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New appointment arrives to clean up Three’s network fiasco

UK telco Three has announced the appointment of Carlo Melis as Chief Network Officer just as the Huawei saga starts to rear its head once again.

Over the course of the last week, the rumour mill has been churning at full capacity, with Huawei’s name popping up on more than one occasion. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a backbencher revolt unless ‘high-risk’ vendors are removed from networks within years, while the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is once again investigating whether the firm is in a sound enough position to work with UK telcos.

One might have said there were better times for Melis to join the business.

Arriving from Wind Tre in Italy, Melis has been working on network resilience during the on-going COVID-19 landscape though eventually his attention will turn to managing the spectrum portfolio and presumably creating a network which can rival market leaders within the UK. Much work has been done in recent years, though thanks to outside influences, Three is still in somewhat of a difficult position.

“Three has been on an incredible journey, completely overhauling its network and IT infrastructure and laying the foundations for a 5G network that will dramatically transform the experience for its customers, at the same time as delivering major 4G improvements,” said Melis.

“I’m looking forward to joining Three, bringing my expertise to build on the great progress already achieved and to deliver a network that will stand the business in good stead long into the future.”

The last few months have certainly been an eclectic mix of ups and downs for the Three business. The fixed wireless access (FWA) proposition and campus network offering was looking healthy before Ros Singleton left the business. These business units are still functional, but look a little weaker without Singleton involved, however it is the more mainstream 5G programme which looks more precarious.

Announced at almost the exact same time as the departure of Phil Sheppard, who was effectively the company’s CTO, was the conclusion of the Supply Chain Review. Huawei was designated a high-risk vendor, and therefore limited to providing a maximum of 35% of a telcos network infrastructure equipment. This is a significant problem for Three which decided Huawei was going to be the sole supplier of RAN equipment for its 5G network.

These are the complications Melis needs to manage over the next few months. Alongside the teething problems of a new cloud core and ensuring the 4G network remains stable during this period of dramatically increased traffic, the 5G deployment strategy needs to be reimagined. Of course, this becomes difficult when even more uncertainty is introduced by rebellious politicians and the NCSC investigation.

It could have been a smoother start for Melis…


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19 comments

  1. Avatar Nigel Pearson 28/05/2020 @ 8:23 am

    Three full of broken promises,the speed is rubbish at 6 am speeds up to 28,at 5 pm the other day 0.4( switched router off,went on WiFi,quicker,good mind to cancel direct debit,not receiving what was promised,in my area,it says vodaphone 64 speed,neighbour last night,he’s with vodaphone for his phone contract,I’m with 3, WiFi was miles quicker with vodaphone,that’s where I’m heading when things are back to normal,they’re on about 5 g,they want to sort 4 g out.

  2. Avatar Malcolm 28/05/2020 @ 10:02 am

    Three have no idea on uk ways of working, just look at Trust pilot. Unfortunately they seem oblivious to uk people way of thought, full of empty promises, unwilling to to learn or compromise, Anology is teasing a dog with a bone but not actually giving the dog the bone. Three have long way to build up trust of the British people. This is my personal opinion and in no way statement of fact. But is based on my minual personal experience on two occasions with Three over period of 30 years.

  3. Avatar Matt 28/05/2020 @ 10:39 am

    Can he sort out the abysmal customer service whilst he’s at it?

    Got an ongoing complaint with regards a contract cancellation, but all they say is “Sorry, our systems are down. Please phone back later”

  4. Avatar Paul Marsh 28/05/2020 @ 11:47 am

    Always had great experience with 3 and especially customer service
    Thanks guys

  5. Avatar Aleksandr Metslov 28/05/2020 @ 12:42 pm

    Stop sucking US duck and carry on. UK shall have balls to have own opinion.

  6. Avatar David Rawding 28/05/2020 @ 1:45 pm

    Three’s 4G system is abysmal with the router dropping in and out, when I eventually got to actually speak to someone about the lack of service I was just brushed off.
    They should refund money to compensate for the lack of service.

  7. Avatar John 28/05/2020 @ 3:49 pm

    We were getting 1.7 down load from T so 25 to 35 from 3 network was luxury.

