Three has good news, then the network falls over


24 June 2013

What’s the absolute worst thing that can happen to a mobile operator after it announces the acquisition of one of its competitors? That’s right. This morning, after reading the official announcement of Three’s acquisition of O2 Ireland I went to that font of customer service wisdom,, to gauge the mood of the Interwebz about the deal.

I was expecting a certain amount of bellyaching, curiosity, threats to move to eircom (last year’s acquisition target for Three until the regulator stepped in), and, occasionally, some happy punters thanking the customer service reps for speedy resolution to their problems. I found all of the above. What I didn’t expect was to find a thread started just this morning on a massive service outage on the Three network.

This story is ongoing, so I’m going to keep an eye on things. In particular I’m looking for speed of response, ongoing communication from customer care staff through the usual public forums and, hopefully, some restitution to affected customers.

Updates as I get them.




UPDATE: A word on the chronology around today’s outage. The first post on the Three customer service forum on appeared at 9.12am.

UPDATE: The following tweet posted at roughly 10am from @ThreeCare. "We are aware of issues with the network currently and are working to resolve as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience."

UPDATE: A statement has appeared on the Three website: "The confirms its first network outage since market entry in 2005. The outage follows a transmission link failure by a third party provider, Virgin Media. We have the best team working to address this and service is expected to resume shortly, We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience."

UPDATE: Post on Facebook: "Hi Three fans, we are currently experiencing a temporary service disruption, our engineers are working to resolve the issue. We apologise for any inconvenience." The post has attracted 137 likes, over 200 comments and 154 shares. Meanwhile, the thread on is up to post #192.  No further correspondence on Twitter at 12.22pm.

UPDATE: Just clearing up some details about the O2 deal. Existing O2 contracts will still be valid after the deal is completed. The O2 brand will be retired by 2014, this includes sponsorship deals. That means new rugby jerseys and The O2 in Dublin will become The Three – in theory.

UPDATE: 1.23pm. Intermittent reports of the Three network coming back online in Dublin and Limerick. We’ll be back with some additional comment later.

UPDATE: 2.50pm. Virgin Media has this statement: "As part of a programme of work which Virgin Media Business began last month, a software upgrade today caused a temporary outage on the Three network in Ireland. Service was restored by lunchtime. Virgin Media Business apologises to the customers of Three Ireland for any inconvenience caused."

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