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3 Cancels 'Like Home' Free Roaming Plan

Gordon Kelly

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3 Cancels 'Like Home' Free Roaming Plan

Now I'm usually all behind the innovative business practices at 3. 15GB for £15 is the best mobile broadband deal I've seen to date, embracing the INQ1 was extremely future savvy and granting free unconditional Skype access on its handsets is potentially a game changer. This on the other hand appears rather daft...

3 is withdrawing its 3 Like Home service which it launched in January 2007. The plan had the foresight to scrap roaming charges in the seven countries which had 3 networks: Austria, Denmark, Italy, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Australia and Hong Kong.

I contacted 3 about this directly and received a rather long response:

"3 Like Home has offered great value, but by giving away roaming calls on our sister networks we've been less able to compete on price in countries where we have no network (often the destinations most popular with UK customers). In order to be able to offer the best prices across the board, after 30th June, we will no longer offer 3 Like Home. This means that customers travelling to Austria, Denmark, Italy, Ireland and Sweden, will no longer be able to use their inclusive minutes, texts & services on the 3 sister networks and after June 30th 2009, they will pay our new standard roaming prices for calls and texts."

Surprisingly, 3 said "By retiring 3 Like Home we are also reducing the risk of bill shock and simplifying our offer" - not entirely sure I agree with that logic. I'd suspect the risk of bill shock is quite high for anyone presently in one of these seven countries. 3 is current notifying all customers of the change.

On the bright side 3 does say the move paves the way for "new pricing, which we will announce shortly {so} customers won't need to worry whether or not they're roaming on the right network". We can expect details 'this summer'.

Fingers crossed 3 pulls something out the hat here because, as I'm sure it doesn't need reminding: Vodafone scraps roaming charges during a three month trial next week. Pressure's on...

Link:

3 Like Home

lifethroughalens

May 20, 2009, 5:10 am

"retiring", "Bill shock"....?! What a load of PR BS.





I'd say going from no charge to A charge is a pretty negative result, however you attempt to spin it. Shame, I was just warming to 3.

GoldenGuy

May 20, 2009, 7:10 am

I like 3 too actually but believe me uh, the 'bill shock' of "Oh that's nice, my bill is lower than expected" is one where the customers' pain will heal in time.

jingyeow

May 20, 2009, 8:19 am

I guess it makes sense. If your phone constantly jumps to different networks in a foreign country, you may think minutes are inclusive, only to find that you aren't actually on a 3 sister network and are charged full whack.






robjohn

May 20, 2009, 12:48 pm

It's a backward step for sure. I am regularly in Italy and Hong Kong and this free roaming (including full use of Skype functionality) was very useful indeed. I always locked my phone to the local 3 network using manual network selection, so roaming to other networks was not an issue. I also use a 3 broadband dongle which gave me free internet access in these countrie . I will miss that even more. It is always swings and roundabout in such a competitive environment.

Williamn

May 20, 2009, 2:46 pm

So if I take a Vodafone pay+go sim card in my phone to spain, I will be charged the UK rate to call my UK friends, and the normal UK rate to call spanish mobiles?

Gordon394

May 20, 2009, 5:22 pm

@Williamn - that's the theory.

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