Three now offering Essential and Advanced Price Plans: Review & Comparison

July 19th, 2016

Three is now offering ‘Essential’ and ‘Advanced’ price plans on a Pay Monthly contract. The lower-cost Essential plans come without Feel At Home roaming, personal hotspot and free calls to customer service.

ThreeThree has launched a new range of ‘Essential’ price plans. Described as a low-cost no-frills tariff, Three says the new Essential contracts are designed for customers who aren’t “always on holiday, using their phone as a hotspot or constantly calling customer services”. Their existing line-up of tariffs with inclusive Feel At Home roaming, personal hotspot and calls to customer service has now been renamed to an ‘Advanced’ price plan.

In this article, we’ll review the new Essential price plans and we’ll see how it compares to the Advanced price plans currently offered by Three. We’ll also discuss the range of add-ons available for Three’s Essential price plans.

Essential VS Advanced Plans

As of July 2016, Three has split their Pay Monthly line-up into two types of plan.

Their new lower-cost plans are called ‘Essential’ price plans and they start from £6/month on a SIM-only deal. The new Essential price plans come without Feel At Home roaming, inclusive personal hotspot and unlimited free calls to customer service (however, you can still use your inclusive minutes for the latter).

The existing line-up of price plans is now referred to as an ‘Advanced’ price plan. Advanced plans start from £8/month on a SIM-only deal and include Feel At Home roaming, personal hotspot and free calls to customer service.

Essential Plan Advanced Plan
Feel At Home (free international roaming) No Yes, in 18 countries
Tethering & personal hotspot No, requires a £5/month add-on Yes, using your data allowance
Free calls to customer service (333) No, uses your inclusive minutes Yes
Monthly price (12-month SIM) From £6/month From £8/month
Monthly price (1-month SIM) From £9/month From £11/month

On the Essential price plan, your phone calls to customer service on 333 will come out of the inclusive minutes on your plan. For most people, this shouldn’t make a major difference as long as you have a sufficient number of minutes on your plan. If you’ve run out of minutes, you’ll pay the normal out-of-allowance rate of 35p/minute.

International Roaming

Three Feel At Home - Jackson

Feel at Home is only included on Advanced price plans.

Three has a Feel At Home offer allowing customers to use their smartphone abroad at no extra charge. The offer covers 18 countries including Spain, the USA, Italy, France, Australia and the Republic of Ireland.

If you choose an Essential price plan, you won’t have access to the Feel At Home offer. Instead, you’ll need to pay Three’s international roaming rates:

  • Within the EU: 3.9p/minute to make a phone call, 0.9p/minute to receive a phone call, 1.6p to send a text message and 3.9p/MB to use data on your phone.
  • Outside the EU: This can vary greatly so you’re advised to double-check. Can be up to £3/minute, 50p/text and £6/MB.

On the 15th July 2017, all UK mobile networks will be legally obliged to scrap roaming charges for travel in the EU. This means customers on an Essential price plan will need to wait until July 2017 for EU roaming charges to be removed.

If you choose an Advanced price plan, the Feel At Home offer is included in your tariff. This already gives you free international roaming in 10 EU countries as well as 8 non-EU countries. It’s believed further countries will be added soon to the Feel At Home offer.

For more information, please see our full review of the Feel At Home offer.

Tethering & Personal Hotspot

Personal Hotspot on iPhone

Tethering is only included on Advanced price plans. You can add it to an Essential plan from £5/month.

Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with another device (e.g. with your laptop or tablet).

On the new Essential price plans, the use of tethering is not included in your tariff. If you’d like to tether from your smartphone when using an Essential price plan, you’ll need to buy a personal hotspot add-on. These add-ons start from £5/month for a 1GB personal hotspot allowance:

Tethering Allowance Monthly Cost
1GB £5/month
3GB £7/month
6GB £8/month

You can buy a personal hotspot add-on by logging in to your My3 account or by calling Three Customer Services on 333. Depending on how often you’d like to tether from your plan, it may be better value to upgrade to an Advanced price plan instead.

On Advanced price plans, tethering is included in your plan at no extra charge. Your tethering or personal hotspot usage will simply come out of your inclusive data allowance (there’s a limit of 30GB per month for customers with an all-you-can-eat data plan).

For more information, please see our article on the UK’s best value tariffs for tethering.

Keeping Your Phone Number

Transfer Phone Number to Three

It’s a straightforward process to transfer your phone number to Three.

If you’re joining Three as a new customer, it’s a straightforward process to keep your current phone number.

You should start by asking your current mobile network to provide you with a PAC Code. You can then order your new phone or SIM card from Three’s website.

When the new phone or SIM card arrives, you’ll need to fill out this form on Three’s website. After you submit your PAC Code, Three will schedule the transfer of your phone number (normally for the next working day). In the meantime, you’ll continue receiving a service from your old network.

For step-by-step instructions on transferring a phone number to Three, please select your current mobile network:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to Three

Your current network provider:

  More Options

For more information on transferring your phone number between networks, please see our guide to using a PAC Code.

More Information

For more information, please see the Three website. You can find full details of both the Essential and Advanced price plans on the Three Price Guide.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

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