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Issues with Three UK

Discussion in 'Mobile Phones & Tablets' started by GMac11, May 18, 2020.

  1. GMac11

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 3, 2012

    Posts: 1,573

    Location: Northern Ireland

    From the outset I don't want to get into a slagging match between mobile networks I am just looking for some advice (either technical or consumer) to help me with Three.
    I have been using Three for my home 4G internet in a TP Link router since last May and up until last week it worked without fault, the connection always averaged around 40mbps dipping to maybe 20 at absolute peak times.
    However in the middle of last week I noticed the connection got slower and slower and have since been periodically running a speed test app on my phone. The latency has shot up from its usual 50-60ms to between 500-600ms and the upload speed is totally dead on 0. When checking Three's network status it is saying that my local mast cannot cope with the excess traffic and they are working to improve it. However every day I check it and it says it will be fixed on that date and here we are 6 days later and it still says the same thing. I live in quite a rural area and I know Three aren't prevalent in these parts so I'm not sure how much 'excess' traffic there could actually be. The really annoying thing is if I travel around 1-2miles down the road towards the town I then connect to a different mast and everything is A-ok, so clearly there has to be some sort of mast issue as they say? The other thing is according to OpenSignal its actually an EE mast - now I am aware that Three and EE do share masts. When I check EE's network status they say everything is ok. My phone runs Virgin Mobile (which uses EE) and it has also been affected. The other two phones in the house are Vodafone and O2 and they are running fine.

    Hopefully you can imagine trying to relay all this to a live chat agent has been totally fruitless. The other point is my contract is actually up now in 10 days and I am finding it really difficult to actually get in touch to say I want to leave, although I'd much rather the problem was fixed as their downloads speeds are unrivalled where I live. Vodafone which really my only other alternative maxes out around 20mbps however if push came to shove it's better than what I'm currently getting.
    If I can't notify Three of my intention to leave is there any way I can cancel my DD and since my contract is period is up would it affect my Credit Rating?

    It's a tedious story I know but maybe someone out there needs a bit of mental stimulation in the lockdown!
     
  2. BongoHunter

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Apr 14, 2014

    Posts: 1,616

  3. GMac11

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 3, 2012

    Posts: 1,573

    Location: Northern Ireland

  4. Terminal_Boy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Apr 13, 2013

    Posts: 7,832

    Location: La France

    Three and EE do share infrastructure under through a joint venture called MBNL.

    Basically, the mast has EE and Three antennas using different frequencies, but the Radio Access Network resources are shared between them until you get to the Core Network when one pipe goes to EE’s back end and one pipe goes to Three’s back end.

    Because of the way the base station (eNode B) is logically and physically split in half, it’s entirely possible that you could have horrible congestion on the Three part, but a mate stood right next to you with an EE device could have an excellent service.

    EE have far more 4G spectrum than Three, so they might have much higher capacity on your local cell.
     
  5. GMac11

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 3, 2012

    Posts: 1,573

    Location: Northern Ireland

    Thanks and a very interesting insight. However does that address my findings relating to both my Virgin AND Three sims displaying almost identical behaviour?
     
  6. Terminal_Boy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Apr 13, 2013

    Posts: 7,832

    Location: La France

    It sounds like the local base station which is shared between EE and Three is utterly slammed by the increased demand as they stated. The problem is that the amount of resources that a base station can supply has all sorts of hardware limitations and networks usually only built out base station to support the expected demand plus a little headroom.

    If many of your WFHing neighbours are Three, EE and Virgin customers, that would explain why your service has gone down the pan.

    I’d imagine that your base station only had to support light traffic during the normal working hours before as you and your neighbours were out working somewhere else. Now, it’s at or near full capacity during these hours as many are sat at home.

    The network operators around the planet are in a bit of a quandary right now. Should they spend tens of millions of $/£/€ upgrading their networks to cope with people from WFH due to the Wuhan Flu and never recoup this investment if all goes back to normal shortly or do nothing and see people in your situation switch to any other operator?

    Is it worth you getting a Voda PAYG sim just and running it for a week in your router to make sure that you’re not jumping from one sinking ship to another?
     
