Three offers a choice of two 4G home broadband hubs: the Three 4G Hub and the Three 4G Hub with Alexa. We compare the two hubs.

If you’re joining Three’s 4G home broadband service in the UK, there’s a choice of two devices: the regular 4G Hub and the more expensive 4G Hub with Alexa.

At present, the regular 4G Hub starts from £20/month and focusses on providing one core function: being a powerful 4G home broadband router. The more expensive 4G Hub with Alexa starts from £23/month and is a two-in-one device incorporating a 360° Amazon Alexa smart speaker. You’ll also get a free Amazon Echo Dot included, giving you Alexa functionality in another room of your home at the same time.

In this article, we’ll compare the regular 4G Hub from Three to the more expensive 4G Hub with Alexa. We’ll start by looking at each of the 4G Hubs in detail before comparing them based on download speed, network connectivity, Alexa functionality and price.

4G Hubs

On Three Broadband, there’s currently a choice between two 4G hubs: the regular 4G Hub and the more expensive 4G Hub with Alexa.

Three 4G Hub

Three 4G HubAt present, the regular 4G Hub is the most popular 4G home broadband router on Three. It’s chosen by the majority of customers, both due to its lower price point and its superior network connectivity. You can currently get the 4G Hub at a discounted price of £20/month through this link, saving you £2/month against the regular price of £22/month.

Being a single-purpose device, the 4G Hub only needs to focus on doing one thing – being a powerful 4G home broadband router. It therefore supports Category 7 LTE speeds on Three’s network (up to 300Mbps download and up to 100Mbps upload). It also supports dual-band Wi-Fi 5 connectivity (802.11ac) on up to 64 devices at the same time.

You’ll get 4 Gigabit Ethernet sockets for connecting wired devices to your home network and two SMA sockets for attaching an external antenna if required. This is particularly helpful if you’re using the 4G Hub in rural areas with a weaker signal as it can help you to improve the speed and reliability of your connection.

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£17/month

Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data12 month contract£19£20/month

Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data1 month contract£49£30/month

See all Three 4G Hub Deals →

Behind the scenes, the regular 4G Hub is actually a rebranded version of the Huawei B535 (previously sold under the name of the Huawei HomeFi Plus or the Huawei B535 WebBox router).

Three 4G Hub with Alexa

Three 4G Hub with AlexaThe 4G Hub with Alexa is a two-in-one device that combines a 4G home broadband router with an Amazon Alexa smart speaker. This added functionality makes it possible for you to do things like playing music or making phone calls on your Hub. You can also use it to control other smart home devices that are compatible with Alexa. The 4G Hub with Alexa is available at a discounted price of £23/month through this link (a saving of £2 per month against the regular price of £25/month).

Being a two-in-one device, a few compromises have been made on the 4G Hub with Alexa. For instance, it’s a larger and more bulky device compared to the regular 4G Hub. This is somewhat required by the fact it has a 360° speaker and a 400ml built-in sound cavity. You do, however, get a nice cylindrical design with a fabric bottom that means the hub will blend in better in your living room.

In terms of connectivity, the 4G Hub with Alexa supports Category 6 LTE speeds on Three’s network (up to 300Mbps download and up to 50Mbps upload). It also supports dual-band Wi-Fi 5 connectivity (802.11ac) on up to 64 devices. It has just a single Gigabit Ethernet socket (versus 4 on the normal 4G Hub). It also lacks a SMA socket so you’re not able to attach an external antenna to it.

At present, you’ll get a free Amazon Echo Dot included when you buy the 4G Hub with Alexa. This works in conjunction with your hub to extend the Alexa smart home functionality into another room of your home.

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three 4G Hub with Alexa
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£23/month

Three 4G Hub with Alexa
Unlimited Data12 month contract£49£28/month

Three 4G Hub with Alexa
Unlimited Data1 month contract£149£32/month

See all 4G Hub with Alexa Deals →

Despite the name, Three’s 4G Hub with Alexa is actually a very different device to the regular 4G Hub. It’s a slightly older device (the 4G Hub with Alexa launched in March 2019, whereas the 4G Hub launched in August 2019).

The 4G Hub with Alexa is a rebranded version of the Huawei AI Cube B900. The free Amazon Echo Dot provided with it is a 3rd generation device (RRP of £39.99).

Comparison of Three 4G Hubs

Download Speeds

In theory, both the 4G Hub and the 4G Hub with Alexa support a maximum download speed of 300Mbps on Three’s 4G network.

In reality, the actual download speeds you get will depend on your location and the quality of the 4G signal. Three says their average download speed across the country  is about 14Mbps on 4G. However, this varies substantially by location (e.g. being a lot faster in areas with a good 4G signal).

Despite the fact that both 4G Hubs offer download speeds of up to 300Mbps, we’d recommend the regular 4G Hub in this area for three reasons:

  1. On the regular 4G Hub, you have more flexibility on where to place your Hub. The download speeds you get on your 4G home broadband service will vary depending on where you place your Hub. Normally, you’ll get the best performance placing your Hub close to a window that’s facing in the direction of your nearest mast (ideally, upstairs if possible). This means the optimum location for your 4G Hub might be in an upstairs bedroom instead of the living room. Because you’re not using it as a smart speaker, you have flexibility to put the 4G Hub in more places in your home.
  2. With the regular 4G Hub, you can attach an external antenna if required. In areas with a weak or marginal 4G signal, attaching an external 4G antenna can make a major difference to download speeds. This is only possible on the regular 4G Hub as it has 2 SMA connectors for an external antenna. The 4G Hub with Alexa doesn’t support external antennas.
  3. The regular 4G Hub supports faster upload speeds. The regular 4G Hub supports Category 7 LTE connectivity with upload speeds of up to 100Mbps. This compares to the Category 6 LTE connectivity on the 4G Hub with Alexa which only offers upload speeds of up to 50Mbps.

