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
£12.00 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

2.8 stars
  satisfaction rating based on 486 customer ratings since 2021-01-28. See more Three Mobile customer ratings and reviews.

Details last checked on 2021-11-29

SIM Only

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

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Short Contract

1 month contracts available from £13 with 2GB usage

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4G

Take advantage of 4G from Three on many deals

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Personal WiFi

MiFi deals from £12 a month, upfront cost varies with plan

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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 £24 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 2021-11-29

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
    2.8 stars
  • Customer Service
    2.9 stars
  • Speed
    2.7 stars
  • Reliability
    2.7 stars

Based on 486 customer ratings since 2021-01-28

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
It's just a bit sad.

I’ve been with three for over a decade, I have 3 phone contracts with them for each of my family members.

Their prices are great for both sim only and monthly phone deals. My husband is on sim only and his price reduces every year. My daughter gets the latest iPhone every 2 years, at the lowest price.

The customer service is great, very helpful, not a long wait, and quite friendly.

But even with all that, they have a huge problem. THEIR NETWORK.

I never get signal anywhere. I don’t live in anywhere remote, I live in a the suburbs of London. But god in some places in my town, I get terrible no signal at all. Zero bars. People call me and can’t get to me.

When I’m out with friends their networks seems to work just fine, and they’re all using different networks, vodaphone, EE, GiffGaff. It’s always just Three.

The internet is also quite unreliable. My phone is suppose to be 4G internet connection but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced 4G, I barely get 3G.

I got a few messages in the last few years saying that they’re improving the network in my area but I’ve not seen any change. At all.

They’ve also removed the Three benefit of using my data abroad. That I’m sure they don’t have full control over but it was a huge reason I stayed with three all these years despite the network issues.

Anyway,

If you’re looking for a good honest, cheapest on the market, affordable network with good customer service and you’re not fussed about internet speed. Three is for you.

If you at all rely on data outside then stay away for your own good.
  • Satisfaction
    2 stars
  • Customer Service
    4 stars
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
South-West London Three Mobile  
We were promised download speeds of 200+mbps. Our actual speeds have been peaking at 2mbps on a good day. A few months ago customer service told us that there was maintenance under way that would "definitely" be fixed by the 24th of December. That date has come and gone and if anything our speeds are worse now. We followed it up on Twitter and were told the works would now be finished next June at the earliest! Absolute joke. When we signed up for the contract we were told connections in our area were great and there was no mention whatsoever of any maintenance works that would make it borderline unusable for the first 12+ months. Now we're stuck with this lousy rip-off excuse for an internet connection for another year as we can't afford the cancellation fee. Please, PLEASE do not make our mistake.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    2 stars
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    3 stars
Manchester Three Mobile  
Had it for 8 months, generally reliable with around 30 to 45 average mbs download, and I am on the edge of the city in semi rural area. Has lost Internet twice in 8 months for about 12 hours each time, but 98% of the time it's fine. Plug and play, better than slow old phone broadband that only gave 2mbs here.
  • Satisfaction
    4 stars
  • Customer Service
    3 stars
  • Speed
    4 stars
  • Reliability
    4 stars
Sheffield Three Mobile  
Absolutely terrible service. Its been working fine for 2-3 months then my crazy super fast 5G mobile internet get dead slow. Thanks to this amazing £18 a month deal I never know If I’ll be able to watch netflix after work. I can’t wait to the end of my contract in june... Thanks Three!
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    2 stars
  • Reliability
    1 star
Manchester Three Mobile  
If only you could give minus stars… been with 3 network for years with mobile phone so decided to get mobile broadband with them as well 2 years ago, ok for about 8 months then problem after problem, just finished my 2 year total rip-off contract with them, absolutely disgusting they take your money and don’t supply the service they promise, then your on the phone trying to discuss the ongoing issues time after time to people in god only knows what country who can’t understand what your saying. Stay away, that’s my advice
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Herne Bay Three Mobile  
Having been a three customer for several years I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good: when it works it works. That said, it works where there is no major demand in a given area such as some towns / suburban areas. Have been using one of these contacts in the TN38 Hastings area (4G) and it works well for the type of use, with speeds of around 6-17 mbps down. Similarly in the TQ2 Torquay area the service works well with similar speeds to the above.

The bad: London... Most of the areas I've tried it, it has failed or offered poor and unusable performance. SE14: 0.2mbps down 10% of the time, no throughput 90% of the time. NW1 : 0.6mbps down. WC1N: 0.9mbps down.

These speeds simply don't constitute an acceptable level of service in my opinion.

