Three offers unlimited data from £16 per month with 5G coverage, roaming and personal hotspot.

ThreeIn the UK, Three offers unlimited data plans starting from £16 per month with access to 5G at no extra cost. The unlimited data plans also include roaming at no extra cost in 71 destinations and personal hotspot so you can share your unlimited data with other devices. The plans are sometimes also referred to as all-you-can-eat data plans.

At present, you can get an unlimited data SIM card from Three with prices starting from £16 per month. You can also get unlimited data on a Pay Monthly phone contract, on mobile broadband and on Three’s home broadband service.

In this article, we’ll review unlimited data on Three in the UK. We’ll start by looking at the features of Three’s unlimited data price plan and at the multiple ways you’re able to get access to it. We’ll then look at how it compares to unlimited data on other mobile networks, before looking at the coverage you can expect on the service. Finally, we’ll look at how you can keep your existing phone number when moving from another mobile network to Three.

Unlimited Data on Three

All-You-Can-Eat Data With No Limits

In the UK, Three has a long history of offering unlimited data on their mobile phone SIM cards and price plans. Since 2010, the company has offered all-you-can-eat data, which refers to unlimited data with no hidden limits or fair usage policies.

Since 2019, Three has stopped using the all-you-can-eat branding and now simply refers to their price plans having unlimited data. As before, there are still no fair usage limits or speed restrictions for using too much data on Three’s unlimited data plan.

Nowadays, you can get unlimited data on a SIM card from Three for £16 per month. Alternatively, a range of Pay Monthly phones are available along with mobile broadband dongles and 4G & 5G home broadband plans.

4G & 5G Download Speeds

All of Three’s unlimited data SIM cards are 5G ready, so you can access Three’s 5G network at no extra cost if you have a 5G-ready device.

If you’re using Three’s 5G service, you can get download speeds of up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps). Download speeds will normally be in the region of 150-250Mbps on 5G, with coverage currently available in more than 60 UK towns and cities.

If you’re using Three’s 4G network, it’s possible to get up to Category 6 LTE speeds (up to 300Mbps download). Download speeds can vary substantially depending on location but are typically in the region of 20-30Mbps.

Three doesn’t apply any speed limits to their unlimited data plan. This is in contrast to some other mobile networks like Vodafone which have different tiers of unlimited data depending on the download speed you want. Many other mobile networks with an unlimited data plan are also restricted to 4G download speeds.

Fair Usage Policy

There are no fair usage limits for unlimited data usage inside the UK. This is confirmed in the FAQs on Three’s website. The main thing is to make sure your unlimited data isn’t being used for commercial, resale or fraudulent purposes:

There’s no hidden caps or limits when you use Unlimited in the UK. You’ll get all the access to the internet you’d normally need, without hefty bills. So you can binge to your heart’s content. But use of our services for commercial, resale or fraudulent purposes isn’t allowed. You can read more about this in our Terms for Three Services.

Prior to September 2019, Three had a 1,000GB per month threshold which was used to identify non-permitted commercial usage of their service. As of October 2019, this 1,000GB threshold is no longer being used, with Three confirming there are no data caps for users of their service.

If you’re travelling abroad outside the UK, a fair usage policy will apply for usage of your service. This is 20GB per month when you’re travelling inside Europe and 12GB per month when you’re travelling outside Europe. Data speeds may also be slower when you’re abroad unless you have a Data Passport add-on. For more information, see our guide to Go Roam on Three.

Relationship to Go Binge

Between the 24th April 2018 and the 30th September 2020, Three offered a feature called Go Binge on Pay Monthly plans with at least 12GB of data. This gave you unlimited data for use on Netflix, TV Player, Snapchat, Soundcloud, Deezer and Apple Music. You then received a general data allowance for use on everything else.

Go Binge is no longer available to new or upgrading customers. However, you can still choose an unlimited data plan which gives you much more flexibility. This is because you can use your unlimited data allowance on any service you like, including things like BBC iPlayer, YouTube, NOW TV, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Google Play and Spotify (these services are not covered by Go Binge).

Three Unlimited Data Plans

You can get unlimited data on a range of price plans from Three including Pay Monthly SIM cards, Pay Monthly phones, mobile broadband and home broadband plans.

In the following section, we’ll look at each option in more depth.

Pay Monthly SIM

The easiest and cheapest way to get unlimited data on Three is by getting an unlimited data SIM card from £16 per month. You’ll get a SIM card that slots into your existing unlocked smartphone, allowing you to benefit from unlimited data, 5G at no extra cost, inclusive roaming and personal hotspot.

12 months
6 months half price
24 months
1 month

For more information, see our guide to Three’s SIM only deals.

Pay Monthly Phones

If you’d like a new mobile phone to go with your unlimited data plan, you can choose from a range of a Pay Monthly phones. Three sells a range of handsets from manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, OnePlus, Nokia, Huawei and Xiaomi. You’ll get a new device with unlimited data on a 24-month contract.

For a list of available handsets, price plans and deals, please see the Three website. You can also see a list of their 5G-ready phones.

Mobile Broadband

On Three, you can get mobile broadband with unlimited data on the Huawei 4G+ MiFi hotspot (Huawei E5783B). This allows you to get up to 16 devices connected to the internet with Category 7 LTE download speeds of up to 300Mbps.

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three 4G Plus Mi-Fi
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£23/month

Three 4G Plus Mi-Fi
Unlimited Data12 month contract£19£24/month

Three 4G Plus Mi-Fi
Unlimited Data1 month contract£39£25/month

For more information, see our guide to the Huawei 4G+ MiFi hotspot.

Home Broadband

Three offers unlimited data on a range of home broadband plans, with prices starting from £20/month. Powered by 4G or 5G technology, you can often get fibre broadband speeds without the need for a phone line or cable.

If you’re living in a 4G broadband coverage area, you can choose between the Huawei B535 HomeFi Plus (the 4G Hub) or the Huawei AI Cube B900 (the 4G Hub with Alexa).

For most people, the HomeFi Plus service with a Huawei B535 router offers the best value 4G home broadband service. You can get unlimited data with Category 7 LTE download speeds (up to 300Mbps) and dual-band 802.11ac wi-fi connectivity on up to 64 devices at the same time.

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£20/month
with 6 months half price

Three 4G Hub
Unlimited Data12 month contract£19£23/month

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

The Huawei AI Cube costs an extra £5/month and doubles up as an Amazon Alexa smart speaker so you can use it to control other smart home devices.

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

Finally, Three’s 5G home broadband service offers unlimited data at 5G speeds. It’s currently available to customers in selected parts of London, and offers average download speeds in excess of 100Mbps.

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three 5G Hub
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£27/month
with 6 months half price

Three 5G Hub
Unlimited Data12 month contract£0£32/month

Pay As You Go

If you’re a Three Pay As You Go customer, you can get unlimited data on the £30 Data Pack. This also includes unlimited minutes and unlimited texts.


You can order a Pay As You Go SIM card from Three’s website. Alternatively, you can buy a new Pay As You Go phone from Three.

Comparison to Alternatives

Three offers an unlimited data SIM card from £16 per month. On other mobile networks, it’s also possible to get an unlimited data plan, with prices starting from £16 per month on other networks.

The following table compares Three’s unlimited data plan to what is available on other mobile networks:

12 months
iD MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£16.00
12 months
1 month
Superdrug MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£20.00
1 month
12 months
6 months half price
24 months
iD MobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£20.00
1 month
2Mbps max
24 months
10Mbps max
24 months
1 month
2Mbps max
12 months
1 month
1 month
24 months
10Mbps max
12 months
1 month
6 months half price
18 months
12 months
18 months
12 months
1 month
2Mbps max
1 month
24 months
1 month
10Mbps max
1 month
24 months
1 month
To show you the most relevant plans, 16 similar but more expensive plans have been hidden. .

On other mobile networks, fair usage policies may apply. Some networks also have a range of different speed restrictions (e.g. on Vodafone’s unlimited data plans). For more information, see our full guide to unlimited data plans in the UK.

Network & Coverage

3G & 4G Coverage

Three offers 99.8% population coverage on its 4G network and 98.7% population coverage on its 3G network. Customers with an unlimited data plan on Three can access uncapped download speeds on both 3G and 4G.

