VHA closes noose around 3 brand

New VHA customers get free calls between Vodafone and 3

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has announced it will re-brand its 3 retail stores across Australia, as part of its transition phase following a 50-50 merger between the two telcos 16 months ago.

Under the new branding initiative, all 3 stores will offer the mobile plans and products of both brands operated by the merged telco, with a transition expected to be complete by 21 July. Vodafone stores will also be refitted to provide "an improved customer experience", but will not offer 3 plans or products.

“Until now, the merger and integration of 3 and Vodafone has essentially been behind the scenes, focussed primarily on bringing our people, our customer service capabilities and IT systems together," VHA chief executive officer, Nigel Dews, said in a statement.

"Investment in our retail network is critical, and ensuring we can make the most of the great locations and talents of our store staff is vital in ensuring we deliver the best possible customer experience."

As part of the rebranding, new customers who signed up to one of the VHA-operated services after 11 March 2010 will be able to make free standard calls between Vodafone and 3 mobiles.

VHA currently has over seven million customers, with mobile broadband services making for an increasingly important revenue stream. Dews, who shifted to VHA from Hutchison Telecoms, has previously stated that the merger saved Hutchison and the 3 brand from continuing losses.

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