Detailed SWOT Analysis of Three – A British Telecommunications & Internet Service Provider

Updated on: Dec 22, 2021

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In our previous article, we had done an explicit SWOT Analysis of the 8th largest telecommunications company in the world, Movistar. In this article, we will see the SWOT analysis of Three, a telecommunication company. 

One of the best phone networks in the UK – Three or 3 operates as a telecommunication provider. It is a part of CK Hutchison Holdings (CKHH), a prominent multinational conglomerate accomplishing success through innovation and technology. Three operates in total 8 markets around the world. In 2021, the number of active customers increased to 41.5 million.  

Looking into the brand’s giant reach to the people is because of the marketing strategy and Three’s keen interest in launching digital marketing portals. As a marketer, it’s essential to take advantage of the digital world to take your business to the next level. IIDE Online Digital Marketing Course will help you to learn these new skills, which are high on demand. 

With the motto to connect as much as people across the globe Three is always striving hard to be the best. In this blog, we will have an elaborate SWOT Analysis of Three. Before we delve, let us discover more about Three, founding, products, financial status, and competitors.

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About Three

SWOT Analysis of Three - Three

3 or Three was created and is managed by WHAM, CK Hutchison Holdings International Brand Group. It was founded in 2003. They operate in Ireland, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Denmark, Macau, Indonesia, Osterreich and Sverige. 

Three has named its brand differently all around the world. The brand name is based on the geographical location where it operates. If you wonder why they name their brand differently for different locations, it is because their logo is designed to be universal and recognised easily regardless of language or generation. 

Three Australia was started in 2003, with the majority of the owner under Hutchison Telecommunications Australia Limited. In February 2009 Hutchison Telecommunications Australia Limited and Vodafone announced the merging of their Australian operations into a 50-50 joint venture. Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Limited was established in June 2009. In late 2011 Vodafone phased out the Three brand. Three UK has around 4800 employees. As of June 2021, it has 12.9 million active customers and has 311 retail stores in the UK.

Quick Stats on Three
Owner CK Hutchison Holdings
Year Founded 2003
Origin Reading, England, UK
No. of Employees 4,800+
Company Type Limited Company
Market Cap £ 24.54 Billion (2021)
Annual Revenue £ 1,116 Million (2020)
Net Income/ Profit N/A


SWOT Analysis of Three - Three Store

Products & Services by Three

Three has contributed to the telecommunication industry with various products for more than a century.

  • SIM Only
  • Mobile Phones
  • Mobile Broadband
  • Home Broadband
  • Pay monthly data SIMs and Pay As You Go data SIMs

Competitors of Three

Three contests with brands across the globe. The topmost brands are:

  • Airstacks Networks
  • Veon
  • Iliad
  • iFIBER

Now as we are familiarized with the company brand and business let’s shovel into the SWOT analysis of Three.

SWOT Analysis of Three 

SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that can be used to do a situational analysis of the company by measuring strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, the company is facing in its current business environment. 

It deals with two factors: internal and external. Strength and weakness are based on internal factors whereas opportunities and threats rely on external factors of the company.

To better understand the SWOT analysis of Three, refer to the infographics below:

SWOT Analysis of Three - SWOT Infographics of Three

Below is a step-by-step detailed guide to help you with the SWOT analysis of Three.

Strengths of Three

The brand’s competence gives an edge over capturing the maximum market in the industry and earning more profits. Hence here we go with the strengths as follows:

  • Customer Base: The total registered customer base of Three by the end of 2020 was 48,328 inclusive of contract and non-contract customers and the active customer base was 41,803. Three’s strong customer base is one of its strengths.
  • Great Deals: Three is known for the best big data plans. Whether it is an unlimited data plan or a 100 GB plan it continues to serve the customers with great deals. Three has a complete edge over the market when it comes to big data plans.
  • Automation of Activities: One of the major strengths of Three is the automation of all the activities and projects which has brought a good amount of consistency in the quality of the products. This automation has given an edge-over to Three to scale up and scale down according to the demand and conditions of the market’s current situation which is working from home & office. 

