Three offers two types of price plan: Essential and Advanced. Find out how the plans compare on features like Feel At Home, Go Binge and Personal Hotspot.
Three has split their Pay Monthly line-up into two types of price plan. Alongside the fully-featured Advanced price plans, it’s now possible to buy an Essential price plan with a reduced monthly cost. Essential plans come with some reduced features in the area of international roaming, streaming and personal hotspot.
For customers wanting the more fully-featured offering, Three’s Advanced price plans still remain on sale. The main benefits of choosing an Advanced price plan are you’ll have access to inclusive roaming in 60 destinations along with zero-rated streaming on selected services and an inclusive personal hotspot allowance. You’ll also get free calls to customer service, and larger data allowances are available including all-you-can-eat data.
In this article, we’ll review Three’s Essential price plans and we’ll see how they compare to Advanced price plans. We’ll also discuss the range of add-ons available for the Essential plan (for instance, in case you wanted to use personal hotspot).
Essential VS Advanced Plans
Since November 2016, Three has offered two different types of Pay Monthly plan.
For customers looking to save a bit of money, Three’s lower-cost plans are known as “Essential” price plans. Typically costing about £2/month less, they’re designed for customers who according to Three aren’t “always on holiday, using their phone as a hotspot or constantly calling customer services”. As such, Essential price plans only include Feel At Home in Europe (you won’t have access to inclusive roaming in non-European destinations). Essential price plans also lack access to Go Binge and inclusive personal hotspot usage. On an Essential plan, you also won’t have unlimited free calls to customer service (however, you can still use your inclusive minutes for calling Three customer services).
The following table shows a comparison of the key differences between an Essential and Advanced price plan:
|Feel At Home in Europe||✔ Yes, in 48 EU destinations||✔ Yes, in 48 EU destinations|
|Feel At Home Around The World||✘ No||✔ Yes, in 12 non-EU destinations|
|Go Binge||✘ No||✔ Yes, on plans with at least 4GB data|
|Tethering & personal hotspot||✘ No, requires £5/month add-on||✔ Yes, using your data allowance*|
|Free calls to customer service (333)||✘ No, uses your inclusive minutes||✔ Yes|
|Data Allowance||500MB to 12GB||500MB to all-you-can-eat|
|Pay Monthly (24-month)||From £10/month||From £14/month|
|SIM Only (12-month SIM)||From £5/month||From £13/month|
|SIM Only (1-month SIM)||From £10/month||From £18/month|
On Essential price plans, phone calls to customer service on 333 will come out of the inclusive minutes on your plan. For most people, this shouldn’t make a major difference providing you have enough minutes remaining on your plan. However, if you do run out of inclusive minutes, you’ll need to pay the standard out-of-allowance rate (35p/minute) when calling customer services.
For customers who are travelling abroad, Three has an international roaming offer called Feel At Home. It allows you to use your smartphone abroad at no extra charge, including your UK minutes, texts and data allowance.
The Feel At Home offer is split into two different regions:
- Feel At Home in Europe. This covers 48 European destinations including including Italy, Spain, France, Germany and more. All EU and EEA destinations are included in this offer.
- Feel At Home Around The World. This covers 12 additional destinations outside of Europe. Key destinations include the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Hong Kong and Singapore.
With an Essential price plan, you’ll only have access to Feel At Home in Europe. You’ll need to pay Three’s international roaming rates whenever you use your phone outside of Europe.
With an Advanced price plan, you’ll have access to both Feel At Home in Europe and Feel At Home Around The World (giving a total of 60 destinations where you can roam at no extra charge).
For more information, please see our full review of the Feel At Home offer.
Go Binge is one of Three’s signature features, and is exclusive to customers choosing an Advanced price plan with at least 4GB of data per month.
The feature gives you unlimited standard-definition streaming on Netflix, TV Player, Deezer and SoundCloud. You can use the services to watch content and listen to music and it won’t count towards your normal download allowance (therefore freeing you up to stream to your heart’s content without worrying about data).
A separate subscription will of course be required to access the above services (for instance, between £5.99 and £9.99 per month for a subscription to Netflix). At present, rival services like BBC iPlayer, YouTube and Spotify are not included in the Go Binge offer.
It’s not possible to add Go Binge as an additional feature on Essential price plans. You’ll need to upgrade to an Advanced price plan with at least 4GB of data if you’d like to access the feature on your tariff.
For more information, please read our full review of Go Binge on Three.
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).
On Essential price plans, the use of tethering is not included in your tariff. Therefore, if you’d like to tether or use personal hotspot when on an Essential price plan, you’ll need to buy a “personal hotspot add-on” to enable this.
Personal hotspot add-ons start from £5/month for a 1GB tethering allowance:
|Tethering Allowance||Monthly Cost|
You can buy a personal hotspot add-on by logging in to your My3 account or by calling Three Customer Services on 333. By default, once you’ve added the add-on to your account, it will renew every month until you ask Three to remove it. Depending on how often you decide to tether from your plan, it may be better value to upgrade to an Advanced price plan instead.
On Advanced price plans, tethering is included in your plan at no extra charge. Your tethering or personal hotspot usage will simply come out of your inclusive data allowance (subject to a maximum of 30GB per month on tariffs with 100GB of data or all-you-can-eat data).
For more information, please see our article on the UK’s best value tariffs for tethering.
Typically, you can save about £2/month by choosing an Essential SIM card over the equivalent Advanced SIM card. The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of Three’s SIM-only deals:
Essential SIM Only Plans
At present, it’s possible to buy an Essential SIM card with up to 12GB of data per month. With an Advanced SIM card, larger data allowances are also available including 30GB per month, 100GB per month and all-you-can-eat data.
For a complete list of Essential and Advanced SIM-only deals, please see the full list on Three’s website.
Essential Pay Monthly
If you’re buying a new handset on a 24-month contract, you can normally save significant amounts of money by choosing an Essential price plan.
For instance, the following table shows a comparison of Essential and Advanced price plans for the iPhone 8:
The amount of money you save will depend on the handset you choose, as well as the tariff and how much data you require on it. For further information, see the Three website for a list of available handsets and tariffs.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’re joining Three as a new customer, it’s a straightforward process to keep your current phone number.
When the new phone or SIM card arrives, you’ll need to fill out this form on Three’s website. After you submit your PAC Code, Three will schedule the transfer of your phone number (normally for the next working day). In the meantime, you’ll continue receiving a service from your old network.
For step-by-step instructions on transferring a phone number to Three, please select your current mobile network:
For more information on transferring your phone number between networks, please see our guide to using a PAC Code.