affect every single customer they have and it would still be ‘affecting a small number of customers’.

    If a Service Provider is aware on a issue, I guarantee it’s affecting a significant number of people – it wouldn’t be on their radar otherwise.

  3. Joe M says:

    I have the 5G router at my holiday home, came last night and noticed it was not working, rang 3, no mention of the firmware problem. Still not working this morning

  4. Chris says:

    What exactly does the mobile operator Three not botch?

  5. Andriy says:

    5G Hub stays with power led indicator on only, other indicators are down now.

    1. Mike says:

      Same issue here. Customer services told me to reset the hub and leave it for “a while”. That was 24 hours ago.

    2. SK says:

      Same! Only Power light are on. Holding the reset button down and still only the Power light. No connection for over 5days. Called and they told me to wait till the end of the day. Absolute rubbish service.

  6. Will says:

    Has anyone with the power light only heard anything back? I haven’t had internet for days now and every time I ring they say wait some time. It’s just not acceptable at all. They should at the very least be sending everyone a 4G hub for backup purposes since the 5G one is so unreliable.

    1. Sajjo says:

      Same thing with me this terrible

  7. Darren says:

    Same problem with me. Been on holiday – came back today 13th. Speeds had dropped from 300-500Mbps to 50Mbps – unplugged router which usually gets speeds back up and it stopped working – just the power light.
    Rang Three Broadband tech support – callcentre in India – didn’t initially recognise issue – said they’d resolve by end of the call. They then came back to say software issue – will be fixed but couldn’t say when
    I suspect all our routers are now bricked and won’t be fixed (not receiving any 3/4/5G – so how can it now get an update?!)
    We’ll be waiting weeks until they acknowledge and if there are no alternative routers, I guess they will have to allow us to cancel our contracts

    1. Sallyb says:

      Mine has been the same since weds. Spoken to the tech people everyday who keep assuring me it will be fixed soon. I keep thinking the same as you though, if the hub isn’t receiving a signal how can they remove the recent update?? I’ve even said it to the tech people but they just keep saying it’ll be sorted soon. Asked for a new hub but they tell me that wont fix the problem. I’m giving them until the morning then ringing to cancel.

    2. Allen says:

      Yes the exact same thing happened to me, when I rang Three they advised me that this was a botch from the Firmware update, took the IMEI number from my router and advised that they would “Push Out an update” being in IT I then asked “If it’s only the power light I have and there seems to be 0 signal or network connectivity, how will they be able to push the update out?” They assured me they could via the IMEI number? I’m not convinced and agree the router maybe bricked

  8. Gordon says:

    One week on and still not fixed. dl’s of 2Mbps, maybe 10Mbps on a good day. All lights ok (6 white) but firmware B07.
    I have some problems with my phone too.. 4G & 4G+. It’s on Smarty (which sits on three) so I think there is also an issue at the tower.

  9. SK says:

    Router has been down since Tuesday night(10thMay). Its Unbelievable!

  10. Will says:

    Update on this. I had a call on Saturday which I missed so I called back. Apparently they rang to, guess what, ask me to give them some time. I said are you serious? Someone actually rang me with an update to say they don’t have one. I asked why are you not recalling all the broken routers so when you have a fix you can actually fix them and to this I was told it was impossible. So I asked to speak to the team leader. I was told I can make a phone appointment. I said that’s not ok then they said they will put me through to complaints. I was on hold for half an hour. The same guy came back and suddenly could replace my router with a new one that’s coming tomorrow. So maybe if you do have one try to speak to someone ‘more important’ and they might spring into action before you get through to someone higher up. It does seem quite odd the threat of speaking to complaints suddenly made something that was not possible happen relatively quickly though.

    1. SK says:

      This is exactly what I did. I rang them up multiple time also on twitter and live chat. They finally phone me today and told me a replacement router will be send. Its has been down for exactly 1 WEEK!

  11. SK says:

    Received the replacement router today(17thMay). Working for 2mins and router went into update mode(running lights). SAME BLOODY problem after the update.

    1. Will says:

      Lol. I was just going to write this too. Mine was only on for one minute though! Why on earth are they still sending out the firmware that bricks them? ‍♂️‍♂️

    2. Will says:

      Also that was not the emoji I used :/

    3. SK says:

      I phoned them up and the moment they told me to press and hold the factory reset button, I LOST it. Profanity was used. I had to explain I wasn’t angry at him but he has to understand the BS we have to put up.

    4. Chris says:

      I have to take my hat off to some of those in this thread as they are way more patient and understanding than me.
      Was my first day today with Three 5G and although it started great it all went to sh*t within a few min of being online and “updating”.
      I wasn’t very nice when i rang them, even more so after finding this thread which clearly shows that Three have had a known issue with firmware bricking their routers (not the cheapest either) and yet they are still pushing the botched firmware???…is it me? i mean WTF?, sure we all make mistakes but this is simple stupidity on a huge scale and someone needs sacking as this cannot be profitable at all for Three. They cant possibly be making money from me as by the time they have sent the first router and sim and bricked the router, replaced a bricked router, paid postage (twice) and paid for call centres etc etc. They are only getting £420 from my entire contract so……

      Anyway my replacement is due tomorrow (18th) but this time around knowing they B07 firmware is screwed I’ll be plugging the router in without the sim so it can’t update while i see if there is an option to ignore or defer firmware updates etc for the time being.

