Three UK reports H119 results

Three UK today announces its results for the first six months of 2019.

Strategic Highlights

  • Significant progress with our transformation programme across our network and IT systems as we move closer to the launch of 5G in August 2019
  • Three to launch 5G mobile and home broadband in 25 towns and cities across the UK by the end of 2019
  • All existing customer tariffs to include 5G at no extra cost
  • Launched the world’s first cloud-based core network in July 2019 to support 5G rollout
  • Customer Net Promoter Score improved to +17 (H1 18: +13), the highest of all Mobile Network Operators*
  • Employee Net Promoter Score of +24 (H1 18: +18)

Operational Highlights (vs H118)

  • Total active network connections reached 11.7 million (H1 18: 11.4m)
  • Active Three customer base up 1% to 10.2m customers (H1 18: 10.1m):
    • Average monthly data usage per customer up at 29% at 9.1GB (H1 18: 7.6GB)
    • 87% of customer base using 4G (H1 18: 84%) and 82% of data usage on 4G network (H1 18: 75%)
    • Contract customer numbers up 2% to 7.0 million (H1 18: 6.8m)
    • 99% of new contract sales through own channels
    • Contract handset churn remains low at 1.1% (H1 18: 1.0%)
  • 830,000 broadband customers across Three UK portfolio (H1 18: 840k)

Financial Highlights

  • Total revenue down 2% at £1.17 billion
  • Total margin down 1% at £721 million
  • EBITDA down 8% at £334 million
  • CAPEX increase of 24% to £155 million

Operational developments

5G Progress

  • 5G mobile and home broadband to be launched across 25 towns and cities across the UK by the end of 2019:
    • Customers will benefit from the UK’s fastest 5G speeds based on the UK’s largest holding of 100MHz of contiguous spectrum.
    • 5G service powered by the world’s first cloud core network from Nokia.
  • 5G pricing set: all new and existing customers will be able to access 5G data with no speed caps at no extra cost on all our contract, SIM only and PAYG mobile plans including unlimited data tariffs.
  • In June 2019, we launched our beta trial for Three Broadband in Camden, delivering live 5G connectivity with average download speeds of 138 Mbps, compared to 25Mbps from 4G.
  • Partnership with design college, Central St Martins, for world’s first 5G fashion show as part of wider agreement for the creation of a 5G Lab with cutting edge digital equipment and software to enable pioneering work to be developed combing arts and technology using 5G technology.  

IT and Network improvements

  • Three launched the world’s first cloud-based core network in partnership with Nokia in July 2019:
    • Three UK’s 10.2m+ customers will benefit from an even faster and more reliable service.
    • The transition enables Three to make the most of the new 5G technology being deployed in the network.
  • Partnership with SSE has significantly enhanced connectivity backhaul capabilities
  • 20 new data centres live on the network to shift the network closer to our customers.
  • Providing on average 50% faster speeds and a better customer experience through the technology upgrade of approx. 4,200 sites
  • Plans for nationwide roll out of L-Band technology which will lead to further substantial speed and coverage improvements, in addition to using 3G spectrum for 4G.
  • Significant progress on our IT transformation programme which will roll out in 2019

Multi-product customer-focused strategy

  • Remained the UK’s leading provider of data as usage per customer grew by 29% to 9.1GB per month.
  • Delivering unlimited data packages to home broadband customers with strong initial take up
  • The launch of ‘Three Means Business’ in April 2019, a new mobile proposition aimed at entrepreneurs and small businesses, has seen good early progress.
  • Three Wholesale has seen further growth with iD now reaching 1m customers, supporting an overall increase of 14% in wholesale customer base and an increase of 84% in data usage
  • Three is the leader in international roaming and remains committed to eradicating excessive roaming charges regardless of Brexit negotiations, and allowing our customers to continue using their usual allowances when they travel within the EU.
  • Three is committed to its support for a Shared Rural Network, where all mobile operators share their infrastructure to extend connectivity to the hardest to reach areas, based on an economically efficient and coordinated approach

Best loved brand by our people

  • Significant investment in employee-driven initiatives to help our people be the best version of themselves at work including:
    • Employee Forum generates ideas and feedback with chair represented on Board
    • Partnership with Mental Health First Aid England to train ‘Time to Talk’ representatives. 230 employees now trained to spot that someone may not be okay, hold non-judgemental conversations and help them access support.
    • Company wide policy of no meetings between 12-2PM every Wellness Wednesday with staff free to choose how they use the time
    • Support given to ensure our people do not miss unmissable life moments like weddings, school sports days and birthdays.
    • Recognised with numerous awards including the Health & Wellbeing category at the HR Excellence Awards and the Leadership & Culture category at the Reba Employee Wellbeing Awards

Dave Dyson, Chief Executive of Three UK, said:

“The second half of 2019 will see the most important and exciting milestone in our history since we launched the UK’s first 3G network in 2003.

“Three has a long history of putting UK consumers first and the launch of the UK’s fastest 5G network using our leading 5G spectrum portfolio and investment in world class cloud-based infrastructure means that we can disrupt the UK’s home broadband network, at the same time as serving our data-hungry mobile customers.

“Against this backdrop of huge investment in network and IT infrastructure and some dual running costs as we reach this milestone, I am pleased with the underlying strength of the business. Our customer satisfaction score remains the highest of all the MNOs reflected by the low levels of churn.

“Our people are our most valuable asset, so I am also pleased with the progress we have made towards our goal of becoming the best loved brand by our employees by 2023. Our employees want mental health and wellbeing to be more than just buzzwords at Three, it is something they wish to be at the core of our strategy and through a range of initiatives, we are helping to make Three a great place to work and be the best version of yourself that you can be.”



Click on the image to view a breakdown of Three UK’s H1 19 results






Notes to Editors

Media enquiries:

Andy Rivett-Carnac / Chloe Francklin
+44 (0)20 3805 4822 / +44 (0)7454 959 715

Notes to Editors

*Source: YouGov. Sample size Three Q2 2019: 7,621. Competitor MNOs Q2 2019: 6,958

About Three

Three launched in 2003 as the UK’s first 3G only network, laying its foundations as the network that was born to be different. Today Three is a connectivity company that connects people to people, people to things and things to things and has almost 12 million active customers on our network.

An average Three customer uses 3.5 times more mobile data than the industry average and its network today covers 99% of the UK population. It has the highest Net Promoter Score (NPS) of any of the mobile network operators at +17, alongside +24 for its Employee NPS.

Three also has the UK’s leading 5G spectrum holdings with more than the rest of the industry combined. Three is the only operator able to meet the International Telecoms Union (ITU) 2020 standard for full 5G services. It will launch its first home broadband service this August with a commitment to deliver 5G to 25 towns and cities by the end of the year.

Three was voted the Best Network for Data at the Mobile Choice Consumer Awards, as well as Best Network for Roaming by uSwitch, and the Best High Street Retailer at the Mobile Industry Awards.

Three UK is part of the CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd group of companies which has mobile operations in 11 countries. We employ more than 4,800 people across our offices in Maidenhead, Glasgow and Reading and our 326 retail stores.

Get newsletter alerts

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