Three 321 Pay As You Go Review: 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB Rates
February 8th, 2017
Three charges 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB on Pay As You Go, with optional All in One bundles available from £10/month.
In the UK, Three charges just 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB on Pay As You Go. With there also being 150MB of free data each time you top-up, this makes Three one of the best value mobile networks for Pay As You Go usage.
Three’s 321 tariff is particularly suited for light and occasional mobile users as the top-up doesn’t expire providing your SIM card remains active. For regular mobile users, optional All in One bundles are available from £10/month and roaming at no extra charge through the Feel At Home offer is also available.
In this article, we’ll review Three’s 321 Pay As You Go tariff. We’ll start by looking at the features of the tariff and how it compares to Pay As You Go offerings on other mobile networks. We’ll also look at handset availability, at the level of coverage you can expect and how you can keep your existing phone number when moving to Three.
- 1 Pricing & Tariffs
- 2 Comparison to Alternatives
- 3 Handsets
- 4 Coverage
- 5 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 6 More Information
Pricing & Tariffs
Pay As You Go Pricing
In the UK, Three has some of the lowest Pay As You Go rates of any mobile network. On their 321 tariff, phone calls cost 3p/minute, text messages cost 2p each and mobile internet costs 1p/MB. Additionally, with every top-up of £5 or more, you’ll get 150MB of free data (lasting for up to 30 days).
The following table shows a list of Three’s standard rates on Pay As You Go:
|Voice Calls||3p/minute (any network, any time)|
|Calls to Voicemail||3p/minute|
|Calls to Special Rate Numbers||45p/minute access charge
+ service charge from the company you’re calling
|Text Message (SMS)||2p|
|Picture Message (MMS)||40p|
|Free Allowance||150MB with every top-up (valid for 30 days)|
The prices in this table are stated for UK-to-UK only. If you’re roaming or making international calls, higher charges will normally apply. Source for pricing information: three.co.uk.
On Three, your Pay As You Go credit will never expire providing you keep your SIM card active. You can make sure your SIM card remains active by using it for a chargeable activity at least once every six months.
150MB Free Allowance
A unique benefit of Three’s 321 tariff is the 150MB of free data each time you top-up. The free data allowance lasts for up to 30 days and is added to your account each time you top-up your handset.
All in One Bundles
For customers with significant usage, buying an All in One bundle can save you money compared to paying the normal 321 rates. A bundle will give you a certain allowance of minutes, texts and internet which can be used at any time over the next 30 days.
For instance, the £10 All in One bundle comes with 100 minutes, 3000 texts and 1GB of internet. This would cost £73 at normal 321 rates but is available for just £10 on an All in One bundle.
The following table shows All in One bundles currently available from Three:
The disadvantage of buying an All in One bundle is your allowances will only last for up to 30 days. Any unused allowances will then expire along with the bundle (for this reason, light users should remain on standard 321 rates).
Feel At Home
Customers on Three Pay As You Go can benefit from the ongoing Feel At Home offer. This gives you international roaming in 42 countries at no extra charge, including in most of Europe, the USA and Australia.
This makes Three a great choice if you occasionally travel abroad to other countries. You can use the SIM card to stay in touch with friends and family, and you can continue using your favourite applications like social media, instant messaging and maps.
To take advantage of the Feel At Home offer, you’ll need to have an inclusive allowance that you’re able to use when abroad. In practical terms, this means you’ll need to buy an All in One bundle (the allowances in that bundle can then be used when you’re abroad at no extra charge).
The normal UK out-of-allowance rates (3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB) cannot be used when you’re travelling abroad. Instead, you’ll need to pay the out-of-allowance rates appropriate to that country.
Comparison to Alternatives
We believe Three’s 321 Pay As You Go offering is a great value tariff if you’re a light or occasional mobile user. Three has super-low Pay As You Go rates, and you also get 150MB of free data each time you top-up.
Pay As You Go Pricing
Three’s Pay As You Go pricing is among the lowest in the industry at just 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB. It provides a great value way of using your smartphone, without the need to top-up every month or to buy 30-day bundles.
In the following table, we compare Three’s Pay As You Go rates against rival mobile networks:
|Network||Calls (per minute)||Texts (per SMS)||Data (per MB)|
|Three||3p/minute||2p/text||1p/MB (150MB free with top-up)|
|Vodafone||30p/minute||14p/text||£2/day for 50MB|
For more information, please see our full comparison of Pay As You Go rates.
