Three Mobile Broadband Buyers Guide

Competitive mobile broadband offering low prices, unlimited usage allowances and excellent 4G coverage

  • Unlimited 4G and 5G usage on many plans
  • Pay as you go or pay monthly with contracts ranging from 1 month to 24
  • Special plans designed as an alternative to home fibre broadband
  • Use 5G on 4G plans at no extra cost
  • TechRadar Mobile Choice Consumer Awards 2018 winner for Best Network for Roaming and Data

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Three Mobile Personal WiFi
£9.00 per month
24 month contract

No upfront cost

  • 2GB usage allowance
  • Connect up to 10 devices
  • Free setup
  • 24 month contract

Buy now

Reasons to choose Three

  • 4G coverage across virtually the whole UK population
  • 5G network available in 66 cities, and growing
  • Dedicated home broadband services offer truly unlimited use
  • Pricing is very competitive
  • One month and pay as you go options available on some plans
  • Free roaming in parts of Europe on select plans

Possible downsides

  • 4G not the fastest among all networks
  • 5G Home Broadband only available in London at first
  • 24 month contracts needed to get the best deals
  • Three rank fourth out of five for customer satisfaction for mobile networks

Features at a glance

  • 4G speeds average around 24Mb; 5G speeds around 100Mb

  • Contracts from pay as you go up to 24 months

  • Unlimited usage on home broadband plans

  • 24 hour technical support by phone or online

  • Free mobile router or even smart speaker on some deals

  • Subsidised tablets with some deals

  • You will be charged at 1p per MB you use over your monthly allowance

2.7 stars
  satisfaction rating based on 855 customer ratings since 2020-01-16. See more Three Mobile customer ratings and reviews.

Details last checked on 2020-10-27

SIM Only

From £7.50 for 1GB to £24 for 100GB, nano SIMs available

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Personal WiFi

MiFi deals from £9 a month

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Short Contract

1 month contracts available from £10 with 2GB usage

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4G

Take advantage of 4G from Three on many deals

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Pay As You Go

From £10 for 1GB for 30 days, cost includes 1GB free

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Tablet Bundles

From FREE on a 24 month contract to full price on cheaper tariffs

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4G Home Router

Unlimited data + no activation fee!

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Highest Usage

Unlimited data from £22 on a 24 month contract

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5G Home Router

Unlimited data + no activation fee! Only in the London area.

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Check Coverage

4G coverage 99.8%, 3G coverage 98.3%

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Details last checked on 2020-10-27

Customer Reviews

Sometimes the best way to get a feel for a broadband provider is to read what those who are already customers think of the service they're receiving. Below are all the reviews we've received for Three Mobile.

Customer Ratings Summary

  • Satisfaction
    2.7 stars
  • Customer Service
    2.7 stars
  • Speed
    2.5 stars
  • Reliability
    2.5 stars

Based on 855 customer ratings since 2020-01-16

Show all time ratings

Add your own review of Three

Ratings are left by users of our speed test as well as by reviewers. Recent star ratings summarise the last 12 months of ratings or the last 100 placed, whichever is largest.

Reviewer Location Reviewing Date Ratings
absolutely horrific customer service! I've been having issues with my mobile broadband and Three simply refuses to take responsibility for it and they want to charge me loads of money to cancel the contract. I'm now making a complaint to the Communication Ombudsman Service.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
London Three Mobile  
If I could give no stars I would! Shocking speeds and even worse customer service.

I live in Sheffield city centre and don’t have access to fibre broadband, so the fastest speed any provider can guarantee is 6 mbps which is fairly slow. I saw that Three were claiming much faster speeds so decided to give it a go! Oh how I wish I’d read the reviews beforehand..

It worked straight away out of the box which is about the only good thing. The speed fluctuated between fairly quick and unusably slow almost every 5 minutes. Tried the router all over the house to no avail. After a while, it settled on about 0.7 mbps which it never really changed from, despite showing full signal and 4G.

