3 UK – my first two weeks

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I wanted to write about my first couple of weeks experience with 3 UK as a mobile customer – the good, the bad and the ugly. I got tired of my previous carrier T-Mobile and my roaming charges from a week in Ireland persuaded me that there had to be a better way.

Why 3 UK?

In December I picked up a Huawei 3G modem that worked a treat with my MacBook Pro. It was easy to load the drivers, configure the software and surf on the go.  I met Ashley Benigno, a mobile futures strategist for Hutchison Whampoa (the owners of 3 UK) who was a fellow speaker the the Mobile Youth Trend Workout and he talked about the way that 3 was trying to be more open, so I thought it was worthwhile giving them a chance.

In addition, 3 Like Home, which allows me to roam at my local network rates on 3 UK’s sister networks in Ireland, Italy and Hong Kong was ideal for my needs.

Sales experience

I bought directly from 3 UK, their website was a bit confusing and I was able to get a better deal by buying instore. The store on Oxford Street was not too crowded. The staff were courteous and not at all pushy. The key difference between a 3 Store and Phones4U or the Carphone Warehouse was the lack of handsets on offer.

That wasn’t an issue for me as I was quite happy to have a Nokia N95 (the original form factor with the lens cover and the microSD slot). The trade-off was the ability to make Skype calls, something that none of the other mobile providers had.

Moving across from T-Mobile

I finally signed up for 3 UK on June 24, with my mobile phone number getting transferred over on June 26. I could make calls but I couldn’t receive them. The full transfer hadn’t occurred by June 28 and I started to get a bit nervous.

I called 3 UK customer services and spoke to representatives based somewhere in India. The call centre staff were polite and easy to communicate with, there was an end of call survey to ensure that 3 UK captured feedback on each call.

The problem still wasn’t resolved so I contacted them again on June 30, July 1 and July 2. By July 2 I could sense that the customer service representatives were agitated. They couldn’t do much apart from report the fact that I had called and the only update that they could give me was that they had flagged my problem on their system.

Finally, some time late in the afternoon of July 3, my number was fully ported over. I was contacted by  Craig from the 3UK porting team who explained to me that there had been a problem with my network profile which had now been resolved.

Much of the problem in this experience has less to do with people, everyone I spoke to in the Indian call centre and Craig of the porting team were very professional in the way that they conducted themselves. The problem was in the resources and systems that supported them. The Indian call centre workers obviously had little idea what was really going on.

More adventures from my experiences with 3UK as I have them.