It’s been two years since Vodafone and Hutchison Telecom merged 50:50, and in what VHA calls the “next step in that journey” (before 3 is likely phased out), new customers will now sign on as Vodafone subscribers. I’m sad to see 3 go: they challenged Telstra and Optus with Australia’s first 3G network in 2003, attracted young and tech-savvy fans, and grew in record time — even sponsoring Big Brother and the Cricket.
Now we wait for VHA to kill off 3 Mobile’s 3GIS 2100MHz network joint venture with Telstra. That’s slated to happen sometime in 2012. According to some reports, 3 Mobile customers may have begun receiving text messages saying that 3’s 3G network will go offline after December 31, and customers will receive a Vodafone SIM that they’ll need to activate.
In the meantime, three.com.au has been revamped to focus on customer support instead of acquisition. Full disclosure: I led the team that produced the site before joining Gizmodo. You can see the before (left) and after below.
If you’re a 3 customer, you can still upgrade / get a second service on 3, though VHA wants Vodafone to be the first choice. 3 prepay customers can also continue to recharge on 3. So it’s business as usual for existing customers...for the moment. Vodafone says that “Everything you're used to on 3, including your 3 plan value and access to services such as My 3 and Planet 3, are staying the same. So there's nothing you need to do.”
If 3 customers decide to upgrade to Vodafone, they will have the opportunity to connect to a network that’s using the latest world class network technology. We’re investing $1 billion to deliver better indoor coverage, faster downloads and a stronger signal than before on Vodafone. This includes upgrading our existing 2G and 3G network with the latest technology that’s ready for 4G and building a new smartphone and Mobile Broadband 850MHz network to give an even better internet experience.
Vodafone has obviously gone through some tough times of late. Has their rollout of network improvements provided you with better service recently... enough to make the switch