Before joining Three, we’d strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on Three’s online coverage checker:

Check Three Coverage ( →

For more information, see our full review of Three’s mobile network coverage. Alternatively, see our overview of how mobile coverage works in the UK.

5G Coverage

Customers with a 5G-ready device can access Three’s 5G network on an unlimited data SIM card. This offers download speeds of up to 1Gbps (1,000Mbps), with average speeds normally in the region of 150-250Mbps.

To access 5G coverage on your phone, you’ll need to be in a town or city that’s part of Three’s 5G coverage area:

Now Live154 towns and cities are live on Three 5G (January 2021)
Aberdeen, Abingdon-on-Thames, Adlington, Aldershot, Aldridge, Balloch, Barnsley, Barrow-in-Furness, Basildon, Bath, Bedford, Belfast, Billericay, Billingham, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Blackburn, Blackpool, Borehamwood, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brighton, Brimington, Bristol, Bromsgrove, Brookmans Park, Broughton Astley, Burton upon Trent, Cannock, Cardiff, Castlereagh, Chatham, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Chesham, Christleton, Clayton-le-Woods, Clifton, Colchester, Copmanthorpe, Corringham, Coventry, Crawley, Crook, Cullingworth, Danderhall, Denholme, Derby, Dewsbury, Doncaster, Dundee, East Kilbride, Edinburgh, Ellesmere Port, Exmouth, Glasgow, Gorebridge, Grays, Greenock, Grimsby, Guildford, Hamilton, Hartley, Heanor, Heathcote, Hedge End, Hemel Hempstead, Hertford, Heswall, Horley, Horwich, Huddersfield, Hull, Huntingdon, Inchinnan, Ingleby Barwick, Ipswich, Irlam, Iver, Kings Hill, Kings Langley, Kirkheaton, Leeds, Leicester, Leyland, Lincoln, Liverpool, London, Lower Stondon, Luton, Maidenhead, Maidstone, Manchester, Mansfield, Marlow Bottom, Milton Keynes, Motherwell, Neston, Newcastle, Newhall, Newport, Newquay, Newton Aycliffe, Newton-le-Willows, Newtownabbey, Normanton, Northampton, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Ottershaw, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Porthcawl, Portsmouth, Preston, Reading, Redcar, Royston Yorkshire, Sheffield, Shelly Green, Slough, South Heighton, South Normanton, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Southport, St Albans, St Blazey, St Columb Road, Stevenage, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland, Sunninghill, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Swadlincote, Swindon, Tamworth, Telford, Thornaby-on-Tees, Wakefield, Walton-on-Thames, Warrington, Washington, Westhoughton, Weybridge, Wickford, Wigan, Winterbourne, Worcester, Worksop, Writtle, York

Check 5G Coverage on Three →

For more information, see our guide to 5G coverage in the UK.

Tethering & Personal Hotspot

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). It’s a convenient way to share your unlimited data allowance with other tethered devices.

There’s no limit to how much data you’re able to share through tethering or personal hotspot on your phone.

Prior to October 2018, Three sold their unlimited data plans with a separate 30GB data allowance for tethering. This 30GB allowance was scrapped for all customers in 2019 so you can now use as much data as you’d like for tethering and personal hotspot usage.

International Coverage

With Three’s unlimited data plans (excluding 5G home broadband), you’ll get international roaming at no extra cost through the Go Roam Around The World offer. This allows you to use your UK allowances when travelling abroad in 71 destinations including most of Europe, the USA and Australia.

A fair usage policy applies whilst you’re travelling abroad. Within Europe, the fair usage limit is 20GB per month. Further data usage beyond this 20GB limit is surcharged at 0.3p/MB. Outside Europe, there’s a fair usage policy of 12GB/month. Your data usage will then be blocked for the remainder of the month.

For more information, see our full review of the Go Roam offer.

Keeping Your Phone Number

If you’re joining Three on one of their unlimited data price plans, it’s a straightforward process to keep your existing phone number.

Start by asking your current mobile network to provide you with a PAC Code. This can be obtained by texting PAC to 65075, or by requesting it online through your mobile network’s website or app. You can then order your new phone or SIM card from the Three website.

After your new phone or SIM card arrives from Three, fill out this form on Three’s website. After submitting your PAC Code through this form, 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 mobile network.

For step-by-step instructions on transferring your 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

Select your current mobile network:

  More Options

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

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do unlimited data plans cost on Three?
You can get unlimited data on a SIM card from Three from £16 per month. This includes access to 5G at no extra cost, inclusive roaming in 71 destinations and unlimited personal hotspot usage. It’s also possible to get unlimited data on a Pay Monthly phone, mobile broadband, home broadband or Pay As You Go plan.
Is there a fair usage limit for unlimited data on Three?
No. There are no fair usage limits for unlimited data on Three in the UK. The only requirement is that you use it for your own personal usage and not for commercial, resale or fraudulent purposes.

If you’re travelling abroad to other countries, a 20GB fair usage limit applies in European countries and a 12GB fair usage limit applies outside Europe.

What download speeds will I get?
You’ll have access to 5G at no extra on all of Three’s unlimited data price plans. This gives you download speeds of up to 1,000Mbps (1Gbps), with typical download speeds normally being in the region of 150-250Mbps. You’ll need to be in a 5G coverage area.

If you’re using 4G coverage, it’s possible to get download speeds of up to 300Mbps, with typical download speeds normally being in the region of 20-30Mbps.

Can I use tethering or personal hotspot on Three’s unlimited data plans?
Yes. You can use tethering or personal hotspot to share your unlimited data allowance with other devices. There are no limits on how much data you can share through tethering or personal hotspot.
How does unlimited data compare with Go Binge?
With an unlimited data plan, you’ll have a lot more flexibility than on a Go Binge price plan. You can use your unlimited data allowance with any app or service. Meanwhile, Go Binge only gives you unlimited data for use on Netflix, TV Player, Snapchat, Soundcloud, Deezer and Apple Music.
What coverage will I get on Three?
Three offers 99.8% population coverage on 4G and 98.7% population coverage on 3G. You can check the coverage in your area through Three’s website. 5G coverage is currently available in more than 60 UK towns and cities.
Can I use unlimited data when travelling abroad?
You can use up to 20GB of data abroad in other European countries. Outside Europe, you can use up to 12GB of data at no extra charge in Go Roam Around The World countries.
Is it possible to keep an existing phone number?
Yes. You can keep your existing phone number when moving to Three. Just ask your current mobile network to provide you with a PAC Code. You can get one through their website or app, or by texting PAC to 65075. You’ll need to give this PAC Code to Three after signing up.

More Information

For more information about unlimited data (all-you-can-eat data), please see the Three website.

Your Comments 132 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 132 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • After being with Tesco for 6 years, I thought long and decided to go with three. This was January this year.
    In the beginning first 4-5 weeks everything seemed fine with my all you can eat data, but now I am certain it is throttled. I’m using my phone as hotspot, and right now, as I type, I’m struggling to download the three app.
    The speed is reading 0.53mbps with a ping of 480ms..shambles.
    I’ve been trying to download the three app for the past hour, as stupidly, it’s the only way you can contact three…due to coronavirus they say.
    But they haven’t stopped or reduced the monthly charge they take out of my account.
    Terrible absolutely terrible

  • If you value your mental health, don’t get involved with this bunch of i#*ots and bandits.
    I’ve been with them for 3 years, and only issues, 6 or 7 times of which they’ve had to refund me 2or 3months at a time for absolutely disgraceful and useless service.
    What do I include in service? Well…complete loss or 1 bar of signal(totally dysfunctional ) and both calls and data of no use. I’ll mention here I’ve been on all you can eat everything for 3 year.
    Do not go with 3. You have been warned!!

  • dave mccolgan said:

    Three appear to throttle video download speedtest specifically mentioned there was a problem with video streaming..I’ve tried several tests, most seem to indicate two or three mB per second which should be adequate for video. I have an app which indicates network speed: it shows video streaming at less than 200kB/s..quality is terrible. You can even see the speed go down after a few seconds sometimes. My impression of three is of over selling, bad service, chancers.

  • I have a £17 for 20BG monthy ‘pay as you go’ plan. This is for using a mobile 3G Huawei device (with rechageable battery). The only option to upgrade to ‘unlimited data’ is at £57 per month. This is line wth Three’s inconsistent pricing polices. But this is far more expensive than starting a new contract with a new 4G mobile device.

