Three Ireland

Last updated

Three Ireland
Native name
Three Ireland (Hutchison) Limited
FormerlyHutchison 3G Ireland Limited
Type Limited
Industry Telecommunications
Founded26 July 2005;18 years ago (2005-07-26)
Founder Hutchison Whampoa
Area served
Key people
Robert Finnegan (CEO Republic of Ireland & UK)
Brands 48
Owner 3 Group Europe (100%)
Parent CK Hutchison Holdings
A 3Store, Grafton St, Dublin. 3 Store on Grafton Street, Dublin, Ireland.JPG
A 3Store, Grafton St, Dublin.

Three Ireland (Hutchison) Limited (formerly Hutchison 3G Ireland Limited), commonly known as 3 Ireland or Three Ireland, is a telecommunications and Internet service provider operating in Ireland as a subsidiary of CK Hutchison Holdings, operating under the global Three brand. The company launched in July 2005 and provides 2G GSM, 3G UMTS, 4G LTE and 5G NR mobile phone services. Three's former holding company, Hutchison Whampoa, acquired O2 Ireland in June 2013, and the company was fully merged into the operations of Three Ireland in March 2015.



Three launched on 26 July 2005 as Ireland's fourth mobile network operator behind Vodafone, O2 and Meteor (now Eir). Service was initially offered as post-paid only, but on 16 May 2006 the introduction of a pre-paid service, known as 3Pay, was announced. A pre-paid mobile broadband service was launched on 29 February 2008 under the name 3Pay Broadband, with vouchers available for durations of one day, one week, or one month. On 13 May 2010, Three announced the launch of the world's first commercial voice and data I-HSPA network.

In August 2010, Three Ireland admitted it had been overstating its subscriber numbers since 2006. As per its latest released mid year statements about 56 per cent of Three's 554,000 registered subscribers are considered active. This is about 244,000 short of the figure supplied to ComReg. [1]

On 24 June 2013, it was announced that Hutchison would acquire Telefónica's Irish mobile operations, O2 for €780 million, to be merged into Three Ireland upon completion of the deal. [2] [3] [4] The European Commission approved the merger in 2014. The O2 brand was phased out and its operations fully merged into Three on 2 March 2015. [5]


Three has a licence for operation in Ireland using the access code 083, although numbers can be ported over from other networks.

Three's original infrastructure was purely 3G. For a while, they provided 2G coverage (a) under a partnership with Vodafone, and (b) through the acquisition of O2 Ireland's 2G network in 2015, however, roaming on Vodafone is no longer supported, and 2G is natively supported with the acquisition of O2 and its 3G & 2G networks.

In July 2012, Three Ireland announced a strategic partnership with Vodafone Ireland to share network infrastructure. This would have facilitated rapid rollout of Three's 4G network, while also making it less costly. [6] The agreement was terminated following the O2 merger


In November 2012, Three was awarded LTE spectrum by auction, along with the three other incumbent network operators. [7]

On 27 January 2014, Three launched their 4G network in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Wexford and Waterford. [8] In March 2014, Three expanded their 4G coverage to Ashbourne, Bray, Carlow, Dunmore East, Kilkenny, Leixlip, Lusk, Rush, Skerries, Swords and Tullamore.

In March 2016, Three Ireland announced that it is now offering Free 4G for Life to all its customers. Previously, Three offered free 4G to all its customers up to a certain date at which point the company would review and possibly extend that date further.

Three's upgrade programme "the big upgrade" aimed to provide 99% 4G coverage by early 2017, although that never came to fruition, making Three's 4G network both the smallest, and also the slowest in Ireland, according to Ookla, and Rootmetrics in 2018.

4G+/LTE Advanced

Three have announced they will be rolling out 4G+ to their customers offering faster Peak Speeds of 225 Mbit/s. Three say 4G+ is already available in Dublin and will be rolled out to the rest of the country by the end of April 2016. Three are offering 4G+ to all Customers with compatible handsets. [9] Although Three's 4G network has suffered many setbacks, largely due to the merger with O2, 4G coverage currently sits at 97.3% in March 2020.

Three was named Ireland's fastest mobile network by Ookla for Q3–Q4 2020, with an average download speed of 33.99Mbit/s. [10]


In September 2020, Three launched their new 5G network. Three has stated that this new service will be available in 121 locations but coverage is expected to expand overtime. "At Three, we believe it's important that this technology is available to all. That’s why we’ve created Ireland’s largest 5G network with coverage in 121 areas throughout the country." [11]

Network frequencies

The following is a list of known frequencies used by Three Ireland: [12] [13]

1800 MHzGSM-1800
2100 MHz1
700 MHz28 LTE/LTE Advanced 4G/4G+
800 MHz20
1800 MHz3
2100 MHz1
2600 MHz7
1800 MHzn3 NR 5G
3600 MHzn78


On 5 August 2010, Three Ireland announced a four-year, €7,500,000 deal with the Football Association of Ireland to become the primary sponsor of all Republic of Ireland international football teams. [14] In 2015, Three renewed the sponsorship for a further five years.