      GL to all and don’t wait, if you have got a router with only a power light then chances are its bricked and will never connect so your wasting your time, demand a replacement.

  12. Darren says:

    After my router went down to a power light only on Friday and I was told to wait for it to be fixed, i’d read about some people having new routers sent out and telephoned them again yesterday (Monday).
    I was told they’d send a new router out and i’ve received it today – all working normally (so far) again – so happy with that.
    ps they said they compensate me with a £2.50 reduction on my next bill (wow!!)

    Seems I was right that they couldn’t fix a bricked device with an update and would have to replace

    1. Terry Mumford says:

      I got my router on 8th June. Fast but lost signal once an hour and took say 45 secs to get back connected. Last two weeks doing that but I’d have to do the switch off/switch on malarkey Three or four times.

      Then at the ZTE witching hour of 2.30 a.m. last Friday it just went to showing the power light.

      Three employees acting as if this is a new problem and saying their backing team are in contact with ZTE.

      I asked for a replacement but they just fobbed me off. Tomorrow,I will tell them I want my money back as they are a bunch of cowboys and that I will be contacting the Financial Ombudsman to complain about what liars they are. I have suffered their bad service before, after I tried upgrading from a Huawei B310 to a B535.

  13. Chris says:

    I took the plunge and went for three 5G as i’m limited to FTTC via BT/Sky etc to 80Mb, i have a new three 5G mast nearby and my daughter gets 5-600+ down so thought for £10/month it was worth the punt.
    My Three 5G router arrived this morning, plugged it in, connected straight away and hit the 700 ish mark, changed SSID and wifi password to spoof my old BT router and my devices all connected without havign to do anything, GREAT…..Then within 5 min the hub “updated”, turned off and i was then stuck with only the power light…Sh*t.
    First thing was turn off and reboot, no joy, take sim out, still no joy and couldn’t get into device settings as the page was never found so went for the reset, once, twice, three times (no pun intended)…Nothing, i’ve dabbled enough with tech so at this point i knew it was bricked. Did lots of searching and finally came across this site which confirmed what i already knew. Rang Three, guy was very helpful and knew straight away what the problem was (dont see how they cant by this point) but “had” to do the usual switch it off, reset script they follow and eventually he said to leave it on for 40min to see if it connects and he would ring back. It never connected, i never expected it to as it had been sat a few hours before i rang them and had never connected….But then to my surprise (yes genuine surprise) and to give the Three agent due credit he did ring back bang on 40 min at which point he conceded it was bricked and i needed a replacement…it will be here tomorrow so i’ll login without the sim and make sure any options to turn updates off or defer them for now will be used if there is one.

    Day 2 of being a brand new Three 5G customer to follow. Fingers crossed its short and sweet.

    1. SK says:

      Just received my 2nd replacement router but hesitant to set it up. Without the sim card inserted are you able to get connected to the dashboard? and is there anyway to prevent the router from going into auto update? I’m so sick and tired of calling them.

    2. Chris says:

      Without the sim card its unable to connect to 3,4 or 5G so should in theory not be able to “update”
      I cant say 100% at the moment as my replacement is still an hour away delivery wise but should have no issues accessing the hub interface via ethernet and checking the settings.

      I can totally understand your hesitation given its yet another hub in as many days but no point sitting looking at the box, you have to plug it in some time.
      When mine arrives in an hour (ish) i’ll plug it in without the sim and go from there.

    3. Chris says:

      Ok router arrived.
      Took sim out, booted up fine so could login to router panel.
      Then go advanced –> update and turn auto update off.

      Put sim in and away i goooo. yay

    4. Chris says:

      Happy camper here, hitting 3-400 no probs down and getting 120 plus up.

      Time will tell but so far all good

  14. Chris says:

    FML, just found out i could have got £90 cashback from quidco for the same deal. Why do i never learn. 😀

  15. Will says:

    So quite random my replacement has now started working again and having updated itself to B07 upon arrival yesterday which lead to about a 0.4 upload speed it has now somehow rolled back to B04 again and everything is working fine and got about 500 download and 45 up consistently. So hopefully if anyones are still connected the will all roll back to a firmware that actually works!

  16. J5 says:

    I have one of these routers which I bought privately, so is not under contract. The router was bricked by this update. I haven’t bothered asking Three to replace it because I doubt they’d help (although as a product which is under 2 years old, perhaps they would have to legally, any thoughts on this?

    I’m a technically minded person and have flashed several different firmwares from the Russian forum – they all boot properly, but I have ‘No Service’ despite trying all the suggested fixes. I’m now thinking that the only way to get it working again is to flash the proper ‘Three’ firmware, but this doesn’t exist anywhere online that I can see. Does anyone have a copy backed up which they could upload? Alternatively, would anyone be willing to back up the firmware from their working Three router and upload a copy for the sake of poor souls like me?

    1. Simon says:

      I suggest you post on the thread for this router:

  17. Tim Jones says:

    Is this issue resolved now?

  18. Terry Mumford says:

    Apparently not. Mine stopped receiving signal 02.30am Friday morning. Three different Three employees all told me the Backing Team were contacting ZTE as it was a software update that had caused problems.

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