I purchased this in the Three store which doesn’t offer the same returns guarantee as online, however the store manager agreed to honour the 30 days and authorised it in my contract in case I changed my mind, and with lockdown looming (and closed shops) I was told I would be able to cancel on the phone.

This is where it gets even worse.. after being pinged around from pillar to post between various departments, I was told on the phone that they can’t authorise returns on the phone for products bought in store, and only the technical team would be able to do this based on the dreadful speed. After finally getting through to the technical team, they said I would only even be considered for a refund once they had conducted a weeklong troubleshooting investigation, and if the outcome of that was that they didn’t agree with my issues, there would be no refund. Feeling untold levels of dispair and betrayal about having been lied to in order to get me signed up in the shop (which had now closed because of lockdown), I opened a complaint in the online chat. After royally kicking off, the agent managed to honour my cancellation despite making a big song and dance about how it was outside of process and they were only making the exception as a goodwill gesture.

Moral of the story.. DON’T BE SUCKED IN BY THE PROPOSED SPEEDS! Like most of these reviewers’ experiences, mine was dreadful. The customer service is abysmal too.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Sheffield Three Mobile  
Terrible internet. Terrible customer service. On the phone for hours. Being placed on hold for an hour. Wont let me cancel sim only contract unless i call a number which puts you on hold for ages. Wouldnt recommend to ANYONE.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Lowestoft Three Mobile  
I have been a loyal customer with 3 for over 10 years prior to February the broadband was ok however it has slowly but surely got absymal constantly . Lags when my son is on his ps4 and he can't understand I work from home and it constantly throws me of my network and calls and we can't watch Netflix or now TV as Constantly lagging I have 1 year on my contract I have complained several times and they have tried everything I will be cancelling and taking them to small claims if they put a bad credit mark on my file I have 4 contracts and have just cancelled one phone contract and will be moving the others to different providers very soon they are terrible and reading all these comments on hear bring home just how bad they are now they are going to lose lots of customers
  • Customer Service
    3 stars
Bokton Three Mobile  
Three when it works is great... just its not very often these days.

For multiple years I have had long periods where text messages don't arrive... they just disappear, even when the sender is standing right next to me. Ive complained about this multiple times both to tech support and in shops, and am fobbed off with its "phone settings"... four different phones, two different operating systems... come on... three buggered up the white pages entry when my number was ported to three a decade back, and its been broken ever since.

Worse, right now I am working from hme, using three mobile as my only way to contact office and data, and constantly see reports saying that three are upgrading my data connection and to expect faster speeds... but this is not the case. while "working" on the network I see data speeds slower than when I was using a dialup modem in the early 90's, and in the evenings it gets slower each week.

