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Thoughts on potential merger Three UK wants with Vodafone

zakir1988

ULTIMATE Member
To me seems like Three UK dont have enough cash to invest I have been a Three network customer long term snice 2017 then enough was enough as I was on 4G/5G broadband.

When I moved to my new property maisonette flat I was happy to find building was Hyperoptic cabled I signed up asap! for 1gbps speeds got rid of Three network.


East London E3 where I was living kept on asking them when is 5G officially coming in the area as some might know as I had said on previous threads I was on the edge of 5G singal so was getting 5G over 100mbps no fibre too.

Now im in E1 area.

Its cheap cause you pay what you get very congested network keeps on offering
 

Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
To me seems like Three UK dont have enough cash to invest I have been a Three network customer long term snice 2017 then enough was enough as I was on 4G/5G broadband.

When I moved to my new property maisonette flat I was happy to find building was Hyperoptic cabled I signed up asap! for 1gbps speeds got rid of Three network.


East London E3 where I was living kept on asking them when is 5G officially coming in the area as some might know as I had said on previous threads I was on the edge of 5G singal so was getting 5G over 100mbps no fibre too.

Now im in E1 area.

Its cheap cause you pay what you get very congested network keeps on offering
Personally I'm against it. Vodafone is crap, it's crap in Europe, too (low speeds, lag behind with 5g).
There are other considerations as well, like spectrum etc.
Main problem with 3 imho is not money, it's local authorities refusing new masts.
 

CarlO1460

ULTIMATE Member
Given their owners, I very much doubt it’s cash flow.

Personally feel it’ll benefit, adding more spectrum, and possible roaming like the Orange/T-Mobile thing years back until ready to merge.

They’d more likely have to part with some of their spectrum to share with others to remove the moaning.
 

clivejo

Top Member
Not sure, vodafone tend to have better customer support but charge more for less. Three is very hit and miss, you could be in a great location and just get fantastic speeds for reasonable prices or you could be stuck on really pathetic speeds and the "Tech Support" just lie and fob you off! Surely there is a happy medium?!?

I also don't get why the Government/Ofcom don't encourage mast sharing. Often where I don't have Three/EE signal there is a strong O2/VF and vice versa. Look at the competition and customer choice the land line industry got then BT/Openreach were forced into allowing access to exchanges, ducts and poles.
 

zakir1988

ULTIMATE Member
Personally I'm against it. Vodafone is crap, it's crap in Europe, too (low speeds, lag behind with 5g).
There are other considerations as well, like spectrum etc.
Main problem with 3 imho is not money, it's local authorities refusing new masts.councils refusing new mast
Issue is councils not approving Three network new mast and why does it want to sell its masts to Cellnex which leases out access to 'passive' infrastructure such as towers to operators so they can install their active equipment such as antennas to power their services.


Makes no sense if they have money why would you want to sell then use them not owning it outright im confused.

If they merge with Vodafone ofcom will redistribute the spectrum they hold to mske it fair.
 

hle13

Pro Member
Given their owners, I very much doubt it’s cash flow.

Personally feel it’ll benefit, adding more spectrum, and possible roaming like the Orange/T-Mobile thing years back until ready to merge.

They’d more likely have to part with some of their spectrum to share with others to remove the moaning.
If some of the spectrum went to O2 then that would help O2 as they need it far more then EE as O2 suffers from.mast capacity issues and slow speeds as any giff gaff user can attest to.

On the other side, it would mean that where Three users struggled to get a 4G signal they would be able to use ex Vodafone infrastructure to get a 4G signal and likewise where Vodafone users struggled to get a 5G signal they would be able to use ex Three infrastructure to get a 5G signal.

It would also mean better geographical coverage of both 4G and 5G services for the new company and put them on a equal level with EE. It would also mean the faster rollout of 5G services and the faster wind down of 3G services.

I think it should go ahead but only on condition that O2 is awarded some of the spare spectrum to improve its own network which they seriously need.
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
I'm currently in two minds about these sorts of deals. When Three and O2 were talking up their merger, I ended up falling on the side of being in favour, albeit still harbouring plenty of doubts. However, Three and Vodafone.. it'll depend on the detail of any agreement and what they gain vs agree to give up in order to make that happen.

My main concern is that Three are the only real low-cost MNO in the UK market, while Vodafone (excluding MVNOs) sit at the opposite end. I think it's important to preserve that kind of choice, so that you don't just have an artificial cartel of three operators that endlessly price roughly around the same sort of margins. Ofcom allowed Three to be created precisely to help shake things up, and I wonder if we'd even have "unlimited data" plans today if they hadn't done that.

However, much like the prior O2 + Three agreement, my mind isn't really fixed, and I'd want to see what such a deal would actually look like first. Spectrum, consumer pricing, infrastructure sharing, wholesale etc. are all key points that would need elaboration. But clearly doing 5G and sorting the necessary backhaul is very expensive, with smaller operators finding it difficult. Something may need to change.
 

clivejo

Top Member
Ofcom allowed Three to be created precisely to help shake things up, and I wonder if we'd even have "unlimited data" plans today if they hadn't done that.
Totally agree! Same thing with Local loop unbundling (LLU) in the fixed line sector. But that strangle-hold BT had on the market has, in my view, set back internet roll out in the UK. Especially in rural areas. Allowing BT/OR to keep sole "ownership" of the poles and ducting reduced the competition to those who had the money to construct and operate their own infrastructure.

