Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has revealed plans to shut down its 3-branded mobile network on August 30.
VHA is giving 3 customers three months to pick up a new Vodafone SIM and contract, before service is suspended during the final stage of the merger between Vodafone Australia and Hutchison Australia.
The operator hasn't disclosed how many customers are still on a 3-branded contract, but various media reports indicate the figure is in the hundreds of thousands.
The company is meanwhile ending a roaming agreement 3 had been operating under with Telstra at the end of the month, which will significantly impact around 1% of these remaining customers even earlier.
VHA stopped signing up new 3 customers in 2011, and shut down the 2100-MHz “3GIS” network that Hutchison had been sharing with Telstra the following year, moving 3 customers onto the Vodafone network.
When Vodafone Australia and Hutchison Australia first announced their decision to merge in early 2009, they revealed a plan to eventually create a single network under the Vodafone brand.
But the operator will have to tread carefully during the last stage of the consolidation, lest it risk losing a significant number of subscribers. The operator is still shaking off the effects of a subscriber exodus triggered by complaints over network quality and a series of outages in 2010.