I am fed up with being fobbed off by callcentre chimps, and even getting through to the second line tech support fairs no better. I spent 10 years lecturing in RF and digital communications technology. The last thing I need is yet another idiot insisting I perform a factory reset. I shall be leaving three.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Shrewsbury Three Mobile  
I would give zero stars if I could - they are, in my view, dishonest, unreliable and put so much pressure on me - a vulnerable pensioner I wanted to end my life. They put me in hospital with suspected heart attach as there is no let up from them. They lie in writing saying they need your passport and driving licence to look at your complaint as this is their data protection policy but will not send you a copy of this alleged policy. They tried to charge me £200+ because they sent me two router instead of one (I live in a terraced not Buck palace) idiots. I rang them and emailed the day these 2 routers arrived and asked for an SAE - to return one - I just got a bill for over £200 which I refuse to pay. Ireturned the extra router. As I do not have a passport or driving licence they will not deal with my compaint. I wrote to the CEO by letter twice and sent him an email - he did not reply either - so from the top down - untrustworthy and dishonest. They send me a buill for £48 (my contrat is £22 pm) and will not tell me what it is for but said they would just adjust my direct debit and take the money out of my account - thieves. I stopped the dd. I wait for someone with a brain cell to respond.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
W MIDLANDS Three Mobile  
Hi, I seriously question any negative "reviews" of three mobile.I've found them brilliant for customer service. You always get through to a real person. Someone who is normal, personabke and really at ease with any query you have. I've just got their broadband unit. It's great.It works. That's all I ask. Granted I live in Central London but hey: that's the advantage of cities over a village! Compared to VirginMedia which is constantly suffering from digging up the riad or your front drive 3mobille is a dream.
  • Satisfaction
    5 stars
  • Customer Service
    5 stars
  • Speed
    5 stars
  • Reliability
    5 stars
London Three Mobile  
Was once okay, but for the last few months speeds are terrible. Cant play on xbox until after 10pm, or before 9am, during daytime it wont even sign in. During the day, with dial up speeds on laptop just looking at ebay etc. They have oversold capacity, and are now throttling . Just downloaded a 40gb game, it manages about 6gb a night so it only took around 8 days. I will not be renewing contract.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    2 stars
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Chapeltown Leeds Three Mobile  
I have had 3 broadband for 14 months now. When it works speed is ok but often get buffering. In the last 3 months there have been 3 significant service failures lasting several days. The last failure ended today after 9 (nine) days of unusable internet. Current speed is half what it was 2 weeks ago.
Three customer support help desk are hopeless except at giving endless apologies but no action. You can tell buy their tone that they don’t give a damn and are just following a script.

I have currently raised a formal complaint. Three are wanting to stall this and are declining to respond formally. I intend to end my contract whatever and revert to land fibre.

I could not recommend this network to anyone unless you have no other options.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    2 stars
  • Reliability
    1 star
Stowmarket Three Mobile  
I have been signed to a plan to which I did not agreed far higher that the one I wanted they have no sent any proof of my commitment to this higher plan, and now I will be rip off for a year!
Lopez Three Mobile  

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The reviews published on this page are those of the individual authors who have warrantied that they abide by our review guidelines. Reviews are not the opinion of Broadband.co.uk.

Christmas Broadband and TV

Missed the deadline for broadband or TV installation? You can still upgrade for Xmas!

Posted on 2020-12-18 17:27 in Features NOW Broadband Three Vodafone 4GEE O2

Were you planning to upgrade your broadband or TV in time for the holidays? It's now the middle of December, so it's probably too late, right? Oh no it isn't!

We can still save your Christmas with faster broadband and more TV than you could ever possibly watch. Here's what you can do.

Broadband

If you aren't sure your current broadband will hold up under the strain of endless Zoom chats, Netflix bingeing and PS5 gaming, you still have options.

Although it is too late to get a new fibre deal connected in time for Christmas, mobile broadband can still give a decent internet boost.

There are 4G home broadband plans that offer you unlimited data at speeds on a par with a basic fibre deal. And if you're lucky enough to live in a 5G area, you can switch to something that is potentially a whole lot faster than the broadband you've currently got.

What makes it better is that you don't even need to make the switch permanent, since providers like Three and Vodafone let you sign up on 30-day plans. So if you just want to add a bit more bandwidth alongside your existing service for a few weeks, or are visiting family and need to take a decent internet connection with you, then this could work a treat.

Among the best deals available:

  • Three have unlimited 4G on deals up to two years long. You can get a 30-day plan for £30, plus £49 for a wireless hub (which you'll be able to continue using in future, too). They also do 5G in select areas, with unlimited data and speeds up to an impressive 200Mb. Prices start at £29 a month.
  • Vodafone have a range of mobile broadband plans, including some with the very highly rated GigaCube wireless router, for both 4G and 5G. You can pick up both on 30-day deals with unlimited 5G data, or up to 300GB on 4G.

EE and O2 also offer mobile broadband, albeit with lower usage allowances or on longer deals. And don't forget that your phone also offers a tethering feature, where you can make it function as a wireless router. Just be careful that you've got a big enough data allowance, as you can burn through it pretty quickly and don't want to be hit with any excess charges.

To unwrap the best festive offers, check out the best mobile broadband deals available today.