  • Seen other reviews about the “so called £20 P/M offer” from Three for unlimited data over 24 months using their 4G network. Whilst Three accepted £20 P/M for my online order, they are inconveniently billing me £29 P/M and I am having a torrid time getting this rectified. What irritates me most about Three is that the billing is only effected after the 14 day cancellation period, so they try and trap you in the 24 month contract. After 6 weeks of no corrective action by Three, I am about to take this further but just wanted to know your comments (or by other users with the same problem), any advice would be most welcome.

    • I’m having the same problem as David March 15, 2020 at 4:32 pm , I signed up for £20 a month for 24 months, from the link on this page on the 9th may, got an order confirmation by email for £20 a month and then when i got the first bill, they are charging me £29 a month !, I chatted to three complaints on the 23 may, they said they would sort it and give me £5.00 credit for the trouble but the next bill as now arrived, its still £29 and there is no sign of £5 credit either. Does anyone have any suggestions ?

  • You at Three are a bunch of no good liars. The speeds you advertise are beyond normal human lies. You should be sued and you should return everybody’s money. I get not even 1 mb download on 4g+ with all reception bars. You stink. Moving away from 3 and try to convince everyone to do do so and to stay away.

    • Hi Melissa,
      Are you on Three’s Pay As You Go service? If so, I believe the easiest way to get an unlimited data add-on is by topping up online at (or using the Three app if you have it). It normally costs £35 to get unlimited data, but this is currently discounted to £25 as an offer.

  • I’m getting 150mbs on average and I’m almost 200GB in this month alone.Ive actually cancelled my virgin media service because there is no point in it anymore.I can’t wait for 5G 🙂


  • Hi ken,
    I have tried using 3 UK and the internet speed is very slow on both 3G and 4G and i have around 2 2 to 4 bars or the signals all of the time so it is not because of the signals. Also i trued using the network at all times of the day and there is allways and average of
    Download: 5.3MBPS
    Upload : 3.8MBPS
    This is according to 4G
    I live in central Birmingham.

      • Bald as a Coot replied:

        Hi, Ken.

        I have an old 3G dongle for my desktop PC. How do I get a better deal? Can I put one of those SIM cards in it? How do I get an unlimited data deal foir internet access only? Please note this is not a mobile phone, it’s a dongle purely for internet access via my PC.

        Many Thanks

        • Hi there,
          Thanks for your comment. Do you know if your dongle is unlocked, or if it has previously been used on the Three network? If so, it should be absolutely fine using one of these SIM cards inside your current dongle (albeit, subject to the speed limits of that hardware).
          Whilst you’re here, it might be worth reviewing the hardware you’re using as a newer dongle can give faster speeds than your old 3G dongle. For instance, you could grab Three’s latest 4G MiFi with unlimited data from £22/month. Alternatively, if the service is only being used at one fixed location, I’d recommend getting the Huawei B535 (HomeFi Plus) instead. It’s available for £20/month and will likely give much better performance than both a dongle or MiFi device.
          Hope this helps,

  • Maximum speed was 6 Mb this month, three service advice is ok as long as I use 3g , even if I pay for 4g , on Huawei cube I had a record of 3 Mb, thank you three :)) , never had a worst provider in my entire life.

  • I’ve been with 3 for about 2 weeks now on a unlimited sim only but had nothing but problems with internet connection being slow got that bad that games on my phone wouldn’t load due to internet connection it’s been ok the last week but now I’m not getting any better than 5mbs

    • Same, and I’m in London, where I would expect peak performance. Perfect network at 7am, but as it tends towards peak time, packet loss out the ass, tending towards completely unusable. You will notice it most in games where low latency is important, but it can get so bad that not even web pages load. Complete disaster of a network.

    • Same here, was 20Mbs last year, now only 5Mbs on 4G.

      Three adviser suggested switching mobile to 3G… speed went up to 10Mbs.

      Last year 3 had to remove the 30GB tethering limit on unlimited data plans. Makes me wonder if their network got hit hard and ‘Traffic Shaping’ has been deployed. Others in forums have said that their speed improved when they threatened to leave.

      Now switched to O2… 30Mbs.

  • Leonard King said:

    I’ve never had a monthly mobile phone service, instead a pay-as-you-go with Tesco. It’s OK, but I’m looking to use much more data on my phone for streaming music etc. and the 3 unlimited deal looks good at £20 per month.
    One thing I’m unclear about is does the monthly fee include the cost of phone calls or is that charged as an extra separately?

    • Hi Leonard,
      Thanks for your comment. Three’s unlimited SIM card includes unlimited minutes and unlimited texts along with the unlimited data allowance. So yes, the cost of your phone calls are included and will not be charged separately (unless you use something like international calling which aren’t included). Since your comment was posted, Three’s unlimited data deal has gone to £22/month, but with half price for the first six months. This makes it £19.25/month on average over the length of your contract. You could also go for the slightly cheaper deal from SMARTY which is £18.75/month until the 16th July. The deal from SMARTY also offers unlimited minutes & texts, and is available on a more flexible 1-month rolling contract.
      Hope this helps,

      • Leonard King replied:

        Thanks for that info re Smarty Ken. That’s a really good deal, especially as there’s no contract…cancel any time. Have gone for it and expect my new SIM in two days. Already got he PAC code from Tesco, so ready to go.
        Again, many thanks.

      • I’ve been with 3 for about 2 weeks now on a unlimited sim only but had nothing but problems with internet connection being slow got that bad that games on my phone wouldn’t load due to internet connection it’s been ok the last week but now I’m not getting any better than 5mbs not struggling to stream Netflix

        • Leonard King replied:

          Sorry to hear of your issues with 3. My plan is to switch to them for 5G Home broadband when it comes to where I live, so I need to have a separate mobile provider (can’t have two sims from the same provider) and as Ken recommended Smarty I took a chance and am so pleased with it. Switching from Tesco was painless and I’m getting download speeds of 60+mbps & 20mbps uploads, same as on my computer & iPad.

          • Leonard King replied:

            …but I’ve just this last hour or so discovered that Smarty is owned by 3 who would most likely be my choice as a home broadband provider via SIM, and you can only have one SIM device at a time, so I’ll have to think of an alternative.

          • Hi Leonard,
            Thanks for your comment. There is no limit on how many SIM cards & devices you can have from each provider at one time. Also, SMARTY is considered a separate mobile network from Three, so even if there was a limit, this shouldn’t affect things.

  • Hi,
    Anyone know if it’s possible to get 2 sim cards for the same account, one for my phone and put the other in a sim-router at home?

    • Hi Abdulrhman,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to do this on Three. Some other UK networks do offer plans where you can share your allowance across multiple SIM cards (e.g. on EE’s Shared Plans and Vodafone’s OneNumber service) but additional charges normally apply for this service.

  • i use my my phones hotspot as my primary internet connection for my pc , was on giffgaff before with always on ….giffgaffs 384kbits was awfull on everthing and even after 12am the speeds never went above 3mbits and for some reason i could only ever stream 480p video on youtube, so i moved to three sim only and am very impressed the speeds are much better all day and night and there really is no throttling or caps …. ive used in excess of 200gb this month , downloading from steam updating windows etc and mostly youtube at 4k… also downloaded one or two torrents and they have always been non throttled. …..also on three you wont get any threats from them off cutting you off or removing the unlimited data like they do on giffgaff…….

  • Hi we recently took out a 3 Homefi Broadband contract 17th March 2019 as we currently do not have superfast or ultrafast fibre in our area EX13. For the first two weeks it worked well and was very impressed with speeds and how quickly sites took to load and how quickly files took to download. After these initial few weeks things became apparent that all was not good with the network in our area with speeds dropping to that of our previous ADSL speeds of 8.5mbps download via after my initial contact with customer services i was told that there was an issue with Capacity in my area and the mast needed upgrading and this would be fully resolved by no later than the 29th May 2019 and would be updated on progress. Two months later and still no progress and again with issues still affecting us. I contacted technical team again and was told the date for the issue to be resolved was pushed back by a further month to 29th June we decided enough was enough and decided to cancel our contract and move to another Carrier EE. Yes More expensive less data but better quality of service. In my experience with three over the years they have taken far to long to sort out the issues with the network in my area, and are reluctant to resolve it quickly and promptly, but they much prefer customers to just walk away if they are not happy with the service they receive from three. Rather than investigate and resolve quickly and report back to the customer to update them to retain customer satisfaction and retention. Clearly the network is over subscribed and being Cained by bandwidth hogs. That’s why other uk network operators cap data to deter such issues.

