Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has revealed that it is to discontinue the use of the ‘Three’ (‘3’) brand, with legacy customers required to switch over to a Vodafone-branded plan within the next three months. ZDNet Australia cites VHA director of customer care Cormac Hodgkinson as confirming the plans, with the executive noting: ‘3 customers have already been using the Vodafone network since August 2012, so all they need to do now is pick up a new Vodafone SIM and plan to continue to use their same handset and mobile number. We are working hard to ensure customers have a seamless experience.’ While the operator has not confirmed how many customers will be affected by the development, it is believed that the total is in the hundreds of thousands.
As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Hutchison 3G Australia (H3G) and Vodafone Australia announced plans to merge operations as a 50/50 joint venture named Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) in February 2009. In announcing the deal it was confirmed that VHA would retain the right to use Hutchison’s Three brand in Australia during the transition period, although it was noted that the brand would be discontinued ‘in the short term’. Subsequently, August 2011 saw VHA unveil a number of initiatives aimed at moving a step closer to unifying the Three and Vodafone brands, with it at that date confirming that it would no longer accept new Three subscribers.