£10 per month bundles
For £10/month, Three offers the All-in-One 10 bundle with 100 minutes, 3000 texts and 1GB of internet.
For the same price of £10/month, better value bundles are available on other mobile networks.
Alternatively, giffgaff has a £10 goodybag with 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB of internet (giffgaff makes use of coverage from O2).
£15 per month bundles
Unfortunately, Three doesn’t currently offer a £15 Pay As You Go bundle. For customers wanting more than the 1GB of data included the £10 bundle, the next available option will be the £20 bundle with 12GB of data. If this is likely to be overkill for your usage, getting a £15 bundle from rival mobile networks could be a good half-way house.
At present, giffgaff offers 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 4GB of data for £15/month. Alternatively, ASDA Mobile also has a competitive offering with 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 3GB of data for £15.
£20 per month bundles
Three has a £20/month All-in-One bundle with 300 minutes, 3000 texts and 12GB of internet.
For the same monthly price, giffgaff offers a £20 goodybag with 2000 minutes, unlimited texts and always-on data. This gives you unlimited downloads with 4G internet and tethering on the first 6GB per month.
For a more detailed comparison, please see our in-depth article on Pay As You Go bundles.
If you’d like to keep your existing smartphone, you may find it useful to see our guides on unlocking an iPhone and unlocking a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. The SIM card from Three will work in any unlocked handset, providing it supports either 3G or 4G coverage.
If you’d like to purchase a brand new smartphone, you can buy an unlocked handset from any online retailer (our recommendation is currently to buy a Moto G). A range of Pay As You Go handsets can also be purchased directly from Three, which can save you the hassle of having to buy your handset elsewhere.
3G & 4G Coverage
In the UK, Three offers 97% population coverage on 3G and 4G.
Before joining Three on their 321 Pay As You Go service, we strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on Three’s online coverage map.
Unfortunately, Three does not provide any 2G coverage. For this reason, if you’re using a 2G-only handset, you won’t be able to receive any coverage from Three. Instead, you should consider an alternative network that also provides 2G coverage. At present, our recommendation is ASDA Mobile (they charge 8p/minute and 4p/text, and have 99% population coverage from EE).
For more information about the coverage on different mobile networks, please see our in-depth guide to mobile phone coverage in the UK.
Tethering & Personal Hotspot
Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with other devices (for instance, with your laptop or tablet).
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to tether on Three Pay As You Go. This is stated in their Pay As You Go terms and conditions:
Use your SIM in your 3G smartphone only.
When using data, tethering a phone to a laptop for internet use, using the SIM in a Mobile Broadband Device or using hotspot functionality is not included.
If you’d like to tether or use personal hotspot on Three, you’ll need a Pay Monthly Advanced price plan. Alternatively, you can choose another Pay As You Go network that does allow you to tether from your smartphone. For more information, see our full guide to tethering on UK mobile networks.
On Three, international roaming is enabled automatically for all customers on Pay As You Go.
For customers visiting one of 42 countries (including most of Europe, the USA and Australia), it’s possible to use your SIM card abroad at no extra cost through the Feel At Home offer. To qualify, you’ll need an All-in-One bundle which will give you allowances available to be used when abroad. For more information, you can find out about international coverage on the Feel At Home offer.
If you’re visiting a country that’s not covered by the Feel At Home offer, additional charges may apply for your usage when abroad. Please see the Three website for full details about their international coverage.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’re joining Three Pay As You Go from another mobile network, it’s a straightforward process to keep your existing number.
Once you’ve ordered your Pay As You Go SIM card from Three, you should contact your old mobile network to ask for a PAC Code. This will authorise the transfer of your phone number to Three. Your old mobile network must provide a PAC Code free of charge within two hours of your request.
When your new SIM card arrives from Three, you can fill out this form on Three’s website. After you submit your PAC Code, your phone number transfer will be scheduled by Three, normally for the next working day.
For step-by-step instructions on transferring a phone number to Three, please select your current mobile network from the drop-down menu below:
|PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to Three|
For more information about transferring a phone number between mobile networks, please see our guide to using a PAC Code.
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.