  • Hi Ken
    Lots of interesting information in many of the comments and replies, please let me add mine.
    I live near Monifieth, Angus, Scotland, my “Three” phone signal is generally 3G 2 / 3 bar occasionally get 4g until I pick the phone up and it drops back to 3G.
    I got a PAYG Three phone sim and loaded £35 so I would get full unlimited data etc, I’m currently standing my iPhone SE in the kitchen window and using it as a hotspot, I stream iptv with mixed results.
    I purchased a TP-Link AC750 4g WiFi router and put the phone sim in to it, if it had worked I’d have then got an outside antenna, the router seemed to connect but wouldn’t transmit data, it did do a couple of impressive Speedtests but nothing else like an initial update.
    Without giving “Three” too much information I asked about using a phone sim in a router and the customer service representative said “it won’t work the sim cards are not compatible a phone sim won’t work in a router”.
    if it had worked I was going to get a Huawei 525 and outside antenna, thanks.
    Can I ask you Ken what’s your thoughts on this? Many Thanks.

    • Hi Ross,
      Many thanks for your comment. Previously, Three’s terms and conditions prevented you from using a smartphone SIM card in a mobile broadband router. However, Three has since dropped these restrictions due to an Ofcom investigation into net neutrality. Because these restrictions have been removed, you can now safely use a smartphone SIM card in any mobile broadband router like the Huawei B525.
      Hope this helps,

  • Hi, I have traveled a lot in Europe but I don’t live in the UK. Due to my work, I have to buy SIM cards often. I always buy pay as you go SIM from the web outside the UK. Do you provide 3 mobile SIM cards for pay as you go for 5G/12G purchase?

    • Hi Joseph,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, we don’t sell SIM cards directly on this website, but you should be able to order one from the Three website (though they may require a UK address). Alternatively, some other retailers might be happy to dispatch a SIM card outside the UK but unfortunately I don’t have any specific recommendations to share!

      • busli sormi replied:

        Please be aware that the sim may need to be activated in the uk. I got a three sim via a friend in uk and it wouldn’t work because it had to be activated in uk.

        • Hi Busli,
          Yes, that’s a great point. A SIM card from Three UK should be activated within the UK. If you’re travelling to another European country, you should obtain a SIM card from the first country that you’re arriving it.

  • 3s unlimited is useless. I signed a contract for an unlimited mifi less than a week ago – within that time it’s dropped to an unusable 0.5mbps. My Vodafone connection, sitting right alongside gets 12.5 Mbps. Cancelling the contract tomorrow …. I’d rather have less data, but be able to use it.

  • Ive been with 3 for 13 years now always found them to be really good and by far the best for prices than any other company just gone sim only with unlimited data for 12 months nobody gets even close to that and the roaming abroad has always been better than anyone else.

  • Hi – I’ve been using AYCE now for about four years – and think I now understand its operation pretty well. Basically I tether and drive all my internet activities through the PC and phone – an old Sony Xperia. I get two bars out of four on a 4G connection.

    Up to midnight – there are constraints on speed – limits to a max of roughly 1MB (Byte) per sec – but can vary down to about 300-400kB/s – so averages about 400-500kB/s.

    However overnight – i.e. after midnight (ish) – all change – it goes up to about 4-5MB/s.

    Now this could be strain on the particular cell I connect – but it is constant each day, and I am presuming the two bars out of four has an impact as well.

    Consequently I tend to download a lot overnight – to watch next day – although at daily average of 400kB/s during the day it allows SD type viewing a-okay – but HD would really struggle.

    Sitting just now 13:30 in the afternoon – getting average of 800kB/s – so it does vary – but you never get the true unlimited throughput during the day.

    From my perspective at £20 a month for unlimited data download – which ranges between 400kB-5MB/s – seems a fantastic deal to me – and as long as you know the limitations, and it suits the data profile you need – I think its a great offering.

    • Hi Brendan,
      Thanks very much for the feedback & really interesting to hear your experiences! Just to confirm, you’re talking about speeds in Megabytes per second, so when converting this to Megabits per second (which are used more commonly by ISPs and the mobile industry), the speeds you see on the service actually range from 3.2Mbit/s to 40Mbit/s (“400kB-5MB/s”)?
      If so, I think these are actually pretty good speeds! My understanding here is you’ll need about 4-5Mbit/s to stream a HD quality video.
      Let me know if I’m mistaken!

  • Mathias Hill said:

    Three is nowhere as good as they use to be their traffic sense is basically a new term for throttling … I have got their 100GB data plan with 30gb tenthering.
    When first start tethering the speed is at 2.5Mb/s but then within 10 minutes it slows down to 300KB/s.
    So by the looks of it three doesn’t actually want you use your tethering data.
    from what I can see after the first 500Mb downloaded within a short period of time you get traffic sensed (throttled) to unbearable speeds……..
    My fiance is on EE and although her data cap is lower she actually gets a chance to use it if she wants to, which is a whole lot more than Three is offering.

  • Love the blog Ken, keep it up so informative and detailed.

    I don’t what people a lot of these users are on about. Just streamed loads of TV – all in HD from all the major TV channels including satellite, I only had one buffering moment, but moved the phone and I was fine, I’m a heavy YouTube user and only watch material in HD and it buffers but again just be patient, or move the phone.

    Currently without wired broadband, so using my Personal Hotspot heavily and the response time is a tiny bit slower in the evening, maybe my phone towers don’t have as many users on them – there’s always other phone networks, I have a Vodafone back up PAYG SIM and that fly’s along as well.

    I’ve been with 3 for about five years, and haven’t been tempted to move yet – yes every network has it’s hiccups and I’ve seen some slowdown’s in busier places (airports etc.) and coverage can you let you down but I can’t complain for the price, but for day-to-day and my recent heavier use since the loss of my broadband it’s ideal for my usage patterns.

    • dannybee replied:

      im using my hotpsot too and have pulled down over 200gb this month …three is excellent for me , maybe these people with problems are in congested areas witch can happen on any network ….. im on 27 quiid a month sim only witch to me is great value considering i moved from giffgaffs always on at 25 quid a month with a petty 20gb and super slow 384kbits throttled data

  • John Thompson said:

    I have used 3 on Dongles for years. I paid £10 to top up with 1Gb data for one month and often I only used around 30Mb for going online on my laptop when away, and didn’t losing the 700Mb at month’s end. Twice recently I chose a new option, 3Gb for £20 as my wife accompanied me with her iPad. The Data went the first time in 48 hours, the second topup it was less then 24hours. What are 3 up to, its now daylight robbery!

  • they are bunch of liars, they tie you up in a contract so they can gradually reduce the speed
    first month it was 10 mpbs speeds and then I can’t even used 2 gb out of “all-you-can-eat” data
    the speed is always below 150kbps, whilst upload was 10mbps, which also dropped down to 150 after complaining to support
    support is useless and all they say is “we don’t have fair usage limitations” crap
    worst company ever, better get a deal with fair usage policy after 10gb with another network – this way at least you’ll know what to expect

      • The guy who tells the truth replied:

        Haha you are you aren’t just losing signal. If you aren’t full bars it’s tough to get top speed. I checked at the start of the month and I check mh speeds often. I was 52 download and 25 upload when my allowance refreshed at the start if the month, now I am 59 and 11 after 160gb of data used haha. But my speeds drop dramatically of i don’t have full signal and almost half in speed to about 20mbs down and 3 mbs upload. But the speeds are defo both throttled haha

  • Clearly there IS throttling… it’s called TrafficSense. I suggested to a Three advisor that my data speeds may be throttled, that I’m a heavy user only after midnight, and that I don’t tether or use VPN, His response? “I think you may be referring to TrafficSense.”

  • I have the new all you can eat data SIM from Three. The SIM is installed in a Huawei 4G router and I’m using around 100GB/month. Worked fine for a while, but now 4G connectivity fails and I have to revert to 3G. Ordered a new SIM and it worked on 4G for 48hrs then failed again. Seems that Three are giving ‘All you can eat’, but limiting bandwidth by locking you out of faster connections. In essence, it’s the same as throttling just more obvious. Very frustrating!

