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Three expands free roaming in spite of potential Brexit dangers

Three store

Three has announced customers will now be able to experience free roaming in an additional 24 countries from September, pre-empting Brexit concerns over roaming charges.

One area which has yet to be clarified following the Brexit result last month is how roaming charges will impact UK customers. Although the European Commission has effectively outlawed roaming charges, this only applies to countries which are in the Union. Although the UK exit from the Union is not likely to be taking place in the short-term future, the question of how much British customers will be charged by operators in Europe following the exit has not been answered. Three has seemingly pre-empted this conversation with the promotion.

“I am proud that our customers are more willing to recommend us than those of any other operator and we will continue to build a modern mobile business that delivers what today’s customers need,” said CEO Dave Dyson. “I want to continue to lead the industry on mobile data usage and network reliability and my immediate focus is securing more spectrum which will allow us to gain further scale and become a stronger influence on the industry.”

The ‘Feel at Home’ proposition has been running for some time, and from September 24 new destinations will be added to the bill including Germany, Greece and Poland. Three claim it is now the UK’s No. 1 network for data, with customers using on average 5.4GB of data a month. Indoor coverage has increased from 80% in June 2013 to 92% in June 2016, which has been partially attributed to the introduction of 800MHz and the rollout of 4G Super-Voice.

The announcement was made alongside its H1 results which demonstrated a generally positive period for the business. Total revenues for the half stood at £1.05 billion, down 2% year-on-year, though net customer service revenue did increase by 2%. The loss was felt in what the company describes as ‘Handset Revenues’ which was down 27% year-on-year, which appears to refer to the contracts which include subsidized handsets.

The decline in subsidized handsets may not be seen as hugely surprising as the bulk of the brands marketing strategies have focused on sim-only contracts, where data is the central USP. The industry on the whole is attempting to move away from the subsidized handset contracts, though Three has seemingly taken a charge ahead of its competitors, with a modest 2% growth demonstrating some success.

The most recent quarter has also shown a continued positive performance in the number of complaints against the brand, which once again comes in below industry averages. The brand has consistently come in under the industry average for the last 12 quarters.

“We are absolutely focused on giving our customers the best possible mobile experience and the expansion of Feel At Home to cover more than 80% of customer trips is clear evidence of this,” said CFO Richard Woodward. “As a result customers are staying with us longer, recommending us to their family and friends and choosing to spend more.”


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