  8. Avatar B 28/05/2020 @ 4:57 pm

    I would just like to point out that I am a satisfied customer of three. It’s not 5* but I’ve got to say that for me it works, I’ve had no problems with customer service (comparing it with other online customer service offerings from other companies). It has offered solutions to my problems of poor reception where I live (booster box), I like the roaming charges in Europe and that they offered me a bespoke deal when my contact was up which saved me money.
    However I’m not in to 5G so horses for courses I suppose.

    • Avatar Michael Kelly 29/05/2020 @ 12:02 am

      Fair point. 3 has been an excellent provider for myself and family for many years. Customer service has been very good although it is sometimes difficult to meaningfully communicate with operatives whose first language is not English. Love the ‘3 at Home’ provision but would accept thar service levels have generally dropped and our connection at home is now insecure. For the first time we are thinking of switching to an alternative provider.

  9. Avatar Carol Graham 28/05/2020 @ 5:37 pm

    Thought I’d upgraded to a new mobile on Tuesday with delivery today and nothing despite getting a confirmation email with all the details. And the network is now down so I can’t live chat, phone or use the App. Very bad service. Been with them for years and think I may change provider.

  10. Avatar Ms Alison J Croft and Mr Malcombe North 28/05/2020 @ 6:02 pm

    Three has very slow broadband so I usually end up on wifi and calls keep dropping half way through very irritating when it is an important call. Both my husband and I are having the same issues we have both been with 3 a long time and are very dissatisfied with the service.

  11. Avatar Ellis 28/05/2020 @ 6:10 pm

    I have tried to cancel a contract for a dongle for about a month I have been transferred from one dept to another they cant find the right dept or contract but still take £8-45 a month seems I will have to wait until shop opens to talk to somebody

  12. Avatar Ian Hudson 28/05/2020 @ 6:45 pm

    Have been with Three for over 10 years now and have been very happy with mobile service. Have found their customer services very helpful and resolved any problems /queries I have had efficiently unlike Vodafone who were a pile of sh*t when trying to sort out problems on my wife’s phone contract.

  13. Avatar Andrew 28/05/2020 @ 7:12 pm

    Yes 3 certainly need to learn how to resolve customer dissatisfaction and lack of response (heir chat line is a disaster when no on understand english . To follow that no one has come back to follow up on complaint/comment . Further they curtailed access to certain nos . Waste of space . Quick to get ur money . Slow in earning it . Quick with words , slow with action, and interaction.

  14. Avatar Darren Waspe 28/05/2020 @ 8:42 pm

    been a three customer for over 10 years and im happy with everything. only thing i would like is to speak to english people when i ring customer service. one phone call took a hour and a half because we just cound not understand esachother. apart from that good value for money

  15. Avatar DUNCAN MCINNES 28/05/2020 @ 11:51 pm

    Three are the worst network I have ever come across I recently joined and ordered a tablet but unfortunately had to cancel but trying to cancel has been a total disaster and they still insist on charging me for something I do not have absolutely disgusting service

  16. Avatar Jeanette Shaw 29/05/2020 @ 9:18 am

    I have been with three many years. In that time contracts came and went. What I did not expect was the complete and utter shambles their filing systems are in. From expiring contract to upgraded package. Three had changed my address and date of birth. I had no internet in Europe for two year period, complaining many times. Decided to cancel only to be told I couldn’t because my details didn’t match ones in their system.

  17. Avatar Malcolm George 29/05/2020 @ 12:30 pm

    I have had nothing but excellent service from 3 both here and travelling abroad in fact while on the Indian Pacific train in Australia I had better service than local users. Sure sometimes there is a glitch but family and friends on many different networks seem to have more problems than I do, I need a lot of convincing to change my mobile service provider, not seen any reason in 15 years with 3 yet

  18. Avatar Frustrated customer 29/05/2020 @ 3:28 pm

    Woeful customer care. With this company 3 months now. Blathering on about 5G when they can’t even provide 4G. First 4 weeks had speeds up to 20mbps now I’m lucky getting 5mbps. Can’t ring anyone to get this issue fixed. As soon as I’ve got the time I’m cancelling and going elsewhere. When I cancelled my direct debit they were on to me like a virus but they don’t provide the service they advertise. Do yourself a favour and shop elsewhere.

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