Three network down for tens of thousands across UK

  • By Shiona McCallum & Tom Gerken
  • Technology reporters

Image source, Getty Images

Tens of thousands of Three mobile customers in the UK have reported they cannot get signal on their phones.

Downdetector, which tracks websites, showed more than 20,000 people had reported their mobile service was affected on Friday afternoon.

Customers have complained on social media that they are unable to make calls, send texts or use mobile internet.

The firm has apologised for the outages.

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It is unclear how many of them are affected by the outages, however, as those who rely on mobile internet may be unable to report the issue.

Reports of a problem first emerged on Friday morning in low numbers, and increased substantially by Friday afternoon.

The outages are also understood to affect some people using smaller providers which use Three’s network.

There have been 3,000 reports from customers of one such firm – Smarty – according to DownDetector.

It is unclear whether customers will be able to claim compensation for the outage, although regulator Ofcom – the nation’s communications regulator – says it “may be appropriate” for providers to offer refunds “while repairs are being made”.

This is the second major technology outage in a week in the UK, after HSBC customers were left unable to use the mobile app or online banking for much of Black Friday.

Some users also reported issues with their 4G and 5G, as well as some customers having problems with “no signal” and “total blackout” on Smarty, which operates on the Three network.

In 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the European Commission blocked Three’s attempted takeover of O2, arguing that it would have risked higher prices.

The companies are the UK’s third and fourth biggest mobile operators.

Three UK is owned by the Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison.

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