With parent company CK Hutchison struggling in the wake of the coronavirus, the UK telco’s head office seems poised to take the hit

Reports from Bloomberg suggest that Three UK is set to reduce its staff total by around 7%. The company currently employs around 4,300 people, meaning around 300 workers could see their jobs cut.


In general, the telecoms sector has handled the pressures of the coronavirus pandemic well, continuing to provide connectivity at the height of the crisis, but this competency masks the financial strain facing the industry. 


Three’s parent company, CK Hutchison, saw their Telecoms Group’s profit fall by around 15% in H1 of 2020. In Europe specifically, the company’s 3 Group Europe – which includes the Three-branded networks in Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, and the UK – active users reportedly fell by 7%.


However, this decline in telecoms business is just the tip of the iceberg for CK Hutchison’s troubles of late. The widespread effects of the pandemic have struck hard, with share prices dropping by around a third this year, with profits down around 29% in the first half of 2020.  


It is presumably this business-wide pressure that is forcing forcing Three UK to slimline their workforce.


For Three UK, this reduction in staff comes at a time when the company is eyeing up potential mergers. Three Ireland purchased Telefonica’s Irish mobile business back in 2014 and Three’s UK arm attempted to do likewise with its O2 UK counterpart not long after, but the merger was blocked by the European Commission in 2016. This option has since been taken off the table, with O2 instead merging with rival Virgin Media.


Nonetheless, Three UK is seemingly still open to the prospect of a merger, with new joint CEO of Three UK & Ireland, Robert Finnegan, saying just last month that the UK market can benefit from consolidation, describing the current market as “dysfunctional”. 


Robert Finnegan is a keynote speaker at this year’s Connected Britain virtual event. To hear more from him, register for your pass today

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