3 is a brand name under which several UMTS-based mobile phone networks and Broadband Internet Providers are operated in Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The company was founded in 2002.
Hutchison Whampoa owns direct majority interests in the companies that operate the networks that are branded 3, except 3 Hong Kong and 3 Indonesia. These networks are majority-owned by Hutchison Telecommunications International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa.
All 3-branded networks provide 3G technology (WCDMA, some also run 2G and 4G networks). Hutchison Whampoa no longer holds a 3G license in Israel which was operated under the brand Orange, and in Norway which is not operational yet.vAs of 4 August 2010, registered 3 customers worldwide numbered over 27.8 million.
Like other mobile-provider Internet homepages, 3’s portal is ‘free to browse’ for some content in most 3 countries including Ireland, UK and Australia in most price plans; the user pays a fixed price for each video, text or application downloaded.
Besides that, 3 UK and also 3 Ireland initially made the decision to block direct Internet access from handsets, while 3 Austria allowed access to the Internet since the beginning.
In 2004, 3 released a PC card 3G Data Card (“NetConnect Card”) for Windows-based laptops which allows Internet access through 3’s network directly from the computer, accompanied by a range of data and business tariffs. Later, more cards and USB modems for HSDPA were introduced.