  7. GMac11

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 3, 2012

    Posts: 1,573

    Location: Northern Ireland

    Three and EE are not big players here in NI mostly because outside of the urban centres their coverage is rubbish. I seemed to get lucky that my house lies in a nice little 3 bar pocket for Three which is why I got it in the first place.
    I have a Vodafone data sim in my work laptop which I have stuck in my router (hopefully work don't figure it out!) and it has been working a treat - more respectable pings of around 50-60ms and download speeds ranging between 10-25mpbs - not as high as the 40 I was reaching on Three but at least it works.
     
  8. Terminal_Boy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Apr 13, 2013

    Posts: 7,832

    Location: La France

    Result!

    Most important factor in getting good throughput on 4G is having as high a signal indication as possible.
     
  9. koooowweeee

    Soldato

    Joined: Jan 13, 2010

    Posts: 5,334

    Location: Manchester

    Not read all the thread. But I got to the part where I was sweet until last week? So was virgin media. But this lockdown is taking its tole.

    If you need proper internet then you should get a proper connection. I wired one will be way more reliable.
     
  10. GMac11

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 3, 2012

    Posts: 1,573

    Location: Northern Ireland

    I can understand that but every other EE/Three mast in the surrounding area (within say 2 or 3 mile radius) is working fine. Also, the lockdown began over 2 months ago, why has this only raised its head last week?
    Lastly, if you can can fixed line internet to my house I will pay you a king's ransom, believe me it ain't happening. I tried (out of hope than expectation) but I barely get 1 meg.
     
  11. marms

    Gangster

    Joined: Nov 5, 2005

    Posts: 282

    Location: Lincolnshire

    Have you tried setting your router to 3G only, when 4G starts playing up sometimes i do this.
     
  12. GMac11

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 3, 2012

    Posts: 1,573

    Location: Northern Ireland

    Yeah I think I had tried it but tested again today and if anything it's even worse.
    Fortunately my contract is up next week so I've jumped to Vodafone - although I'd much rather stay with a fully functioning Three but who knows when (or if) this will ever resolve itself.
    And I don't even know where to begin with Virgin to explain the problem on my phone, that contract isn't up until November.
     
  13. insane200

    Soldato

    Joined: Aug 10, 2006

    Posts: 6,769

    I have the same issues with 3, the mast near me is always around 4mg if i'm outside, which is crap, but elsewhere around the town i can get 30/40mg I've asked many times and they always say no issues, getting very frustrated tbh as it wasn't always like this and I have 18 months to go before the contract is up.
     
  14. Terminal_Boy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Apr 13, 2013

    Posts: 7,832

    Location: La France

    I suspect that around town you’re getting the benefit of an LTE (4G) feature called Carrier Aggregation where your device can receive data over multiple simultaneous radio links from neighbouring masts.
     
  15. GMac11

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 3, 2012

    Posts: 1,573

    Location: Northern Ireland

    In a way it cheers me up a little that I'm not the only person this has happened too, apologies :p. The problem is so peculiar that it doesn't seem to have affected one other person but me! As I said, anecdotally, Vodafone and O2 are the big players in my area so if an EE/Three mast went belly up it's doubtful anyone else would notice. It's still so annoying as I ventured one mile up the road yesterday and went to download speeds of 80mpbs, still with the exact same three bars of signal, just different mast.
    Anyhow, I have had to bite the bullet and took out an unlimited Vodafone SIM as I would have been mad to commit to Three for another 12/24 months with no sign of a fix for the problem - although knowing my luck it'll sort itself out the day after I change over! The Vodafone speeds are nowhere near as good but at least it works and it's cheaper so that's something.
     
  16. silverblack

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 8, 2007

    Posts: 1,573

    I also use Three for home broadband and usually get 80MB download speeds.
    Since covid-19 and the lockdown that has dropped to 40MB,to be expected i guess.
    I'm still on the fence about going back to phone line and fibre as the mast near us has conked out completly twice now.
     
  17. GMac11

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Dec 3, 2012

    Posts: 1,573

    Location: Northern Ireland

    If I had the option I'd go fixed line in the morning. I know it tends to work out more expensive (outside of new customer deals) but at least it's generally reliable and it provides much better latency for gaming.