TV

Parties might be off the agenda this Christmas, so we'll all be relying on boxsets, movies and Premier League football to keep ourselves entertained.

You can access Sky TV without a dish, installation or commitment through NOW TV. This streaming service lets you choose which bundle of channels you want through a range of TV Passes. Among the best offers are:

  • Entertainment Pass with NOW TV Boost gives you all the Sky entertainment channels including Sky One and Sky Atlantic, while the Boost add-on lets you watch in full HD on up to three TVs at the same time.
  • Cinema Pass with NOW TV Boost gives you over a thousand movies to watch on demand. You can also get Entertainment and Cinema in a single bundle.
  • Sky Sports Day Pass with Mobile Month Pass lets you watch Sky Sports for 24 hours for a one-off fee of £9.98. It's ideal if you want to enjoy specific football matches.
  • Sky Sports Month Pass with Boost gives you the full Sky Sports experience for a full month.
  • Kids Pass is the perfect way to keep the kids quiet, with ad-free shows. This no longer includes the Disney channels, though, which have switched over to Disney+.

All the monthly deals auto-renew, so make sure you cancel if you only want them for a month. You can cancel early so that you don't forget, and you'll still be able to watch until your month ends.

Better yet, the Entertainment and Cinema Passes come with a seven day free trial. If you haven't signed up before (or if you've got a different email address and payment card you can use), and you're feeling particularly sneaky, you can time your signup so that you get your free week over Christmas - and then cancel before you pay anything.

In fact, you can get a few nice Christmas treats by making good use of free trials on a few other streaming services. Amazon Prime offers 30 days, and Apple TV and BritBox both give you a free week.

Sadly, Netflix and Disney+ no longer do free trials. But you can spend around £15 in total for a month of the two, more than enough time to binge through the latest series' of The Crown and The Mandalorian while troughing the last of the Quality Street.

And if you're ready to upgrade your broadband in 2021, use our postcode checker to find the best Christmas and New Year broadband deals in your area today.

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Student broadband

Find the best student broadband deals for 2020

Posted on 2020-09-07 16:57 in Features Offers Three 4GEE BT John Lewis NOW Broadband Plusnet Virgin Media

Fast, reliable broadband is a must-have for any student house. And given that it can take a couple of weeks to set up, it's one of the first things you'll want to get sorted when you move in for the new term.

If you haven't signed up for your own broadband package before, we'll tackle some of the questions you might have here.

It's all pretty straightforward, but as a student you won't have quite as many options as everyone else. Contract length is absolutely vital - you don't want to be saddled with a long term deal that you have to keep paying for during the summer holidays or beyond.

And with all the corona-driven uncertainty this year, flexibility is more important than ever. Let's take a look at some of the things you need to know.

What speed do you need?

Your usage is probably going to be pretty high, so the fibre deals in the 60-67Mb average speed range should be your starting point.

You might get away with one of the slower fibre packages if there's only two people in your house, but in most cases the extra speed will be worth more than the fiver or so difference in price.

Faster is always better, of course, and you might be lucky enough to be living in an area where you can get speeds over 100Mb - and sometimes quite a lot more. These might come from the normal fibre providers like BT or Sky, from Virgin Media, or in 5G areas through the likes of EE and Three. Just make sure you keep an eye on the contract length and any setup fees for these faster deals.

What length contract should you get?

Short contracts are key for student broadband, so don't even consider those that need an 18 or 24 month commitment.

12 months is the longest you should go for, but even then you'll end up with quite an overlap with the summer break where you're still paying for your internet while you're hitting the beaches in Spain. Don't rule these out entirely, though, as they might still work out cheaper than a shorter option.

BT offer a few nine month deals that align much better with your term time. Some broadband suppliers, including NOW Broadband and Virgin Media, also offer 30-day rolling contracts that you can cancel at any time. These are best for zero-commitment broadband, but they do often come with significant setup fees. Be sure to factor that in when you're comparing prices.

Do you need any extras?

