Three UK publishes Full Year Results


for the year ended December 31st 2022


Three UK continues to outperform the market in delivering customer growth underpinned by operational stability and network performance; EBITDA minus Capex  continues to be negative

At Three UK our mission is to provide better connectivity, every day, for every customer. The strategy to deliver this is centred on four key objectives: improve the network experience; grow the business; transform customer experience; achieve our financial objectives.


Deliver growth

  • Revenue up 3% to £2.52bn (2021: £2.44bn) driven by customer base growth
  • Net Customer service revenue up 5% to £1.56bn (2021: £1.48bn)
  • Other revenues, which include wholesale and accessories, increased 9% to £203m (2021: £187m)
  • 6% margin growth to £1.53bn (2021: £1.45bn) due to strong growth coming through our core Contract voice business alongside B2B, SMARTY and Wholesale
  • EBITDA of £612m (2021: £594m*) up 3%,margin increases partially offset by increased costs, due to investment programmes and inflationary factors – inflationary pressures specifically impacting H2 and will further impact 2023
  • Active customer base up 6% or 614k y-o-y bringing the total to over 10m (2021: 9.7m)
  • Contract customers up 5% y-o-y to 8.5m (2021: 8.1m)
  • Prepaid customers up 13% y-o-y to 1.8m (2021: 1.6m)
  • Retained number one position in sector for overall contract net adds across 2022 (Enders Analysis), with almost double the growth of our competitors combined
  • Wholesale margin grew 21% y-o-y, with an 8% increase in customer numbers. Extended key partnership agreement with Currys for iD Mobile MVNO.
  • B2B customer base doubled y-o-y, finishing on 385k customers
  • 5G Home Base tripled yoy with customer data usage growing 5%
  • SMARTY base grew by 33% y-o-y, finishing on 734K customers
  • Reported Capex of £743m, down 5% y-o-y (2021: £784m reported) to maintain budgeted levels of cash outflow


Enhance customer experience and broaden brand awareness

  • Launched ‘Three Your Way’ on the new IT systems in January, transforming our customer offering. Customers now have the ultimate flexibility to choose what to pay upfront, select device financing and customise their plan
  • Average data usage, per customer, per month increased by 32% to 25.1GB (2021: 19GB)
  • Three UK’s network now covers 99% of the UK outdoor population and carries 28% of the UK’s mobile data traffic
  • Over 4,250 5G sites (2021: 2,200) are now live with 60% outdoor coverage in 588 locations
  • The largest, dedicated 5G spectrum, meaning customers benefit from an outstanding experience, particularly indoors
  • Recognised by Ookla for having the UK’s Fastest 5G network for the fourth consecutive time; other awards include MVNO Partner of the Year (Mobile Industry Awards), SMARTY Best Mobile Network (expert reviews Awards) and Best Network for Data (uSwitch Mobile Broadband Awards)
  • First in the UK to launch VoLTE roaming
  • Ongoing rollout of connectivity on London Underground; most recently, the launch of 5G in Archway, Tufnell Park and Notting Hill Gate, meaning customers can access our 5G service underground
  • Continued to bolster and grow Three Loyalty platform, Three+, with more than 1m users
  • Began work on first joint site in the UK’s Shared Rural Network in Scotland



Support colleagues and customers

  • Offered support for customers making contact with loved ones in Turkey and Syria following the devastating earthquake by crediting charge of calls and texts back
  • Successful charity partnership with Samaritans with ongoing alignment on CSR campaigns
  • Ongoing cost of living support for customers, including:
  • Post year-end, launched a new social tariff on SMARTY, which is available to an estimated 4.2 million households by providing access to a £12/month plan with unlimited data, calls and texts, and superfast 5G
  • Donation of 1 million GB of data to connect 40,000 disadvantaged people through the Good Things Foundation
  • Zero-rating of seven websites that offer financial advice so that customers can access help free of charge
  • Relaunching the Reconnected programme which sees old devices refurbished and given to disadvantaged people with six months of unlimited connectivity on Three’s network
  • Competitive benefits and perks for employees, as well as support during cost-of-living crisis:
  • Hourly base salary for retail staff  has increased by 6%
  • One-off cost-of-living payment of £500 for all staff earning less than £30k per annum
  • Average pay increase across head office staff of 7%


Robert Finnegan, Chief Executive of Three UK, said:


“We have successfully grown the business again in 2022, building on strong foundations. We have added to the customer base, delivered an increase in margin as well as year-on-year cashflow improvements. It has been particularly pleasing to see such strong performances from areas of the business such as SMARTY, Business and Wholesale, whilst building a credible 5G Home broadband business and alternative to fixed fibre broadband.


“Our rollout of 5G has been a great success – and we are delighted to once again be recognised by Ookla for having the UK’s Fastest 5G network – but we are now at an inflection point. Our returns continue to be below our cost of capital and EBITDA minus capex remains negative. Looking to the future, high levels of investment will still be needed to deliver the networks that the UK requires but levels of capex spread across the current set of four individual players are unsustainable. As good connectivity continues to be critical to how we live and work, structural change is needed in the industry through consolidation.


“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of my colleagues for their hard work and ongoing commitment to the business as we continue to make progress against our business goals. We will continue to work towards having a positive influence on the UK – looking out for our customers and colleagues during the cost-of-living crisis.”


– ENDS –


*As the tower asset deal was completed in November 2022, the 2021 result excludes the performa contribution from the tower assets for November to December for 2021


Media enquiries:


Andy Rivett-Carnac / Antonia Pollock

Get newsletter alerts

Add your email address to stay up to date with the Three Media Centre.