Vodafone stops signing up new 3 customers

Vodafone Hutchison Australia says 3 mobile not disappearing and support will continue for existing customers

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) confirmed it will stop taking on new customers for its 3 network, as the two brands continue their gradual merge.

Customers who are on 3 prepaid deals or post-pay contracts are being offered the chance to migrate to Vodafone.

Vodafone marketing director, John Casey, told Computerworld Australia that if 3 customers choose not to join Vodafone or don’t have Vodafone network coverage where they live, they can continue to reside on the 3 network.

When asked what would happen if all 3 customers migrated to Vodafone, Casey conceded the 3 brand may disappear but this isn’t part of VHA’s strategy.

The change is a part of VHA’s ongoing process to merge the Vodafone and 3 networks, which began two years ago.

VHA doesn’t break down the number of its Vodafone and 3 customers, but currently has a total of 7.2 million Australian customers.

Its 550 retail stores are both Vodafone and 3 branded, but from 31 August the stores will sell Vodafone offerings and services.

"The bottom line is that we are not shutting any 3 stores and there will be no changes to staff numbers," Casey said.

VHA has more than 4000 staff at present.

Casey said that the performance of the Vodafone network was better than it has ever been, and the telco was spending $1 billion to upgrade both the 2G and 3G network.

"The key focus is on making the network 850Mhz enabled, which is great for the performance of smartphones," he said.

In August, VHA released figures showing the telco had lost 375,000 customers so far this year, as users sought alternatives in response to network and customer service issues.

Of the total decline, the company said 347,000 were from its prepaid and mobile broadband customers, as well as users of other mobile companies that ran on the Vodafone Hutchinson network, known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO).

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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