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  • High Level of Customer Satisfaction: The company has efficiently managed loyal and dedicated customer relationships. Thus a high level of satisfaction can be seen in the customers and good brand equity among the potential customers can be seen. 
  • Skilled Workforce:  Three has invested huge resources for the training and learning programs for its employees. This results in the formation of a highly skilled and quality workforce, which is not only skilled technically but also highly motivated to achieve their aim and make innovations. 
  • Network Coverage: Three has excellent network coverage. It reaches 99% of the population of the UK and Ireland. Three received Ireland’s Speedest Award for fastest mobile network speed.  It was also voted for an award from Uswitch Best Network for Data in 2021.

Weaknesses of Three

Every coin has two sides, now after a bunch of the strengths there come the weaknesses of Three.

  • High Prices for Small Plans: Three struggles when it comes to the pricing of its budgeted devices. Its pricing seems to fall slightly on a higher side in small data plans ranging between 1 – 5 GB.  Three’s competitors seemed to have an upper hand when it comes to small budgeted plans.
  • Competition with Brands Affecting the Market: Although Three has a unique marketing strategy the new brands and other existing brands are also coming up with new strategies. But to maintain the position of best telecom services they need constant advertising, improvement in their products and this causes the majority of the expenses of the brand.
  • Reliance in UK Market for Major Revenue: As Three has its main headquarters in the UK and it is providing the services more efficiently and gets major revenue from the UK. It is mostly dependent on the UK market and hence lacks revenue from worldwide.
  • Customer Service: Customer services offered by Three is around average. Research conducted by Ofcom in 2021 stated that 23 of every 100,000 Three subscribers complained about the customer services not being up to the mark. 
  • Limited International Presence: Three currently operates in only eight markets around the world. It should consider operating in other countries, to expand its business and create strong brand recognition and awareness in the market.

Opportunities of Three

There is always a way to add an extra mile to your work and improve sales, marketing, and profit.

  • Internet Users: According to, there are over 4.66 billion active internet users in the world. Three has a huge opportunity to increase its customer base by providing affordable data plans. 
  • New Environmental Policies: The new opportunities will open doors to a level playing field for all the players in the industry. It provides a good opportunity for Three to drive the advantage home buying new technology and gain market share for new product categories. Also to sustain the potential customers as well as loyal ones.
  • Stable Free Cash Flow: The stable cash flow provides opportunities to invest in adjacent products. Hence when more cash is with the company can think of some new technologies and product segments to increase the market share. 
  • Customer Base: Three has the widest network coverage in UK and Ireland. The network coverage in Sweden and Indonesia is quite less in comparison to the other countries where Three operates. Three can take the opportunity to build a large and strong network coverage.

Threats of Three

The environmental factors can prove to be a threat to the company and are harmful. Here are some threats:

  • New Entries: The new entrants like Reliance are gaining market due to some policies and absorbing the market share of the existing telecom services. Hence, Three faces threats from such new brands as it may steal loyal customers.
  • Technical Advancement: The new competitors in the race are with some advanced technology reducing the overall market share of Three.
  • Challenging & Competitive Market Conditions: Intense competition has led to a declining active customer base, in particular for non-contract customers. Aggressive competition from other telecom brands results in the problem of retaining customers.

This ends our detailed SWOT analysis of Three. Let us conclude our learning below.

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To Conclude

Three has been a huge success in the markets in which it is operating, but it still lacks in global presence as well as partner presence. It should expand its business in other parts of the world through joint ventures, merging or by starting its operations and partnering with other companies to increase its brand presence.

China, India and the US have the highest number of internet users. Three should now focus on expanding their business in these three markets as well in the developing countries where internet users are increasing rapidly. 

With its extensive marketing skills, it has a wide reach but has to undergo tough competition due to an increase in demand and various other competitors coming up with new brands and strategies. 

In today’s dynamic world digital marketing is of utmost importance. Hence, improving marketing skills is very paramount for digital marketing enthusiasts. If you are intrigued with the above piece of information in learning more and upskilling, check out the 3 Months Advanced Digital Marketing Course by IIDE to know more.

We hope this blog on the SWOT Analysis of Three has given you a good insight into the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]


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