Are you one of those rare 3 customers who has stayed on a 3 plan despite Vodafone buying out 3 back in 2009? Well, switch-off day is approaching: you now have until 30 August, when Vodafone will kill off the last remnants of the network completely.
To be honest, we're surprised this didn't happen sooner. 3 and Vodafone merged way back in 2009. At the time, Vodafone pledged no price changes for at least two years, but that deadline passed back in 2011, and all 3 customers have primarily been using the Vodafone network since August last year. Over that time, Vodafone has partnered with Optus for network build-outs, killed off the 3 roaming deal with Telstra and — how could we forget? — developed a reputation for shabby network performance that has resulted in lawsuits and major customer haemorrhaging.
Existing 3 customers can switch to a Vodafone SIM and associated plan by visiting a Vodafone retailer. Of course, since their existing deals no longer apply, they can also migrate their service to another provider, and we suspect many will do so. Vodafone's best chance of retaining them will be the fact that its in-testing 4G service is due to go live in June.
The customers most likely to be impacted by the change are those who have relied on the ability to roam from 3 to Telstra — something that you can't do on Vodafone, and which can be a boon in regional areas even if you had to pay for it. Vodafone says less than 1 per cent of customers will be "significantly impacted" by that change, and that it will contact them directly.
The lesson? If you are a 3 customer, expect a phone call from Vodafone — and push hard for a bargain. It has a lot more to lose than you do.