The ugly: customer Service... They simply do not know what they are talking about. The speak the language of upgrades and maintenance as the issue and reasons for the slow or unusable service, coming up with a variety of poorly scripted excuses, looking past the fact that it's been going on for years. Then in the next breath they are trying to get you to upgrade to 5G for another two years to solve the problem... Really? I'm sorry but I am not convinced.
I've switched to Vodafone and EE at a far higher cost in the problem areas and the service has been rock solid so far, particularly on Vodafone 4G.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    2 stars
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
London Three Mobile  
No internet for a majority of the time; service is getting progressively worse as I assume we get further throttled
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    3 stars
  • Speed
    3 stars
  • Reliability
    1 star
Reading Three Mobile  
I've been with 3 for 8 mainly trouble free years, until this year..."Upgrading" work was done on my local mast and now my service is ****... Download as slow as 0.8mbps, upload at 0.03 mbps...easier to put a hysterical emoji and a turd than post those figures. Absolute piss take. To be fair though, the Live Chat handlers are always courteous and try to be helpful, but aren't...
Do yourself a favour and give them a very, very, very wide berth
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    2 stars
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Gwynedd Three Mobile  
It does the job for watching YouTube, Netflix etc. Can struggle with online games like GTA, I've had speeds between 5.5 & 35 mbps it doesn't have a reliable average speed. All in all it's OK.
  • Satisfaction
    4 stars
  • Customer Service
    4 stars
  • Speed
    3 stars
  • Reliability
    4 stars
West Yorkshire Three Mobile  
I have read all the reviews below and felt disappointed by many of them. I ordered the dongle mobile WiFi for use in my camper van. I think I have had it for nearly a month now. As a test I shut down my Virgin set and used purely the dongle for TV my wife and my internet use, and I have used it for heavy work. A couple of t8mes during the England vs Scotland match we had a bit of spinning circle in the middle of the TV. I have calculated we use approx 2gb or is it 2mb download per day. This is normal everyday usage for us. So we have had no problems. Speed was brilliant. No internet delays. I would say at times it was better performance than our Virgin contract at £64 per month. I opted for the £12 per month for 10 wotsits per month. Now we have tested the network etc we are fast running out of the gb or mb so I have had to go back to our virgin setup. I want to upgrade and go up two levels of down load package with the dongle now so we can be 100% on the dongle. I will save money without a doubt for what use we want from the internet. There must be technical or end user reasons why people are having problems, we had NONE. I have not had to use the support service that’s why I could not put any stars against them. I would highly recommend this product/service. If people had problems and I did not then the company has listened to the gripes from feedback and sorted them out before we brought into I it.
  • Satisfaction
    5 stars
  • Speed
    5 stars
  • Reliability
    5 stars
Waterlooville Portsmouth 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.

iPad by the pool

How to get Wi-Fi when you're on holiday

Posted by Andy Betts on in FeaturesO2VodafoneVirgin MobileEE MobileThree

Hopefully, holidays are back on the agenda this summer. And do we need them. But whether you're planning a staycation, or have decided to venture abroad, you'll also need Wi-Fi, so you can get local information, stay in touch with the rest of the world, and keep yourself entertained as you travel.

Fortunately, you've got a number of options, and they won't cost you a fortune to use them. Let's take a look at the cheapest ways to get Wi-Fi when you're holiday at home or abroad.

Hotel Wi-Fi

The best way to get Wi-Fi when you're abroad is likely to be through your hotel. Most have it these days, and many hotels and hotel chains offer it for free, sometimes with the option to upgrade to a faster service.

But you may need to take a precaution.

The rule when it comes to any public Wi-Fi service is that a password protected connection is better than something that's fully open, but that's still no guarantee that it's completely secure. This applies equally to your Airbnb rental or airport Wi-Fi as it does to hotels.

You don't need to worry about this if you're only doing some casual browsing. But if you're planning to log in to sensitive sites like your bank account, then you should set up and install a VPN first. This ensures your connection and data are fully encrypted. Alternatively, you could just use your phone and its data connection for these tasks, so that you bypass the Wi-Fi altogether.

Hotel Wi-Fi can vary quite a lot in terms of performance. Some may or may not be very good, and you might find that some bandwidth-heavy services like Netflix are blocked. If you have the chance to upgrade to a faster service then that would be the best way to use these types of sites, but keep in mind that you'll likely be paying for 24 hours of access, so the fees could rack up over the course of your stay.

Mobile broadband

Another good option for getting Wi-Fi at home or abroad is through a mobile broadband service from providers like Virgin Mobile, EE, O2, Vodafone and Three.

These use the 4G or 5G phone network to give you internet access through a personal mobile router to which you can connect all your devices. You can also use it with a dongle connected to your laptop, or on a SIM-enabled iPad, although both of these options make it a little harder to share your connection with your other gadgets.