If Netflix isn't enough and you want a bit of sports action or some more of the latest US shows, you can save some money by adding a pay TV plan to you broadband deal. You won't be able to do this through Sky, as they only offer TV on an 18 month contract, but you can get 30-day deals on NOW TV streaming with NOW Broadband.

For any overseas students in your house, consider adding a call plan with support for cheap international calls.

Who pays the bill?

Even though you'll be splitting the bill with all your housemates, one of you is going to have put their name on the contract. It will be their responsibility. This is one of the reasons why you don't want to sign up to anything longer than 12 months, tops. You don't want to be stuck paying your broadband bill long after your housemates have moved on.

It's a good idea to assign each one of your utilities to a different person in your household so you share the risk. To help manage bills you can also look into setting up a shared bank account across the household, or take a look at apps like Splitwise that make it easier to see who owes what.

Best broadband deals for students

So, what student broadband deal should you choose?

BT offer three plans specifically for students. They're nine month deals, with speeds ranging from 36Mb to 67Mb. You can add a Sports or Entertainment TV package, as well as call plans including cheap international calls to 236 countries.

For one month contracts, you've got two main choices:

  • NOW Broadband - speeds range from a sedate 11Mb (don't bother!) to a much more suitable 63Mb, with the option to add streaming TV plans as well. All of them come with a £65 upfront fee.
  • Virgin Media - speeds on the 30-day plans range from around 54Mb all the way up to over 500Mb. Many setup fees have been waived on the 1 month rolling contracts that are specifically for students, but bear in mind that installation takes longer if your house hasn't had Virgin before.

Your other options are for 12 month contracts. When you add in the setup fees and slightly higher prices for short deals, these year-long plans may still end up being competitive, even though you'll still be paying in July and August when you don't need it. Among your best options here are:

  • John Lewis Broadband - speeds go up to an average 66Mb, with no activation fee, and usually include an e-gift card as a bonus.
  • Plusnet - speeds up to 66Mb, with just a £10 activation fee. You also get the option to add BT Sport - with Premier League and Champions League football - after you've signed up.

And there's one last thing to consider - broadband over 4G or 5G. This won't be right for everyone: 4G speeds are better for one or two users rather than a large, heavy-use household, and though 5G is blazing fast it still has very patchy coverage. If you're in the right part of London, Three's 5G Home Unlimited plans look good, and include a 12 month option. Find more great mobile broadband deals here.

Ready to start shopping for student broadband? Use our postcode checker to compare the best broadband deals available in your area today.

Comments

Three Mobile Broadband Buyers Guide - Is Three right for you?

Can I get Three mobile broadband?

Three's 4G network is available to virtually the whole of the UK, while their 5G coverage is expanding rapidly.

4G coverage extends to some 99.8% of the population, although in some areas you might find that the signal is far better outdoors than indoors. This is always an important consideration when choosing a mobile broadband service, so make sure you check the coverage in your area before you sign up.

Our Speed Test survey shows that Three achieve an average speed of around 24Mb. This is broadly in line with most of their rivals, as well as entry level fibre broadband services. 4G+ is available in some regions, which can deliver significantly faster speeds.

The 5G network has launched in 66 towns and cities with more to come over the next few years. Three claim they'll have the fastest network, as they've bought more 5G spectrum than the other providers. All their SIMs are 5G-ready, so you can access the faster network on a 4G plan for no extra cost, as long as you've got hardware that supports it.

Can I get 5G on Three?

Three's 5G network is available in 66 cities and large towns, with more expected to be added throughout 2020.

