Three offers no GPRS data service

Mobile phone operators reeling from scandals? As well as Vodafone UK's Twitter feed being updated with a homophobic message, this weekend it was discovered that the mobile network Three does not allow GPRS data surfing.

Consumer technology news site ElectricPig found out that Three does not enable Internet data when customers are not inside its network's footprint. "We give our customers access to both 2G services (voice and text) and 3G mobile internet access (Skype, Email on Three and Windows Live etc)," said a Three spokesperson. "When 3G coverage isn’t available, our customers roam onto 2G with Orange. Our 3G network covers 93 per cent of the UK population. With Orange, we only provide 2G voice and text coverage, where 3G isn’t available."

Why has Three chosen to limit data services to its network only? "The experience wouldn’t be good enough on 2G so we don’t offer it," the spokesperson explained, adding that, "By end of this year, we will have very limited need of their 2G network as we would have expanded our 3G network.”

ElectricPig states that in their experience, Three's 3G signal "seemed to struggle, even inside central London". While Three plans to have nearly 13,000 base stations by end 2010, that means currently many customers will not be able to access the mobile Internet when they want to.

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