Mobile providers haven't reintroduced roaming charges post-Brexit, so you can use your mobile broadband allowance in many other countries. You should check where before your sign up - coverage is mostly for EU countries, so if you're heading further afield the price may be prohibitively expensive.

Even within the EU you might have fair usage limitations placed on some packages. And, of course, you'll be reliant on mobile coverage wherever you are. Head off for a city break and you'll be fine; go camping in the countryside and you might want to check the coverage maps for the area first.

Staying in the UK? You can use our Signalchecker service to check mobile phone coverage throughout the country.

Your phone's plan

Don't forget also that iPhones and Android phones can be set up as wireless hotspots, enabling you to get your laptop or tablet online wherever you are.

You'll find the option in Settings > Personal Hotspot on most iPhones, and on most Android phones you'll find it by swiping down twice from the top of the screen to open the Quick Settings panel, then tapping the Hotspot or Mobile Hotspot option.

Using your phone as a hotspot works in the same way as a separate mobile broadband plan, and can be a good option if you've got a decent data allowance. You'll get the same coverage without roaming charges across the EU, but will have to pay a lot more elsewhere. In either case, keep an eye on your data use. You'll have to buy top-ups in advance if you overshoot what your plan allows.

There may be other restrictions, too. If you've got an unlimited plan, check that it allows for tethering (connecting devices via the hotspot feature), and note that there may be a fair use policy in place.

Any one of these methods, or a combination, could be right for you. If you decide that you want the security and flexibility of a personal Wi-Fi system, check out the best mobile broadband deals available right now.

Comments

Man relaxing with a laptop

How to find the best broadband for light use

Posted by Andy Betts on in FeaturesVodafoneHyperopticJohn LewisTalkTalkPlusnetEECommunity FibreNOW BroadbandOnestreamThree

You know how it goes. Whenever you start shopping for a new broadband deal, you find yourself being steered towards the faster, flashier and more expensive services.

The thing is, not everyone needs an upgrade. Some of us are happy with what we've already got, and some don't even need that.

If you don't have a house full of kids who are all online 24/7, or if you live on your own, or are part of the generation that's less computer-reliant, then you may be able to get away with a much more basic broadband service. It could even save you some money in the process.

Let's take a look at your options.

How light is light use?

First of all, you need to work out how much you actually use the internet, to make sure your usage is as low as you think it is.

If your usage is mostly things like web browsing, shopping and bill paying then that's definitely light use. TV streaming counts as well, so long as there's only one person in your house doing it at any given time, and that you don't want to watch in the highest quality on your massive 4K TV.

But there are lots of other things as well that you don't tend to think about: Windows updates on your laptop that happen in the background, downloading movies and TV shows to your Sky Q box, playing games, and sharing large files for work. And all those other little devices you've got connected to your Wi-Fi. Some of them won't be downloading much, but it all adds up.

Chances are that you do use more bandwidth than you realise, so do make sure that you buy a broadband service that's right for your needs.

Broadband for light use

The slowest broadband you can get is standard broadband. This is the old pre-fibre service that runs entirely on the copper phone network. It offers average speeds of around 11Mb, which is enough for general web use or for one person to watch Netflix in HD.

Standard broadband is old tech and is set to be phased out in a few years, but you can still get it right now. It doesn't offer huge savings - standard broadband will typically save you a couple of pounds a month, but over the course of a year they do amount to the cheapest deals you can get.

Take a look at NOW Broadband, Plusnet and John Lewis for the cheapest standard broadband packages, with prices under £20 a month.

If you don't want to go quite that slow, the most basic fibre deal you can get is from Onestream. Their 17Mb service is the cheapest widely available fibre broadband package.

Most suppliers' entry-level fibre offers more than double that speed, at around 36Mb. Almost every broadband company has a deal at this level, so there's bags of competition on price and service. TalkTalk, Vodafone and EE all have deals around the same price point for the same speed services.

36Mb is ideal for light use - it's affordable but not too restrictive. It can handle many people online at the same, with even two or three streaming movies simultaneously, so has plenty of headroom for when you have guests round.

You could also consider some specialist providers. Hyperoptic and Community Fibre have great value full fibre packages - at 30Mb and 50Mb respectively - but they're both available in only very limited areas. Or you could go for a mobile broadband deal, running on the 4G network (or 5G in some areas), such as the 18Mb plan from Three.

You don't always have to buy the best or fastest broadband deal around. Pick what you need, and if you only need something basic then you've got plenty of choices.

Ready to start shopping for a new broadband deal? Just enter your postcode into our postcode checker and you'll be able to see exactly what offers are available in your street right now.

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