    • Hi, you can solve this problem in the router settings, I had the same issue. In router settings set it to 4g only, it forces a 4g connection always.

  • Personally I do not trust Three to deliver what they advertise. They might offer you a contract with 30GB of data just don’t expect to be able to use it all. As what ever you do on line they will start slowing one service down at a time, to the point it dose not work or is just frustrating to use.

    They might hide behind there traffic management T&C’s and word it like they are doing it for the grater of good. But in reality they just want your money and for you to use the service as little as possible.

    I say this after browsing the web for about 15 minuets it would become unusable, but work just fine at first then steadily gets slower. Streaming internet radio worked just fine then one day just kept breaking up on any stream, but works fine on WiFi. I will not be returning to Three as it feels like I have been done!!!

  • Hi, i have a quick question.
    I have the unlimited phone data and 30GB Per month hot-spot.
    I’ve recently moved and haven’t yet got BB installed so im using the hot-spot a lot on my computer.
    My question is… Can i use my data and hot-spot allowance at the same time?
    For e.g. if i’ve got an online game running on my pc thats using my 30GBpm allowance but im also watching a Youtube vid on my phone at the same time, will the YT vid deduct data from my 30GB tethering allowance? or will it work separate off of my unlimited phone data?
    I want to know this as i can easily use up 30GB in one month on my pc so i dont want to waste it. It’d be handy if i can use both data’s separately but at the same time.

    • Hi Darran,
      Great question! Unfortunately, I don’t know the exact criteria that Three uses to detect & separate out personal hotspot usage. My guess is that it should be advanced enough to separate out the two but it could be worth checking with them directly if you want a definitive answer to this question.

  • Traffic Sense was introduced on 31st August 2017. My PAYG All you can eat got throttled on hotspots between 3pm and midnight, even though THREE support will lie and say they never throttle. I took out a monthly SIM deal, and it also got throttle at the same times.

    The 30gb limit is misleading, as it throttled on Monthly contracts also. Before August 31st, I could get up to 50mb/sec, this then dropped to 0.5mb/sec, and with full throttling its more 0.01mb/sec. We seen a drop of 99% on bandwidth.

    I ended the contract, as it’s not anywhere competitive now, as people used it for the hotspots, so I’m cancelling all our company THREE phones, as we can’t use them out int he field. BT have helped us with a super deal on SIM only month to month contracts.

    THREE make terrible decisions, we have been with them pretty much from the start.

  • Hi there. I have a contract with 3 for their HomeFi product as the broadband connection at my house is ridiculously bad (around 0.7mbs). It works great, download of 16mbps etc however I am limited to 40gb which, to begin with was plenty as I was used to limiting my web use due to my rubbish speed. However since we now get faster speeds there is a lot more going on and I’m finishing the 40gb used up after around 15-20 days.
    Is there anyway of getting the all you can eat plan to work on homefi using the Huwaei router provided? If I signed up to the sim only deal and put it straight into the router which would obviously then connect to all of my devices would this act like a phone Or would this count as tethering and therefore be limited to 30gb?
    Hope this makes sense.
    Also any suggestions of other options would be appreciated.


    • Hi Sandy,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t work as Three’s AYCE smartphone plans can only be used in a smartphone as per the terms and conditions. Are you by any chance able to get Relish broadband in your area? They’re another mobile broadband provider, and are actually owned by Three. Alternatively, it might be worth discussing with Three to see if there are any options for upgrading to a plan with more data.

  • Three are getting rid of the unmetered data on PAYG now, from early August 2017. They are changing it to 30gig, so a gig a day.

    I have been using the internet since the 90s and only now have services gotten so consolidated that what was the norm has been removed.

    Data is not a commodity, bandwidth and storage space are. When businesses go along this metered everything path they are just taking the piss out of the customers.

    • Hi Anon,
      Many thanks for your comment. I believe Three are making the following changes to their service:
      – All-in-One 25 will now have 3000 minutes, 3000 texts and 30GB of data
      – All-in-One 35 (new bundle) will have 3000 minutes, 3000 texts and all-you-can-eat data
      I think this is actually a fairly positive development for customers using less than 30GB of data per month as they’ll now get 3000 minutes to use each month. Obviously, though, this is bad news for anyone who needs unlimited data – it feels like PAYM would now be a more suitable option?

  • Greetings from Singapore.

    My family is planning for 3-week holiday in UK. I find your article extremely helpful.

    I am interested in Three’s “All-you-can-eat-data”. I also need the phone (iPhone 6Plus) to be setup as hotspot for all family members to share the data connection.

    I am inclined to go for the “SIM Only” solution. They offer a “1-month contract @£30”. I wonder if this option is available to tourist? How about the “Pay As You Go @ £25/month” scheme?

    Regarding “No Tethering Allowance” for “Pay As You Go @ £25/month”, I wonder if there is a change in policy. In this article:, the author says that he is able to setup his phone with “Pay As You Go” as hotspot. Please let me know if I understand wrongly.

    Warmest Regards

    • Hi TC,
      Many thanks for your comment and hope you’re looking forward to your trip to the UK!
      Unfortunately, the “Pay Monthly SIM Only” solution will not be available to you as a visitor to the UK. The reason for this is because it’s a post-paid contract, so you’ll need to pass a UK credit check and you’ll need a UK bank account. It’s also a rolling contract, for which you’ll need to give 30 days notice to end.
      As a visitor to the UK, you’re therefore normally restricted to Pay As You Go deals. Three has a £25/month deal on Pay As You Go with all-you-can-eat data, but as you say, tethering isn’t officially allowed on this tariff. There might be a couple of “workarounds” but of course, they’re not guaranteed to work and it would still violate the T&Cs of the tariff.
      Two thoughts on this:
      1) If you’d like a Pay As You Go tariff on which you’re able to tether, you can see my guide here about tethering on UK mobile networks (in short: there are plenty of PAYG alternatives, but it really depends on how much data you want).
      2) You might find it better value (and also better for your battery life) to get individual SIM cards for each person in your family. You can expect to pay about £10 each for one-months usage, with no need to specifically choose a network that allows you to tether. This would also be incredibly useful should your group need to split up (no need to always be in range of the person who has the wi-fi hotspot).
      Hope this helps,

      • TC Chua replied:

        Hi Ken,

        Thank you for your comprehensive reply. I notice that your site is so much useful then the Telco sites !!! Great job.

        I am inclined to go for the £20 (Always On/6GB) from Giffgaff. This should be sufficient for our family while on the move (We are spending an average of 3 hours per day on the road).

        Giffgaff site is awfully designed and hard to navigate. They also do not offer online chat. I read through some review sites and their network level is rated 3/5. Just want to hear from you if they are good for tourists?

        Thank you so much for putting up this website. I would recommend it as a “MUST READ” site for all tourists visiting UK.

        • Hi TC,
          No problem at all – I’m really glad to be able to help out! I think giffgaff is a fantastic network, and I’d definitely recommend them (especially so if you’re a visitor to the UK). The good news is you should be able to order a giffgaff SIM card online which they can dispatch overseas and you can also use a non-UK credit card to top-up online.
          With regards to online reviews, I’d also take them with a pinch of salt as they tend to become places for people to gripe about coverage, etc (most UK networks will have a low review score online, whereas in reality, things aren’t actually that bad). giffgaff uses coverage from O2, and their online support is managed through an online forum rather than live chat.
          Hope this helps!

          • TC Chua replied:

            Thanks. I will try to order a SIM online. If it dosen’t work, I will keep you and your readers updated.

            Again, many thanks for the wonderful efforts.

  • Hi,

    I have an old wi-fi unit and would like to use threes sim only packages rather than take out a new contract to get a newer device. Will the sim only packages work in my old unit? I think its about 4 years old?

    • Hi Andrew,
      Thanks for your comment. In theory, there’s no reason why you couldn’t use a SIM-only package in your old mobile wi-fi unit. However, using a regular smartphone SIM card in a mobile wi-fi device is against the terms and conditions of a regular SIM-only deal. Instead, you’ll need to get one of Three’s mobile broadband SIM cards.
      Hope this helps,

  • Nick Clatworthy said:

    When tethering, I too have struggled with data transmission rates too low to be of any use. I have had this trouble with Giffgaff but it seems other people have had the same with Three. Giffgaff assures me that there is nothing wrong at their end and that I am doing nothing wrong. My cure is to do a reset. All I have to do is to put the SIM into another phone and I am back up to full speed at once but only until I am throttled again. I think you can reset the original phone with a SIM from another company. My plan is to use SIMs from Three and Giffgaff in two phones and swap them over as the need arises. Inconvenient to say the least.

