3 Like Churn set to replace 3 Like Home

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According to Mobile News (Issue 436 April 4, 2009) front page article 3 starts major store cost-cutting drive by Michael Garwood – 3UK will be cutting ties with other 3 businesses ending its 3 Like Home deal in July. The article connects this move with the European Commission’s caps on roaming data and SMS rates.

3 Like Home applies in Australia, UK, Hong Kong, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Denmark and Ireland. Personally I can’t see the linkage as Australia and Hong Kong weren’t part of the EU when I last checked. Pure speculation on my part, but it does beg the question, is this reorganisation a signal that are likely to be changes within the Hutchison Whampoa Group or consolidation in the Chinese telecoms marketplace?

Why else would 3 seek to give up such a great advantage over rival networks like Vodafone, Telefonica or Deutsche Telekom? 3 Like Home shouldn’t cost 3 that much to run as the 3 businesses are all running on a common IP network? I just can’t see the cost saving here.

As a consumer the demise of 3 Like Home would signal the end of my relationship with 3UK as my mobile voice and data provider.  My mobile data dongle is out of contract so I would only have to give a month’s notice on this. I currently pay 3UK about double the amount they are currently selling mobile data plans on. The only thing that has stopped me churning (because lets face it, a dongle is just a pipe) is my ability to roam via 3 Like Home in Hong Kong and Ireland saving me a substantial amount of money in potential data charges.

I have recommended 3UK to a number of my friends because of the data, SMS and voice roaming benefits provided in 3 Like Home.

My mobile phone contract runs out in December, my current mobile phone is a self-purchased phone as I’ve found much of the bundled software isn’t that useful for me. Facebook and IM are now available on other carriers: Blackberry devices are said to have a particularly good Facebook experience. Without the roaming advantage I just can’t see why I wouldn’t just go to another carrier like Vodafone?