I also think the "star" network design that BT seem to always default to is also holding up the evolution in the UK. If the networks were designed on the "internet" way of working (multiple routes/pathways), it would be far more reliable and fault tolerant. Take the fire in the "Guardian" tunnel that knocked out 130,000 telephone lines and internet, in the Manchester area. That's crazy how vulnerable BT have made this country to even a small accidental or even malicious incident!
 

uknowiama

Pro Member
What type of
I also think the "star" network design that BT seem to always default to is also holding up the evolution in the UK. If the networks were designed on the "internet" way of working (multiple routes/pathways), it would be far more reliable and fault tolerant. Take the fire in the "Guardian" tunnel that knocked out 130,000 telephone lines and internet, in the Manchester area. That's crazy how vulnerable BT have made this country to even a small accidental or even malicious incident!
What type of design should it have been built to? Ring or Bus topology? Or every end point should be dual homed with physically diverse routing of cabling? What do you think should have been built to? Or what were others doing that BT/OR wasn't? Thanks
 

clivejo

Top Member
What type of

What type of design should it have been built to? Ring or Bus topology? Or every end point should be dual homed with physically diverse routing of cabling? What do you think should have been built to? Or what were others doing that BT/OR wasn't? Thanks
Combination of different types, depending on geography and existing infrastructure. For example, a star network to local green box (ie a housing estate) and then the green box interconnected to other green boxes. If some idiot digs up or in the case of copper steals, a primary feed/trunk line then traffic could be routed via other green boxes instead of taking out the entire neighbour!
 

Pheasant

ULTIMATE Member
Combination of different types, depending on geography and existing infrastructure. For example, a star network to local green box (ie a housing estate) and then the green box interconnected to other green boxes. If some idiot digs up or in the case of copper steals, a primary feed/trunk line then traffic could be routed via other green boxes instead of taking out the entire neighbour!
Quite frankly Clive that's a pipe dream!

I know of precisely zero examples where an incumbent or alternative network builder has used that approach for a broadband design.

Even in the realms of resilient and redundant ethernet and MPLS circuits it is not exactly common place. Let alone for a broadband connection, which most folks want as cheap as possible...
 

clivejo

Top Member
Very true, but the current design has some serious issues, and it is just a matter of time, with the right conditions, that it falls flat on it's face!

Also, BT have a huge reliance on certain 3rd party vendors (most of BT branded products are actually 3rd party, just re-badged) Some of these 3rd parties have been added to Government warning lists and banned from the 5G network.

Surely a network providing internet and telecom services to homes, businesses, charities etc is MORE critical than 5G networks, no?
 

CarlO1460

ULTIMATE Member
Very true, but the current design has some serious issues, and it is just a matter of time, with the right conditions, that it falls flat on it's face!

Also, BT have a huge reliance on certain 3rd party vendors (most of BT branded products are actually 3rd party, just re-badged) Some of these 3rd parties have been added to Government warning lists and banned from the 5G network.

Surely a network providing internet and telecom services to homes, businesses, charities etc is MORE critical than 5G networks, no?
Depends really. We probably do more personal browsing, banking etc through our devices now such as mobiles when out and about instead of having to wait for the dial up connection and boot up the old win98 machine.
 

Pheasant

ULTIMATE Member
Very true, but the current design has some serious issues, and it is just a matter of time, with the right conditions, that it falls flat on it's face!

Also, BT have a huge reliance on certain 3rd party vendors (most of BT branded products are actually 3rd party, just re-badged) Some of these 3rd parties have been added to Government warning lists and banned from the 5G network.

Surely a network providing internet and telecom services to homes, businesses, charities etc is MORE critical than 5G networks, no?

Specifically in what way is “it” going to “fall flat on its face”?

You can engineer-in all sorts of resilience and redundancy but would the cost, complexity and time to build it be worth it / be palatable to customers who would need to pay for it all one way or the other?

Do we experience terrible long lasting outages affecting vast numbers of the populace? The answer is of course we don’t, otherwise we would all have dual-homed, self-healing networks, fed from independant exchanges, completely diverse cable routes, to every premises, a month of backup generation everywhere, in case the national grid falls over completely.

Where do you draw the line?
 

clivejo

Top Member
"it" = OR/BT Network
"fall flat on its face" = a major outage affecting a large percentage of the population.

I don't know exactly how, but much like a fire in a tunnel caused 130,000 phones and internet connections to go dead in Manchester. Be it a hacking event or some kind of incident (fire, flood, earthquake, physical terrorist attack, or even a national grid power failure at some key piece of infrastructure). Basically, this - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-59564480 on a national scale.

Yes, there are two extremes, and OR/BT have chosen the cheapest and easier route.
 

cg0

Casual Member
I don't think it's gonna happen, a merger like this would create easily a new network with an insane amount of spectrum on 4G and an an incredible amount on 5G despite Three already having the largest share of any network.

It also calls into question the infrastructure sharing plans like MBNL and Cornerstone, a Three + Vodafone merger would be part of both meaning access to all shared infrastructure and a massive amount of coverage.

Plus I think just from looking at how the Orange + T-Mobile merger went basically creating an environment where other networks struggle to compete this would put the new Three/Voda network into the same category.
 
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