young girl with headphones and laptop is doing homeschooling during corona time
CovidComms Awards Ireland

Connected through Covid

Connected through Covid
Three Ireland
Agency: Drury
Winner: Best embodiment of corporate purpose
CovidComms Awards Ireland

Three Ireland strives to provide its customers with a better-connected life through meaningful products, best-in-class service and a connected network experience. When Covid-19 struck and Ireland, along with the rest of the world, went into lockdown, the mobile telecoms company recognised the role it needed to perform and responded by delivering a set of commitments to assist and help its customers.

It committed to removing all usage limits from its popular All You Can Eat data plans while also allowing any customer with a Mobile Broadband Plan access to unlimited data while restrictions were in place.

Customers who did not have fixed broadband and relied solely on mobile internet access were offered low-cost unlimited data. Three Ireland also offered free access to educational or health websites. In addition, the company worked with customers experiencing financial difficulties because of Covid-19.

All these initiatives aligned with Three’s corporate purpose to provide customers with a better-connected life. But the company also built on these commitments by delivering 10,000 free SIM cards to school children across Ireland to help with remote learning, as well as supporting vulnerable members of society by partnering with charities such as Aware, Age Concern and An Cosan.

For example, Aware’s 115 trained volunteers were unable to work from its Dublin office, where they man a Support Line from 10am to 10pm every day. As confidentiality is essential, the volunteers were unable to use their personal mobiles or off-the-shelf conferencing apps. 3Connect, Three’s cloud-based telephony service, which is encrypted and anonymous, allowed volunteers to answer calls over the internet via an app for their three-hour shifts.

The service was operational within three days, which proved a lifeline for some people: between March and July 2020, the number of calls received by Aware was 68 per cent higher than the same period a year earlier. As 3Connect allows secure remote working, Aware is now planning to recruit volunteers from all over Ireland.

Three Ireland also brought to life its ‘best-in-class service’ commitment by ensuring those financially impacted did not experience any disruptions to their service, while enhancing self-serve capabilities. A planned network investment of €12 million was also brought forward, to improve services in rural and suburban areas.

To ensure that people were aware of these initiatives, Three Ireland launched a media campaign, briefing consumer and technology journalists of its commitment to customers. It also advertised the services on television. The Monster Hunter was filmed and directed remotely by the cast on their iPhones.

Three Ireland also shared news of the available on its social media channels, which was reshared by employees and chief executive Robert Finnegan, who also wrote opinion pieces for national newspapers.

As restrictions continued for longer than initially anticipated, Three Ireland was the only mobile operator to maintain its commitments in full. It was widely praised by both the media and politicians, particularly as it emerged that customers, who had paid little or nothing for the additional services, had upped their data usage by 52 per cent year-on-year.

The judges voted the entry the unanimous winner, adding: ‘Three Ireland very clearly articulated corporate purpose, with a direct link to how it drove business decisions and informed communications strategy during the course of the global pandemic.’