O2 becomes Three as rebrand gets underway

Former 02 customers will soon be able to avail of 4G for the first time as part of merger

Former 02 Ireland customers will have access to 4G for the first time in June as the merger of the company by Three nears completion.

There’s been plenty of activity going on behind closed doors since Three acquired the company last July and integration of the two businesses began, but this week marked the first time that Three officially welcomed 1.5 million 02 subscribers into the fold.

Three, which had to overcome a number of hurdles in order to get the go-ahead to acquire its rival for €850 million, is undertaking a major rebrand and has said it intends to invest about €300 million in its network.

As part of that investment, former 02 customers will soon be able to avail of 4G for the first time and will also be able to call Three subscribers for free.


Significant progress

“We are making significant progress in bringing the latest technology to our customers in Ireland. Three is investing €300 million to build a state of the art superfast network,” said Three chief executive

Robert Finnegan


“Our customers across the country will benefit from this investment with an improved experience and high speed data coverage in more locations than ever before.

"The best parts of both Three and O2 will now be available to our combined customer bases, including award-winning service from two customer care centres in Ireland."

Since Three's acquisition of O2 was completed last year, Three's frontline customer care has been moved to Limerick and Waterford.

In addition, the 02 Arena in Dublin was renamed as the 3Arena and the Three logo replaced its former rival’s one on the team shirts of the Ireland rugby and soccer teams.

The acquisition, which saw Three becoming the second biggest mobile provider in Ireland with 37 per cent market share, has also led to something of a shake-up in the wider market with Setanta Sports, Carphone Warehouse and UPC all planning to become mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) by piggybacking on Three's network.

Three committed to provide network capacity and MVNO services to companies as a sweetener to allow the deal with O2 Ireland.

The company, which employs more than 1,400 people in Ireland, also has a combined retail network of 68 stores.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist