alistairphillips.com

I’m : a web and mobile developer based in the Manning Valley, Australia.


Hutchison 3G UK Limited

Hutchison 3G UK Limited are a mobile network operator touting the 3G aspect of mobile phones. They have been operating in the United Kingdom since 03 March 2003 (03/03/03) but have presence in:

Their company mantra is, if we are to believe them, "bringing the benefits of the Internet to mobile communications". 3 offer some remarkable pricing within the UK compared to the other providers ( Vodafone, O2, Orange and T-Mobile ) with more minutes for less. Phones are all locked to the 3 network and handsets come with branding, via software and on the actual hardware unit itself. 3G coverage can be somewhat spoty with users experiencing very erratic transfer rates. On the whole call quality is usually acceptable but moving between towers often results in dropped calls amd the phone taking a long time to reconnect to the network. Unfortunately the minute you need to use their, and I use this term lightly, "Customer Service" you're in for a rollercoaster ride. All calls are routed to through to India and you have absolutely no contact with British staff whatsoever. I would think it only fair that all voice prompts and promotional material should reflect this and as such to record these using their Indian staff. I don't know whether it's due to training issues or not, but once you reach one of the agents you'll find that they won't stray from their scripted conversation. One can go around in circles trying to get them to understand the product, which they have blatently not used. What amazes me even more is that for a telecommunications company their staff have:

You're not given a reference number for your call and only have to hope that the agent added notes to your account. I've wasted countless hours on the phone to them without my issues being resolved. Requests for confirmation of points during the call to be send out in writing and declined ( either that or they say they will send something and then don't add notes on the system so there is no record of your request ). Calls are in theory recorded but I've yet to have them be able to retrieve one of my calls. Send written corrospondence to their UK registered address results in calls coming to you from India. Even though you had requested corrospondence to be made in writing back to you. And don't even start to think that if you purchase your handset online that you can pop into a retail 3 store for support / replacement. According to 3 they have different cost centres, amongst other excuses, and as such a retail store is forbidden from assisting users with replacement handsets if they purchased online or over the phone. Yes I can fully understand about the differences 'behind the scenes' regarding web/phone/retail but to the customer they are dealing with one entity, 3, and as such should be able to seek support from whatever avenue they have available to them. Do not alienate your customers. Other points to note include:

This network does not come recommended and I would advise you to move. See if you can use the pricing 3 offer as bargaining when trying to sign up to another provider. Whilst the contracts are plentiful in terms of minutes, texts and other nice features steer clear of them if you value your sanity. As soon as my contract has expired I will be porting away from them and moving over to (any) other network. My bets are with O2 due to their UK support and the wonderful experience I've had with their broadband.