Three UK has gone down – here's what we know about the network's outage

A phone on a red background showing the Three logo
(Image credit: Future)

If you're on the Three mobile network in the UK and have been struggling to send texts or browse the web today, you aren't alone – a large outage hit the network today and is continuing to cause major problems.

The issues started at around 8am GMT and, at the peak, over 20,000 people have reported a Three outage on Downdetector, following a big spike in reports that grew from about 3pm GMT. At the time of writing, those figures are now down to just over 11,000 reports, which could still put a significant dent in many customers' Friday evening plans.

The outage has also been affecting Smarty customers, as that MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) also uses the Three network. Those issues peaked at 5pm GMT when 2,600 Smarty customers  reported "no signal" and even "total blackout" problems. 

While the knock-on effects persist for many – including on the TechRadar team –those Smarty issues have now dropped to 1,800 reports, suggesting that the problems are at least on the mend.

Other networks including EE and O2 have also seen much smaller, but still significant, spikes in reports on Downdetector, although neither of those networks have yet acknowledged an issue.

A graph showing an outage on the Three UK mobile network

(Image credit: Downdetector)

Earlier today at 10:22am GMT, Three UK posted on X (formerly Twitter) that it was aware of the problem that (at the time) was affecting "a small number of customers". It said that "engineers are working hard to fix this as soon as possible", and the network followed up with a similar message at 2:51pm GMT.

We contacted Three UK about the issues and a spokesperson told us: "A number of customers may be experiencing issues with our network. We are aware of what the issue is and our engineers are working to fix it as soon as possible. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.” It also posted a similar statement (below) on X and hasn't yet followed up on its last update, which was over three hours ago.

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The fact that Three UK was unable to stem the tide of customer reports in the four hours between its last two social media statements suggests it's been a pretty serious outage – and looking at messages posted on both X and Downdetector, it's been widespread across the UK.

Three UK does have a Network status checker if you're affected and want to find out if your area is still experiencing issues. If the issues have caused you significant problems, you can go to Three's official complaint form to see if you're entitled to a refund.

Three is currently in the process of merging with Vodafone in a £15bn deal which is due to be completed by the end of 2024. But for Three's current customers, the more pressing issue will be getting their mobile signal back in time for the weekend – we'll update this page as soon as we have more information.

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Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.