  • Just thought I would say that I went from London to Edinburgh on the train this week and watched streaming video on my phone most of the way on Three with only two or three short drops of signal. I used about 25GB of data. Highly impressive and I only pay £17 per month for the sim card.

    Incidentally, when I phoned them recently to cancel another sim card they waned to reduce my £17 to £9 in some sort of effort to make me stay. It might be worth haggling if you feel its worth the risk of them accidentally cancelling the wrong contract.

  • Further to Matt Kettle’s comment – I have an unlockled 3 Mobile Mifi device which I use use in Spain. Last year, I simply went to a Vodafone shop in Spain and bought a SIM with 2GB of data, activated it through my iphone and then transferred it to the Mifi – it worked fine for the duration of the 2GB of data.

    However, as 3 Mobile (I currently have all the family on 3 mobile for our phones) have included Spain in their Feel At Home package, I want to buy a PAYG SIM with as much data as possible, activate it in my phone and then move it to the Mifi – and use it at no extra cost in Spain – is this going to be possible?

    I know that officially the answer is NO! I have read that 3 Mobile can detect that the SIM is being used in a Mifi and block it – can this block it outside of the UK? Has anyone tried this?

    As I said, I know that if I ask 3 Mobile, they will say it can’t be done because they will lose a shed load of money – but CAN it be done in reality? Do they have the tech to block a SIM being used outside of the UK?

    • If you put phone sim into a mifi unit, 3 will block your internet whether you are in UK or abroad. It happened to me so I suggest you get a PAYG data sim instead.

      • If 3 block a Sim because they detect it as a phone sim in a mifi unit. Does the sim get blocked permanently or can it be taken out of the mifi and put back into an iPhone and work again?
        I’m trying to use a 3 pay as you go sim in Spain with all you can eat data. I’m travelling on the 14th November and haven’t registered the sim yet.

  • Dear Ken

    I recently transferred mine and my daughters mobile numbers to 3 all you can eat.

    Vodafone have emailed me two bills, one for November (£57) and one for December (£12.50).

    As I have transferred, it appears I no longer have access to my Vodafone online account (and therefore can’t look at or print any past or current bills). I called their customer services, and after a long wait found out the chap I was speaking to is in Egypt, with poor English. He cannot access my account either or send bills to me as the account has been changed to 3. This seems unreasonable.

    Surely I should be able to look at/print my last 12 months bills for business expense purposes and surely I should be able to see the details of what they are billing me for. All he could say was I had to go into a Vodafone mobile shop in the UK, but as I travel a lot and am in France currently so this isn’t an option.

    Does anyone know if they are allowed to effectively stop access to all of your previous account information like that or have any advice as to how, other than going into a UK Vodafone shop, I can access details of the two most recent bills.?


    • Hi Samantha,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, Vodafone will automatically disable your online account area when you move to another network. It should still be possible to get hold of your old bills but you’ll need to contact a member of Customer Services (e.g. see a similar question from the Vodafone online forums). I know this isn’t a huge amount of help as you’ve already tried calling Customer Services. I would, however, try calling again as another member of their team could prove more helpful. Alternatively, you could message one of the Tech Team on Vodafone’s online forums (they tend to be pretty helpful in answering your queries!)

  • Great article. Very informative.

    Just touching on some of the comments related to throttling… I am on a Note 4 (have never tethered) with an all you can eat data 4G contract. When I first received my phone I regularly saw 11Mbps and occasionally dropped to 7Mbps.

    Now (in the same location), I receive 0.02Mbps. I have racked up 8GB in data download in 1 month through YouTube and maybe some Skype calls. Again, I’ve not tethered yet. I have seen these speeds for a number of days now at varying times of the day (even as early as 6AM).

    This is almost certainly three’s throttling in effect. I was assured there were no fair usage policies, but am wondering if something else was tucked away in a contract or additional document that I’ve missed.

    Any thoughts?

    • It looks like you’ve been a victim of Three’s “Traffic Sense” policy.

      Basically, their traffic management system has determined your data usage .. is far too high, and because you’re a member of the peak-time data hogger brigade, they’ve decided temporarily slowing down your data connection ‘will make it fair for other users’. I believe this is a temporary measure and they only target a small percentage of the top-tier active users on any given mast. So, if you live in the middle of a city you’re less likely to be traffic managed than someone in a small town. Note “unlimited data” is different to “unlimited bandwidth”. They don’t make promises they’ll deliver it at consistently high speeds. In theory they could traffic manage you down to 56 Kbps and still class their service as “unlimited data” as they wont stop offering this service. It’s a bit sneaky IMHO and how they can claim to offer unlimited 4G whilst giving you less than a quarter of 1Mbps is ridiculous. GiffGaff also do this.,Kb=Mobile,Ts=Mobile,T=Article,varset_cat=signal,varset_subcat=3804,Case=obj(4046)

      • Thanks Kevin – great reply! I do wonder how this matches up with Three’s Traffic Management Policy (traffic management should only apply from 3PM to midnight and should only affect a couple of activities (e.g. P2P). It’s possible they could have updated the policy or perhaps they’re not totally transparent about how traffic management is used.

  • Hi Ken

    Really interesting website.

    Just have a quick question if I keep my t-mobile unlimited data package on 3G put received through a 4G phone would I also get 4G phone service against my 3G contract?

    • Hi Parminder,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, T-Mobile is a 3G-only network (you’ll need to upgrade to EE if you’d like to have a 4G service). It’s still possible to use a 4G handset on the T-Mobile network but you’ll only have access to 2G and 3G.

  • Hi there,
    I was intrigued by the “all you can eat data” deal on pay as you go – it seems you can have access to the £15 deal with a 30 day contract instead of 12 months.
    Great stuff!

    • Hi Nuno,
      Indeed – the £15 deal on Pay As You Go (300 minutes, 3000 texts and all-you-can-eat data) is probably even better than the SIM only Pay Monthly deal (£18/month for 200 minutes, unlimited texts and all-you-can-eat data on a 30-day contract). Do be aware however that tethering is only permitted on Pay Monthly tariffs.

      • Even though tethering isn’t ‘permitted’ on PAYG, I’ve been doing it for months and nothing has been done on my end. I am one of the victims of TrafficSense but there’s not really any other option for me.

        My town is pretty small and I wouldn’t be surprised if I was only one of 10 people using the mast in my area.

  • Hi all,
    From Dan at CoolSmartphone, it’s now reported that Three are gradually moving customers on The One Plan over to new plans without unlimited tethering (all-you-can-eat data is still available but only with 2GB or 4GB of tethering). It’s only being done for customers outside of the minimum term of their contract. Unfortunately, this will remove one of the ways where existing customers are able to bypass the new limit on tethering by continuing their old contract and buying a SIM-free handset elsewhere.

  • If you follow the ‘all you can eat data’ terms and conditions by using it EXCLUSIVELY on your smartphone, you will not be throttled at all. Give it a whirl and thank me later.

    • I don’t tether but I’m sat right now with a download speed of a quarter meg and upload of 10 meg, that’s throttling and it happens regularly

  • Well_Disgruntled said:

    I do not have a Three mobile phone but I want to change from EE back to Three for my mobile dongle broadband.

    I used to have a 3G Three PAYG dongle, but went with EE for 4G. But they turned out to be absolute rubbish because of their broken Content Lock malware.

    Is it possible to get one of these 4G Broadband deals with a mobile dongle?

    Many Thanks

    • Hi there,
      Have you tried contacting EE to turn off the Content Lock setting? I too have experienced problems with the settings (at one stage, I believe Twitter was even blocked by the default Content Lock setting!)
      With regards to Three, unfortunately it isn’t possible to get a mobile broadband SIM with all-you-can-eat data. For dongles, you’ll need to get one of their mobile broadband SIM cards. The largest package currently available is 10GB of data for £15/month on Pay As You Go.