Following Hutchison Whampoa's acquisition of O2 Ireland, The O2 was renamed 3Arena in 2014.

3 also sponsors the Waterford GAA teams.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">3G</span> Third generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology

3G is the third generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology. It is the upgrade over 2G, 2.5G, GPRS and 2.75G Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution networks, offering faster data transfer, and better voice quality. This network was superseded by 4G, and later on by 5G. This network is based on a set of standards used for mobile devices and mobile telecommunications use services and networks that comply with the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) specifications by the International Telecommunication Union. 3G finds application in wireless voice telephony, mobile Internet access, fixed wireless Internet access, video calls and mobile TV.

Meteor Mobile Communications Limited was a GSM and UMTS mobile telecommunications company in Ireland. They operated a GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS(HSPA+) and LTE cellular communications network under licence from the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg), and were the third entrant in the market, after Vodafone Ireland and Three Ireland. The company was a wholly owned subsidiary of Irish telecoms network Eir, having been purchased for €420m in 2005. Meteor was the only Irish owned mobile operator in Ireland. Meteor once issued new numbers with the prefix code 085. Since the introduction of full mobile number portability in Ireland, access codes have become less relevant as mobile telephone users may now retain their mobile telephone numbers when moving between mobile network operators. As a result, Meteor customers could have numbers starting with the codes 083, 085, 086, 087, or 089.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">O2 (Ireland)</span> Former broadband and telecommunications provider in Ireland

Telefónica Ireland was a broadband and telecommunications provider in Ireland that traded under the O2 brand (typeset as O2). O2 Ireland was previously called Esat Digifone when it was owned by Esat Telecommunications (and Telenor) from 1997 to 2006.

Vodafone Limited, trading as Vodafone UK, is a British telecommunications services provider, and a part of Vodafone Group Plc, the world's second-largest mobile phone company. Vodafone is the third-largest mobile network operator in the United Kingdom, with 18.2 million subscribers as of November 2023, after O2 and EE, followed by Three. The country's first cellular phone call was made on the Vodafone network in 1985.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tele2</span> Multinational telecommunications company

Tele2 AB is a provider of mobile and fixed connectivity, telephony, data network services, TV, streaming and global Internet of Things services, amongst others, to consumers and enterprises. It is headquartered in Kista Science City, Stockholm, Sweden. It is a major mobile network operator in Sweden, Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">3 (company)</span> Global telecommunications brand

Hutchison 3G Enterprises S.A.R.L., trading as 3 (Three) and Hutchison 3G (H3G), is the owner of several UMTS-based mobile phone networks and broadband Internet providers, which operate in Hong Kong, Macau, Austria, Denmark, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Spark New Zealand Mobile</span> UMTS and LTE mobile network run by Spark New Zealand

The XT Network was a brand name for a UMTS and LTE mobile network run by Spark New Zealand . The network was initially built nationwide on WCDMA/UMTS 850 MHz, with 2100 MHz infill in major urban areas. The UMTS network is HSPA+ enabled, with a maximum downlink transmission rate of 21.1 Mbit/s and an uplink rate of 5.2 Mbit/s attainable for capable hardware. HSPA+ has a theoretical maximum of 56 Mbit/s download speed and 22 Mbit/s upload speed. Then under Spark 4G LTE is being built out. The network is not 2G capable, Telecom never operated a public GSM network.

2degrees is a New Zealand telecommunications provider. Its mobile network launched on 4 August 2009 after nine years of planning. 2degrees offers prepaid and pay-monthly mobile services, as well as fixed-line phone and broadband services. 2degrees is the third-largest wireless carrier in New Zealand, with 1.3 million subscribers as of July 2015.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">O2 (UK)</span> British telecommunications provider

Telefonica UK Limited, trading as O2 UK (stylised as O2), is a British telecommunications services provider, headquartered in Slough, England which operates under the O2 brand. It is owned by VMED O2 UK Limited, a 50:50 joint venture between Telefónica and Liberty Global. O2 is the UK's largest mobile network operator, with 23.8 million subscribers as of May 2023.

EE is a British national mobile network operator and internet service provider, which is a brand within the BT Group. EE is the second-largest mobile network operator in the United Kingdom, with 21.7 million customers as of September 2022.

Vodafone India was the Indian subsidiary of UK-based Vodafone Group and was a provider of Telecommunications services in India with its operational head office in Mumbai. As of March 2018, Vodafone India had a market share of 21% and with its merger with Idea, the collective Vodafone Idea (Vi) network has approximately 375 million subscribers and is the Third largest mobile telecommunications network in India.