The 66 locations where you can get 5G from Three are Aberdeen, Abingdon-on-Thames, Aldershot, Aldridge, Balloch, Barrow-in-Furness, Basildon, Bath, Bedford, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Blackpool, Borehamwood, Bradford, Brighton, Brookmans Park, Cannock, Cardiff / Caerdydd, Chatham, Clayton-le-Woods, Coventry, Crawley, Cullingworth, Derby, Doncaster, Dundee, Glasgow, Gorebridge, Grays, Grimsby, Guildford, Heanor, Hedge End, Hemel Hempstead, Huddersfield, Inchinnan, Ipswich, Leeds, Leicester, Leyland, Liverpool, London, Lower Stondon, Luton, Maidstone, Manchester, Mansfield, Motherwell, Neston, Newquay, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Peterborough, Plymouth, Preston, Reading, Redcar, Royston, Sheffield, Slough, St Albans, Stevenage, Swadlincote, Swindon, Telford, Westhoughton, Wickford and Wigan.

The network is expected to reach more places in 2020. These are not yet confirmed, but may include Bolton, Derby, Edinburgh, Hull, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Rotherham and Wolverhampton.

What 5G mobile broadband deals are available?

Three offer one 5G broadband plan, designed specifically for home use as an alternative to a fibre deal. It's only available in London to begin with, and will roll out to other 5G areas in due course.

The Three 5G Home Unlimited plan comes with the Three 5G Hub. This Huawei-built device supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and allows you to connect up to 64 devices wirelessly at any one time. It also has a couple of Ethernet ports if you need a wired connection. The advertised download speed is an average of 100Mb, although your experience here will vary depending on how good the coverage is where you are - it may actually turn out to be faster!

There are two Three 5G Home Unlimited plans:

  • 24 months for £29 a month with no upfront fee
  • 12 months for £34 a month with no upfront fee

In both cases you get unlimited data. This compares well to other providers like EE and Vodafone, which put usage limits on most of their plans.

What other Three mobile broadband deals can I get?

If you aren't in the 5G area, Three have a range of other 4G home and mobile broadband plans to choose from.

For home broadband, you get the choice of two devices.

The first is the Huawei HomeFI Plus. This is a compact home Wi-Fi hub that lets you connect up to 64 devices at one time, as well as four more via a wired connection. It's available on three plans, all with unlimited data:

  • 24 months for £22 a month with no upfront fee
  • 12 months for £27 a month and £29 up front
  • 1 month rolling contract for £30 a month and £29 up front

The second is the Huawei AI Cube. This AC-rated wireless hub handles up to 64 connected devices, and also doubles up as a smart speaker. It's got built-in Alexa support from Amazon, and you can use it to voice-control any smart devices you've got in your home. It comes on two plans, both with unlimited data:

  • 24 months for £25 a month with no upfront cost
  • 12 months for £32 a month and £49 paid up front

In addition to that, Three have a mobile broadband router that you can choose if you need to use it when you're on the road. This device is the not so catchily named Huawei E5573bs-322 4G Mobile Wi-Fi, which is the size of a credit card and delivers four hours of battery life. You can get this on over 20 plans, ranging from unlimited data on a 24-month deal to up to 24GB on pay as you go. It isn't a home broadband replacement.

And then there are some SIM-only plans that you can use with your own hardware, with usage allowances of up to 100GB a month. There's tablet plans, too, which is a great way to save on a new iPad - or at least spread the cost over a longer period of time. The data options here give you up to 40GB on a 24 month contract, or 24GB on pay as you go, with upfront costs.

Should I choose 5G or 4G mobile broadband from Three?

Three are already a popular choice for home broadband services. Because they don't come with any data caps they are a true alternative to a fibre plan.

5G Home Unlimited is an excellent option. It's fast, it's affordable and it's unlimited. But it comes with one pretty big caveat - it's available hardly anywhere. Despite Three having launched 5G in 66 places, you can only get Home Unlimited in London. And even then the availability is not city wide. If you are in range, with good coverage, then it's worth considering.

If you're in an area with a weak signal you'll still get a service, but it will drop down to 4G speeds. You could take a punt on the service being upgraded during your contract period, or you could just save a little money by choosing a 4G option instead.

The 4G plans are also pretty attractive. They aren't that much more pricey than an equivalent fibre deal, but you do have to be willing to choose a very long contract (two years) to get the best value.

Broadband.co.uk