      • Well_Disgruntled replied:

        Oh, Dear God, what do you think I have been doing every week for the last few months? The decision is made. I do not want your ridiculous suggestions about EE, I am asking ONLY about THREE.

        Yes! I AM in a very bad mood! 🙂

        Sorry! Their damned MALWARE is broken. It activates itself for no damned reason and does not just block Twitter and Farcebook, it blocks scientific, comedy and music videos on YouTube and even PubMed, for serious scientific articles. Sometimes, it blocks every site I manage to visit AFTER I have visited it.

        It is a heap of s***. And it is not needed as I have an OS, a browser and an Antivirus/Security package which have Content Filters that WORK.

        Even Google has its own Content Filter – and it WORKS.

        And, in any case, there is a HUGE difference between 17 and 4 years old, so this “under 18” c*** is stupid. You can marry and have children at 16, but EE won’t let people look at Page 3 images, or videos of Freddy Mercury? Why? Because he died of HIV AIDS? How does THAT “protect” 17 year olds?

        And everyone using my PC will have their own, separate log-on account with their own content filters.

        EE’s Content Lock does not Filter Content – it just blocks access to the internet.

        That is why they called it Content LOCK, not Content Filter.

        In fact, it blocks EVERYTHING legal, decent, honest and truthful that I want from the Internet. Including PG-rated MMO PC games and old HD Led Zeppelin videos – the very reason I bought the 2 year contract in the first place.

        £50 a month 2 year contract for 50 GB 4G broadband.

        Why does THREE not have such a package?


        There are a lot of people scammed by EE who are looking at alternative ISPs.

        • Hi there,
          Very sorry to hear about your problems on EE – I was only trying to help based on my experience! It does sound as if the content filter is badly broken on your account and I’m not really sure why this is happening.
          With regards to a large data allowance on a mobile broadband tariff, unfortunately it is hard to find and I believe only EE are currently offering such a large data package on mobile broadband tariffs. The reason for this is partly because they have the most widespread 4G coverage across the UK (4G technology greatly reduces the per-megabyte cost for the mobile network operator). With the other networks still having limited 4G coverage, it could be a while until it’s economical for other networks to offer a similar package. Three is probably the closest with 10GB for £15/month. Unlimited data is available when you’re using a smartphone but tethering is limited to either 2GB or 4GB of internet per month.

          • Well_Disgruntled replied:

            What does this mean?

            “On Three, all-you-can-eat data starts from £28/month”

            How does 2 to 4 GB equate as “all-you-can-eat”? I assure you, I can eat MORE than 30 GB a month with no trouble at all.

            WHEN IT WORKS!

            Could I get a Smart Phone and plug it into my Desktop as if it were a dongle and use my 24″ monitor instead of the ludicrously, hopelessly inadequate telephone screen, and get unlimited Internet Access that way?



          • Well_Disgruntled replied:

            Sorry, I am often in an absolutely foul mood these days because of this. I rely on the Internet for almost EVERYTHING. Including finding an alternative ISP!

            And half the time it does not work, either because of #EE’s CONTENT LOCK MALWARE# or, like today, it is running like cold treacle, the connection drops every few minutes and it says that almost every internet page cannot be found. I am AMAZED I got through to this page.

            It is 16:00, Sunday, 26th October, 2014, and since 11:00 AM this morning NOTHING but shit!!

            I cannot even post on EE’s site to tell them how bad they are, taking my money and giving me nothing but grief.

            It is not just irritating, distressing and infuriating, it can be soul-destroying. MY PC is all I have. I have no TV and cannot even watch anything on YouTube.

            Look, THREE!

            HERE is my CREDIT CARD!!! I AM WAVING MY WALLET!!!



            I still have 27 GB to use up in the next 8 hours, anyway. I want to cancel my contract, block the direct debit and go with someone else. NOW.

            “Three is probably the closest with 10GB for for £15/month.”

            Is that PAYG? 10 GB is nowhere near enough. But 30 GB for £45 might be. As long as it is genuinely unthrottled, 4G, minimum 100 Mbps.

            “Unlimited data is available when you’re using a smartphone but tethering is limited to either 2GB or 4GB of internet per month.”

            What? What is “tethering”? So this article on unlimited internet access is a lie, after all?


  • No tethering abroad is a big problem, means airport time and any foreign travel where there is no wifi is restricted to phone for e mailing etc. do any other networks allow this?

    • Hi Matt,
      Thanks for your comment. Three won’t allow you to tether from your phone when using your handset abroad in a country with unlimited data (e.g. with the Euro Internet Pass or the Feel At Home offer). One thing you could consider doing is getting a Pay As You Go Mobile Broadband SIM card. You can still use the ‘Feel At Home’ offer with a mobile broadband SIM card so it’s perfect for using your laptop abroad at the airport. It’s £10.49 for 1GB of data (lasts for 1 month) or £70.49 for 12GB of data (lasts for a maximum of 12 months).
      With regards to other networks, quite a few of them should normally allow you to tether when abroad. However, do bear in mind you’ll probably be paying at least £6/MB for the privilege of doing this (less if you’re travelling within Europe).

  • The 4G speeds are just a gimmick!!!
    They aren’t fast whatsoever… It is just lying like in every business…
    What a ridiculousness I am on 4G and speeds are only 4Mbps and upload is 25? that what I never use ? F*** off 3-UK!!! You are THROTTLERS!!!

  • You can’t ever get a clear answer from three – So- my plan is to say – if I lose my unlimited tethering – then I switch – Some say if I continue to, simply, pay then my service will continue. I say that if they alter my plan in any way – I’m just going with another provider – end of!!!! I’ve been with these people for years.

  • hello – very helpful article – Do you know what would happen after you hit the limit for the 4 GB tethering ? Does it just stop , or is there a risk of incurring unexpected charges? Thank you

  • I’m on the one plan with tethering at the moment with an iPhone 5 and was considering upgrading to an iPhone 6plus. Looking at the tethering limits for the all you can eat plan now would it be better for me to buy the iphone6 from Apple and continue using my one plan to get the unlimited tethering?

    • Hi Richard,

      Thanks for your comment. If you do want to keep the unlimited tethering, it would be necessary to stay on your current plan (The One Plan). You could still upgrade your handset by buying the iPhone 6 Plus SIM-free and unlocked (prices would start at £619 for the 16GB version).

      Before doing so however, I would consider the cost implications. To give an example, let’s say you’re currently paying £45/month for all-you-can-eat data and unlimited tethering (This is a ballpark estimate as I’m not totally sure how much your contract currently costs!). If you were to keep the current contract and to buy a SIM-free 16GB iPhone 6 Plus, you’d pay £619 today plus £45/month on an on-going basis.

      If you were to switch to a new plan, you’d have two options:
      1. Get the iPhone 6 Plus on a contract from Three. It’s £99 upfront plus £51/month for all-you-can-eat data and 2GB of tethering. You would save £385 compared to the option suggested (you’d save £529 upfront but you’d pay £6/month extra for the next 24 months).
      2. Get a SIM-free iPhone 6 Plus and switch over to one of Three’s SIM only contracts. For all-you-can-eat data and 4GB of tethering, you’d pay £619 upfront to Apple and then £23/month for a SIM only deal. The cost saving is £22/month (or £528 over the 24 month contract).

      So unless you actually need more than 2GB or 4GB per month tethering, I’d strongly recommend switching to a new plan. Even if you required more tethering, it’s £5/month extra for 1GB of additional tethering. Hence, it would still be cheaper to switch to over a new SIM-only plan unless you require more than 8GB of tethering per month (i.e. you’d pay £43/month for all-you-can-eat data and 8GB of tethering).

      Hope this helps!


      • Well – Does this mean that I can simply choose to continue to pay, using my existing contract and my tethering will continue as before???? – Please do not give an ambiguous answer.

        • Hi Mike,
          Please accept my apologies – I was trying to provide as much info as possible when answering the question posed by Richard above. To answer your question in a more concise way, yes – you’re able to keep your existing tariff with all-you-can-eat tethering if you continue to pay. If you later choose to upgrade to a new plan, your tethering would drop down to only 2GB/month (4GB/month on a SIM only plan).
          Despite it being possible to keep your old plan, it probably isn’t cost-effective for the majority of users. In Richard’s example, he’d actually save £22/month by dropping down to all-you-can-eat data with only 4GB of tethering. He could use this extra money to add more data for tethering on his new plan – it would only become cost-effective to keep the old contract if he were to use more than 8GB of tethering per month.
          Hope this helps,

  • Just to let you know Ken that from the 24th of this month GiffGaff will no longer be offering unlimited data on it’s £12 package, the price has been raised to £18.

