Three celebrated its tenth birthday earlier this year and as it enters its second decade, it does so with an air of maturity and confidence, but still keeping a piece of that old bedevilment with it. Three posted its third annual profit in a row earlier this year, showing that you can marry aggressive customer growth with a shrewd financial performance. Three now boasts almost nine million customers, thanks to a push on high-end smartphones.
CEO David Dyson has been lauded for being a smart and pragmatic operator, giving Three clarity of vision. Customers have been swayed by its All You Can Eat data offer and Dyson outmanoeuvred its rivals by promising this year that when it launches its 4G network later in 2013, consumers will be able to access 4G data with no extra charges to what they pay for 3G.
Dyson also ensured it was future proofed for growth, snapping up spectrum from rival EE and emerging from this year’s 4G auction as one of the winners. While different bands of spectrum work in different ways, Three now sits only three percentage points behind O2 in terms of its spectrum holding, despite it having less than half its rival’s customers. He has also smartly diversified the business, launching a cloud-based machine to machine platform, allowing businesses to tap into Three’s network and launch services such as CCTV camera systems. It is a network that has relied on data-hungry users for growth, but Dyson continues to have an appetite himself to drive the business forward.