Three Ireland

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Three Ireland (Hutchison) Limited
Industry Mobile telecommunications, Broadband internet access
Founded 26 July 2005
Headquarters Dublin, Ireland
Parent Hutchison Whampoa

Three Ireland is a telecommunications and internet service provider operating in Ireland as a subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa. The company launched in July 2005 and provides 3G and 4G mobile phone services. Three's parent, Hutchison Whampoa, acquired O2 Ireland in June 2013, and the company was merged into Three Ireland in March 2015.


3 Store, Grafton Street, Dublin, Ireland

Three launched on 26 July 2005 as Ireland's fourth mobile network operator behind Vodafone, O2 and Meteor. 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, 3 Ireland admitted it has been overstating its subscriber numbers since 2006. As per its latest released mid year statements about 56 per cent of 3'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 3 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 coverage is made up of a single 2,100 MHz band UMTS network, with claims of 96% population coverage[citation needed] and 500,000 subscribers.[6] A roaming agreement with Vodafone provides GSM coverage where no UMTS signal is available.

In July 2012, Three announced a strategic partnership with Vodafone Ireland to share network infrastructure. This will facilitate rapid rollout of 3 Ireland's 4G network, while also making it less costly.[7] When a 3 user is using 2G or Edge connection, they are using Vodafone's 2G network, as Three are a 3G/HSDPA network only.[8]

In November 2012 Three was awarded LTE spectrum by auction, along with the three other incumbent network operators.[9]

On 27 January 2014, Three launched their 4G network in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Wexford and Waterford.[10] In March 2014, Three expanded their 4G coverage to Ashbourne, Bray, Carlow, Dunmore East, Kilkenny, Leixlip, Lusk, Rush, Skerries, Swords and Tullamore.

Radio frequency summary[edit]

Frequencies used on the Three Ireland network
Frequency Protocol Class
1800 MHz LTE 4G


On 5 August 2010, 3 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.[11]

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


External links[edit]