  • I have had similar problems of speed being slowed down by 3 to 2 mbps, And similar upload speeds, A reboot of my phone has solved the problem, I think for £23, For what i get is a good deal, I dont know how there MIFI Broadband is, Maybe someone will tell us

  • Three is an absolute joke. They sell you all of these great features like ‘unlimited data’ but between 3pm and 12am they seriously throttle you. Download Speeds go from 8-10mb down to less than 0.5 mbs. You literally can’t do a thing. Web pages take ages to load, forget trying to watch a video on your way home from work.

    Three sounds great, using it is a completely different thing!!! AVOID!!!!

  • I took out a monthly sim only deal with three, Unlimited 4g with unlimited tethering, 2000 min and unlimited text, I have had it now 6 months, I was told i am in a very good area for 4g, And there on line checker confirms that, But i have never hit a 4g connection ever, And ive tried my phone all over the house bottom of garden etc, But def no 4g, There on line checker is incorrect and cant be trusted, I have made 4 complaints to there on line complaints form, But completely ignored ,

      • Hi Bernard,
        Thanks for your comment. In the past, The One Plan included all-you-can-eat data and unlimited tethering. Unfortunately, Three have now changed their tariffs (The One Plan is no longer available). A tariff taken today with all-you-can-eat data would either have 2GB of tethering (Pay Monthly contracts with a new handset) or 4GB of tethering (SIM only deals where you keep your current handset).
        Hope this helps!

        • Bernard Ryan replied:

          Thanks Ken i bought my own 4g phone, And got the monthly contract, I pay £23.00 a month, And get unlimited tethering, I must use at least 4gb a week, I watch a lot of youtube, I have been in some parts of the country, Were i have had some fantastic speeds, Ive hit over 50 kbps in some places, I was thinking of getting a 3 mifi unit, With the, Ariel on it, So to get a better signal, But it is suggested that my sim may not work in the 3 mifi, Do you know if this is correct for sure, As after reading some forums, Some people have said it works ok.

          • Hi Bernard,
            Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, the terms and conditions of The One Plan SIM card prohibit you from using the SIM card in a mobile broadband device (this includes the 3 MiFi unit). Whilst it is possible from a technical perspective (i.e. the SIM cards are 100% compatible), it’s likely to be noticed by Three and you may find them suspending your account. Hence, for this reason, I’d strongly recommend against doing so.
            Three do have some mobile broadband SIM cards (e.g. £15/month for 10GB of data). For use in a MiFi, this probably works out as being even cheaper and will fully comply with the terms and conditions.
            Hope this helps!

  • Hi,

    Great article, a good read!! When I’m free to cancel my current contract with another provider, I’m planning to get the cheapest SIM-only all-you-can-eat data contract. When I’m on holiday in one of Three’s Feel at Home countries, could I transfer the SIM into an unlocked MiFi device and use the data up to the 25GB/month limit (essentially, fooling the SIM card into thinking that the data is being used by the “phone” and not other devices)?

    • Hi Robert,
      Thanks for your comment and for the kind words about the article! Unfortunately, it’s not possible to use your smartphone SIM card within a MiFi (it’s possible from a technical perspective but doesn’t comply with Three’s terms and conditions). Also, you can’t tether abroad in a Feel At Home country (hence using the data on devices apart from your phone).
      One thing you could do is to get a Mobile Broadband SIM card before you go on holiday. £15 gets you 10GB of data on a 1 month contract. You can use this SIM within a MiFi or also in your phone (albeit with no calls & texts included). Mobile broadband packages are fully compatible with the Feel At Home offer (see the info from Three’s website).
      Hope this helps!

  • One Plan scrapped a week before i was able to upgrade have now replaced that contract with BT for broadband for the house.
    When my other remaining one plan contract expires it too gets the chop. Three say coverage 98% of country. I’m a truck driver and to be honest i have a Vodaphone sim as back up as three’s mobile internet signal is rubbish for at least 50% of the country and I do need a phone even if no internet available.

  • Working very well for me, the 4G is so fast that I prefer it to my home wifi. For the price, even if there might be some throttling sometimes, I don’t see which other contract I could take for unlimitted data at the moment.

  • This weekend is the last time all you can eat tethering is available in the UK from any network. the brilliant one plan tariff from 3 will be updated on Monday night. the new yet to be revealed 3 tariffs are a real disappointment.
    if you are a heavy data user & like to tether to other devices sign up now to the one plan before its too late…

  • James Heath said:

    There’s certainly much confusion about what’s on offer with three.But i can only comment on my own experience. I’ve been on The One Plan September last year and have had no problems whatsoever. Download speeds are brilliant, regularly running at 20mbps to 30mbps and teather my laptop and NowTv box too.
    If all of the information in this article are true then the only important bit is

    “On certain masts that are congested, Three applies a traffic management system called TrafficSense. Between 6pm and midnight, P2P services and software updates may be slowed down.”
    And “Three’s all-you-can-eat data plans do not have a download limit or a fair usage policy.”

    Brilliant. 🙂

  • hi , i just took the ultimate internet 500 contract on the iphone 5s , but i have no service in my house can’t get a home signal box because i dont have broadband . i pay 37 per month called up three . they said they would let me pay 30 per month since it is not possible for me to use my data but i feel i should pay 27 since i can’t use the internet . should i haggle for 27 ?

    • Hi Malika,
      Thanks for your comment! I’d certainly haggle and try to get the best price possible from Three – obviously the internet connectivity is a big part of your service and if you aren’t able to use it then you should try to get the lowest price possible.
      Alternatively, it would be even better if you can escape the contract and to choose another network which offers coverage in your house. The biggest problem is you’re probably locked in to a 24 month contract – with no way of escaping (except from paying early termination fees). As such, you have limited bargaining power when arguing with Three and you might be forced to pay whatever they offer. So I’d certainly try for £27/month but there’s no guarantee they’ll offer it to you!

      • Surely, this cannot be this case. I’m no techie but I’ve study contract law as part of my degree and if Three are not providing the service you signed a contract for, then they are in beech of the contract, hence, you should be able to terminate the contract with no penalties!

  • Good thing I found this as I was just about to pull the trigger on ‘The One’. But these comments are ancient so perhaps it’s been resolved now? Also, I use Tmobile payg and it DOES permit tethering. Hell, I’m tethering as I type this.

  • sunjaybhogal said:

    I can confirm that Three Network are throttling speed during 3pm and Midnight, I notice that when I am streaming movies. I am more like to use streaming during that time especially during the weekend and evening. What is the point all all much as you want data when you getting download steaming speed.

  • I am on the same plan and I can confirm what Dean is saying, I have also asked Three if they could tell me what the limits are before you get throttled and they will not give me a straight answer. All the tell me is well if you use your phone for web browsing it is ok but if you use it for streaming video such as You tube that would be considered a high date consumption, Oh my god!!!!
    We need to take Three to court, this is totally unbelievable I am not even using the internet that much, but they will not tell me any figures, not to mentioned that no one has attempted to contact me to let me know that my connection was been throttled.
    They are so shameless is beyond belief!!!!! Avoid!!!

  • Dean Piper
    DO NOT TAKE OUT THE ONE PLAN!!! I AM PERSONALLY ON THE ONE PLAN AND I AM BEING THROTTLED!!!! unlimited data yet they have introduced throttling as of 12 may 2012 for top 5% of users. pathetic, illegal, ive emailed ceo david dyson and am looking elsewhere PS 3UK-YOU CANT SELL ‘UNLIMITED WITH NO THROTTLING CONTRACTS AND THEN THROTTLE PEOPLE-ITS ILLEGAL!!! I am now looking for alternative contracts

  • Just sgined up to this and when it works its amazing. Having some very odd connectivity issues though where some days there is simply no data connection despite saying full strength signal and the hsdpa symbol is there. 3 don’t want to help or investigate so be cautious and don’t sign up to any long term deals until issues like this are solved. I was considering their 3 cube too which effectively removes the need for a phone line at home but alas I may have to think again.

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