Three’s Pay As You Go offers free texts, 150MB internet, Skype, Windows Live

June 2nd, 2009

Three’s new pay as you go package could save you over £100 every year.

Red London Phone Boxes
Creative Commons License photo: markhillary

Wow. Three’s new Pay As You Go package really blows the competition out of the water. I’ve been with O2 for four years or so and I’ve pretty much advocated them as my best buy over the last few years as their Text Anytime package provides free texts which save a lot of money. But for anybody on Pay As You Go, I think Three’s new package is miles better.

For a £10 top-up, Three will give you*:

  • 600 free texts
  • 150MB internet
  • Free 3-to-3 calls
  • Free voicemail
  • Free Windows Live Messenger
  • Free unlimited Skype calls (available without a top up); doesn’t count towards your data allowance

Moreso, whilst O2 and Orange provide freebies, they only last for 30 days. On Three, the freebies last for 90 days.

Outside of your free allowance, it costs 10p to send a text; 20p a minute to make a call. The cost for a text is fairly “competitive” but if you regularly use your mobile phone regularly to make long phone calls, the costs could add up.

How much can you save?

Using myself as a case study: On an average month, I send ~150 texts and use about 1MB of data per month (to check email on the move). I very really make calls from my mobile.

the format:she doesn't get it
Creative Commons License photo: visualpanic

On a standard PAYG tariff, I’ll pay:

  • 150 texts x 10p per text = £15
  • 1MB data x £2 per MB = £2
  • Emergency calls at 25p per minute = £1
  • Total cost = £18 per month or £216 per year

On my previous favourite: the O2 Text Anytime tariff:

  • 150 texts per month; free every other month = £7.50 per month
  • 1MB of data at £2/MB; free every other month = £1 per month
  • Calls at 25p a minute = £1
  • Total cost = £9.50 per month or £114 per year

With Three’s new package, I can envision that my mobile telephony costs will go down to £40 per year. Topping up £10 every 3 months, the free allowances would more than cover everything that I use my phone for. The 150MB data allowance would also come in very handy, making more bandwidth-heavy applications such as Google Maps practical and cost-effective to use on the move. Free Skype could also be very useful.

Creative Commons License photo: elgarydaly

Unfortunately, my current phone (Sony Ericsson k750i) isn’t a 3G phone so can’t be used on the Three network – I’ll need a new handset. It looks like Three offer a really decent range of handsets on PAYG for around £70 and I can get roughly £15 for recycling my mobile phone.

  • Money saved on top ups = £176 per year
  • Money for recycling mobile phone = £15
  • Cost of buying new handset = £70
  • Total saving after 1 year: £121


I recommend that everybody who is currently on PAYG investigates Three’s new tariff.

  • Check you can recieve coverage from Three where you live and where you work. After all, you won’t save any money if your phone doesn’t actually work!
  • Is this the best package for you? Calculate how much you’ll save by switching from your current PAYG tariff.
  • Will a Three SIM work in your phone? If your handset is locked to a network or your phone doesn’t work on 3G, it probably won’t work – you might need a new one.

* I receive commission from 3 when you sign up using this link (and you receive £2 free credit). Non-referral link.


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About Ken

Ken Lo

I'm a freelance writer specialising in mobile technology. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005 with the aim of demystifying mobile technology for the rest of us.

Before writing about mobile technology, my background was in space & atmospheric physics. I have also worked in software development. Nowadays, I help companies to explain mobile technology to their customers. Please check out my portfolio or get in touch for more information. I'm also on Google+.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 15 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Inverse said:

    Your right to ask… this info is out of date and no longer applicable

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Yep, this page is being left as an archive for anyone who is still on the 3Pay tariff. If you're signing up now, you'll be on one of the "All in One" tariffs.


  2. Phil Richmond said:

    Do the SIMS supplied still give all the advantages that you mention ?
    The Free 3 to 3 calls seem to have vanished on more recent SIMs.
    Do they still only need topping up every 90 days ?


  3. christy said:

    can i get free texts to aany network on 3

  4. hii said:

    ken, how do you keep ur same number?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:


      See this article on PAC codes for more information.


  5. LOL:P:P said:

    hey do you get to keep your same number with this sim card? Or do you have to have a new mobile number?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi there,

      You need to ask your current network for a PAC code.


  6. Sabb said:

    Thanks =D

  7. Sabb said:

    just looking back at my comment, gosh the amount of spelling mistakes! =O

  8. Sabb said:

    Hey, just wondering, are teh 600 text free to any network or is it just 3?
    please could youreply to my email as i will forget to check this again lol.
    Thanks =]

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Sabb,

      Free texts are to any network.


  9. Jonny said:

    Hi there, I am transferring to 3 on monday from tmobile. I like skype, I have a sont ericsson w850i is it possible to use skype on it? for free? Seeing as 3mobile have said its free. I have the java skype lite installed and it keeps saying signed in. Its a new sim too, so will it charge me to use skype or do i have to buy a phone with intergrated skype. Thanks

  10. alveena said:

    i need help getting free internet on my phone for free can you do this for me thnks you

  11. Tim said:

    Thanks Ken. I was tossing up between o2 and Three and you’ve just helped me make my decision. I just hope that Skype to Skype works well on my non-Three handset.

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