3 invents law of mathematics to justify end of roaming service

14 May 2009

How odd. Earlier today, we reported that Vodafone is attempting to retain customers and bring in extra business by scrapping international roaming tariffs over the Summer. Now we learn that 3 is going to do precisely the opposite, no doubt in a move designed to further heighten hatred of the company by customers past and present.

3 operates a roaming service called 3 Like Home - it's means that 3 customers can use their handsets in specific countries, without incurring additional roaming charges. It also applies to 3's broadband tariffs too - you can use your dongle in one of several countries without it costing £3 per MB of data. That's all changing from June 30th, because 3 are scrapping the service. What's the reason for binning one of the provider's few good points?

That might make a micron of sense if the British Pound had decreased in value "by around 35%" but it hasn't - at least, not in the last 12 months:

If you're very strategic about your maths, and compare the peak in October to trough in December, then the British pound dropped around 0.27 Euro in value, or 21 per cent. It'd be almost true to say the pound fell 0.35 Euro in value (although it wasn't quite that much), but that isn't what 3 are saying - there's a country mile of difference between 0.35 Euro and 35 per cent.

Regardless, the difference in the strength of the pound between a year ago and now is roughly 10 per cent. Please help us out if our A level Maths has let the side down, because otherwise it might appear that 3 is employing some remarkable bullshit-baffles-brains to justify its decision in scrapping a useful service.

TOPICS:   Broadband


  • Mr.
    Can this be used to cancel the contract due to a 'detrimental change' in the terms and conditions?
  • Robin
    Your maths is correct but I expect 3 are making a comparison on different time frames. Their message makes no reference to a 12 month period..? When did they introduce this benefit? If it was between 2004 and 2007 they are possibly using the € rate from then which would have been about 1.5. Comparing that to today's rates of about 1.1 is a decrease in £ buying power by about 35%.
  • j
    would have thought so :)
  • Mike H.
    I've already used my dongle in several countries thanks.
  • Paul S.
    @Robin - I did say the figures 3 were quoting made no sense when compared over a 12 month time frame. There's no mention of a time frame, but 2007 was two years ago - to make a change now suggests the criteria have changed recently. And if 3 are justifying the decision by comparing exchange rates from over two years ago, that only makes sense if 3 hasn't managed to negotiate a better deal from foreign providers in that time. It looks like 3 Like home was introduced in January 2007: http://www.newswireless.net/index.cfm/article/3144 The exchange rate was £1 = 1.52€ - that's a difference of between then and now of around 0.4€ or 26% - still some way short of 3's 35% claim.
  • Ga W.
    Mr. i would think that if you have used your phone aboard in your contract period this change would be enough to get you out of your contract.
  • AJ
    I think if you say you intended to use your mobile in one of the 3 like home countries you have a case for cancellation. Furthermore, the crap that they get charged by the foreign operators is bull. The 3 like home only works on 3 networks in the other countries and it's a reciprocal arrangement with them. It's not like they are having to pay Voda, T-mob....... Shady!
  • James
    What rubbish! 3 Like Home was only ever available in countries where 3 had a network (e.g. Ireland, Austria, Australia etc). The reason they offered it was because they didnt have to pay other networks roaming charges; as the roaming was done on 3's network in a country they offered the service; the whole reason why the service was offered! Looks like they are cutting yet another corner, with no real justification.
  • David
    Well I have just spent a painful hour on the phone to 3. I have used the 'like home' service and will be affected by the removal of it. They told me it does not form part of my contract, they refused to allow me to terminate my contract at no extra charge to myself. In the end I am paying to leave, they have sent me my PAC code (it was very difficult to get this) and I will be moving to payg vodafone for a few months until the networks decide how the new laws will affect pricing.
  • Do B.
    [...] told you yesterday about 3 scrapping its 3 Like Home service, which allows you to use your 3 mobile or broadband in several countries abroad without additional [...]
  • Ten B.
    [...] 3 go the other way, binning their roaming service and maybe giving their customers a reason to bail [...]
  • Lando
    Cancellation letter for both the phone and mobile broadband away today. This is a farse, so the reasons are that Three.ie are charging Three.co.uk, what a laugh. 16 months ago when I joined 3 there roaming charges were 25p call and 10p receive. Call is already up 35% and receive 50%, now they are dropping the only advantage left for someone in Ireland who roams a lot North and South of the border. 3 have just joined the ranks of O2 and Voadafone whose .co.uk and .ie arms obviously rip each other off and has to be passed on to the customer. Don't really think so, just another way of ripping into their customers and therefore losing them.
  • 3 B.
    [...] it was due to the weak pound, which inflated 3’s costs from using foreign service providers. As we pointed out last week, their explanation made as much sense as a bearded horse - not only because 3’s maths [...]
  • Allan M.
    I have just read the Alert sent 2 me today reguarding the demise of 3 Like Home. The link clearly states that you can terminate your contract without and cancellation charges. How easy this will be to do is another matter , but I will be cancelling as I use this services, and bought from 3 because of this.
  • Roy
    I have a second home in Italy where I spend 6 months a year so the ending of 3 like home is a disaster for me. To be fair I called this morning, explained and they cancelled my contract, both broadband and phone. Plusd they said I could keep the phone. I joined 3 in march. It was a super service and changed the lives of a lot of ex pats. I started having daily conversations with friends and family rather than monthly. never mind, all good things come to an end

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