Winner: Three 4G Hub

Network Connectivity

Both the 4G Hub and 4G Hub with Alexa have support for dual-band Wi-Fi 5 connectivity (802.11a/b/g/n/ac). On both devices, you can connect up to 64 devices to your Wi-Fi network at the same time. They also both have support for Wi-Fi band steering and give you the option to set up a guest Wi-Fi network if required. For this reason, there’s actually very little difference between the two 4G Hubs in terms of Wi-Fi functionality.

One area where it’s beneficial to choose the regular 4G Hub is the fact you’ll get more Gigabit Ethernet sockets for connecting wired devices to your network. You’ll get 4 Gigabit Ethernet sockets on the regular 4G Hub, compared to only 1 on the 4G Hub with Alexa.

Winner: Three 4G Hub

Alexa Functionality

The stand-out feature of the 4G Hub with Alexa is the fact it also doubles up as an Amazon Alexa smart speaker. This means you can use it for things like listening to music, making internet-based calls, setting alarms and reminders, and controlling your other smart home devices. The device has four far-field microphones as well as a powerful 360° speaker with a 400ml sound cavity.

In addition to the built-in Amazon Alexa functionality, you’ll also get a free Amazon Echo Dot (3rd generation) included with the hub. The Echo Dot uses Wi-Fi to connect to your 4G Hub with Alexa and extends the Alexa smart speaker functionality into another room of your home.

In our view, the addition of Alexa functionality is a nice bonus on the 4G Hub with Alexa. However, you could also do it yourself by buying the regular 4G Hub and then buying a separate Amazon Echo Dot for around £40 online. Alternatively, there are a whole range of Alexa devices like the Echo Show and Echo Studio that can connect to the regular 4G Hub as well as the 4G Hub with Alexa.

Winner: Three 4G Hub with Alexa

Pricing

At present, you can get a special £2/month discount on both the 4G Hub and the 4G Hub with Alexa when ordering your 4G home broadband service through this link.

This means you can get the 4G Hub for £20/month (normally £22/month) and the 4G Hub with Alexa for £23/month (normally £25/month). Both of these are for unlimited data on a 24-month contract.

There’s no need to have a phone line for either 4G broadband hub, and free next-day delivery is also included on both hubs.

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£17/month

Three 4G Hub with Alexa
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£23/month

See all 4G Home Broadband deals →

If you want more flexibility, both the 4G Hub and 4G Hub with Alexa are also available on a shorter 12-month contract. You’ll need to pay a small upfront fee on the 12-month contract as well as an extra £3 to £5 per month.

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data12 month contract£19£20/month

Three 4G Hub with Alexa
Unlimited Data12 month contract£49£28/month

Finally, if you’re looking for ultimate flexibility, both devices are available on a 1-month rolling contract as follows:

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data1 month contract£49£30/month

Three 4G Hub with Alexa
Unlimited Data1 month contract£149£32/month

Typically, we’d recommend choosing the regular 4G Hub given the lower price point compared to the 4G Hub with Alexa.

Winner: Three 4G Hub

Technical Specifications

The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of the technical specifications on Three’s 4G Hub and 4G Hub with Alexa:

Three 4G Hub
(Huawei B535 HomeFi Plus)
Three 4G Hub with Alexa
(Huawei AI Cube B900)
Home Broadband Plans
Price:From £17/monthFrom £23/month
Data:UnlimitedUnlimited
Unlimited Data:£17/month£23/month
Contract Length:1-24 months1-24 months
Mobile Connectivity
4G Connectivity:Category 7 LTECategory 6 LTE
4G Download Speed:Up to 300 Mbit/s downloadUp to 300 Mbit/s download
4G Upload Speed:Up to 100 Mbit/s uploadUp to 50 Mbit/s upload
4G Bands:LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 28, 32 & 38LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 32 & 38
External Antenna:Yes, 2x SMA connectorsNo
Home Network Connectivity
Dual-Band Wi-Fi:YesYes
Wi-Fi Connectivity:802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Devices:Up to 64 devicesUp to 64 devices
Ethernet:4 Gigabit Ethernet ports1 Gigabit Ethernet port
Other
Model:Huawei B535 HomeFi PlusHuawei AI Cube B900
Colour:WhiteWhite
Other Features:-360° Alexa smart speaker. Free Amazon Echo Dot.
Review:Three 4G Hub ReviewThree 4G Hub with Alexa Review

Coverage & Availability

Three offers 99.8% population coverage across the UK, including 99.8% coverage on 4G and 98.7% coverage on 3G.

You can get the 4G Hub and 4G Hub with Alexa in selected parts of the UK where sufficient 4G coverage is available. The best way to see whether 4G broadband is available where you live is by entering your postcode on Three’s online coverage checker as follows:

Check Three Broadband Coverage (three.co.uk) →

In areas where 5G coverage is also available, you might be offered Three’s 5G home broadband instead of 4G home broadband. This will come with Three’s 5G Hub router.

For more information, please read our full review of the coverage on Three or see our in-depth Three Broadband review.

More Information

For more information about the 4G Hubs, please see the official Three Broadband website.

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