In telecommunications, 4G is the fourth generation of cell phone mobile communications standards. It is a successor to the third generation (3G) standards. A 4G system provides mobile "ultra-broadband" Internet access. Major Australian telecommunications companies, and most resellers that use one of these major telcos, have been rolling out and continuing to upgrade 4G since 2011/2012.

3G mobile telephony was relatively slow to be adopted globally. In some instances, 3G networks do not use the same radio frequencies as 2G so mobile operators must build entirely new networks and license entirely new frequencies, especially so to achieve high data transmission rates. Other delays were due to the expenses of upgrading transmission hardware, especially for UMTS, whose deployment required the replacement of most broadcast towers. Due to these issues and difficulties with deployment, many carriers delayed acquisition of these updated capabilities.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">SmarTone</span>

SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Limited (0315.HK), listed in Hong Kong since 1996 and a subsidiary of Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited, is a leading telecommunications provider with operating subsidiaries in Hong Kong and Macau, offering voice, multimedia and mobile broadband services, as well as fixed fibre broadband services for both consumer and corporate markets. SmarTone spearheaded 5G development in Hong Kong since May 2020, with the launch of its territory-wide 5G services. SmarTone is also the first in Hong Kong to launch Home 5G Broadband service.

Hutchison 3G UK Limited, trading as Three UK, is a British telecommunications and internet service provider based in Reading, England. It is a subsidiary of CK Hutchison Holdings, operating under the global Three brand. Three is the fourth-largest mobile network operator in the United Kingdom, with about 10.3 million subscribers as of May 2023.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Airtel India</span> Indian telecommunications company

Airtel India commonly known as Airtel, is the second largest provider of mobile telephony and third largest provider of fixed telephony in India, and is also a provider of broadband and subscription television services. The brand is operated by several subsidiaries of Bharti Airtel, with Bharti Hexacom and Bharti Telemedia providing broadband fixed line services and Bharti Infratel providing telecom passive infrastructure service such as telecom equipment and telecom towers. Currently, Airtel provides 5G, 4G and 4G+ services all over India. Currently offered services include fixed-line broadband, and voice services depending upon the country of operation. Airtel had also rolled out its VoLTE technology across all Indian telecom circles.

Flow is a trade name of the Caribbean former telecommunications provider Cable & Wireless Communications used to market cable television, internet, telephone, and wireless services provided by the company. Flow also replaced the UTS brand in the Dutch and French Caribbean, following their acquisition of United Telecommunications Service (UTS).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">3 Hong Kong</span>

3 Hong Kong is a telecommunications and internet service provider operating in Hong Kong by Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings, a subsidiary of CK Hutchison, operating under the global Three brand. 3 Hong Kong is the first Three-branded company, leading to the development of other operations in different locations.

Vodafone Australia is an Australian telecommunications brand providing mobile and fixed broadband services. Vodafone’s mobile network covers more than 23 million Australians, and Vodafone has commenced the rollout of its 5G mobile network. Vodafone NBN fixed broadband services are available in capital cities and selected regional centres. Vodafone is the third-largest wireless carrier in Australia, with 5.8 million subscribers as of 2020.


  1. Hancock, Ciaran. "3 Mobile admits to 'historic error' in overstating subscribers since 2006". The Irish Times.
  2. Hugh O'Connell. "Three buys O2 and will now control 40 per cent of Ireland's mobile market". Business ETC.
  3. "Telefónica - Press Office - Press room home - Telefonica agrees the sale of its operating business in Ireland to Hutchison Whampoa for 850 million euros".
  4. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. O'Hora, Ailish (2 March 2015). "O2 becomes Three as major mobile rebrand kicks in". Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  6. "Vodafone Ireland and Three Ireland announce strategic partnership to share network infrastructure". 13 July 2012. Archived from the original on 16 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  7. "15-Nov-12 Three welcomes the results of Ireland's spectrum auction. : Media Centre". 15 November 2012. Archived from the original on 4 August 2014.
  8. "Three Ireland to launch comprehensive 4G offers". Hutchison 3. 27 January 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
  9. TeleGeography. "Three unveils '4G Plus' plans: 56% of country to receive 225Mbps speeds by end-April". TeleGeography. Retrieved 14 March 2018.
  10. "Fastest Mobile Network | Ireland Q3—Q4 2020" (PDF). Ookla. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 February 2021.
  11. "5G For All With Ireland's Largest 5G Network | Three". Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  12. "Global Mobile Frequencies Database". Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  13. "Multi Band Spectrum Award 2022 (MBSA2)". ComReg. Retrieved 7 March 2023.
  14. "3 becomes FAI primary sponsor". 5 August 2010.