Three offers unlimited home broadband from £20/month with no need for a phone line. See how their HomeFi service compares to rival ISPs.

In the UK, 4G technology has now developed to the point where it can feasibly be used as an alternative to fixed-line home broadband. The 4G-powered HomeFi service from Three is one of the first products to bring this to the mass-market. You can currently get unlimited data for just £20/month on a 24-month contract.

As 4G-powered home broadband doesn’t require a landline, it’s perfect if you’re looking for a fast and easy to setup home broadband connection. As it uses 4G technology, it also isn’t limited by the speeds you can get through a phone line or cable. Download speeds of up to 300Mbit/s are potentially available on the service, and there’s also the flexibility to bring your broadband connection with you to a different address at any time.

In this article, we’ll review Three’s 4G home broadband service (also known as HomeFi) including the price plans available and the router that’s provided with the service. We’ll also look at the download speeds available on Three home broadband before comparing the service to rival internet service providers. Finally, we’ll discuss the coverage that’s available on Three’s HomeFi service.

Three Home Broadband Plans

HomeFi Price Plans

For many people, 4G technology can now deliver similar or even faster download speeds than traditional fixed-line home broadband. Three’s HomeFi Plus service gives you 4G home broadband with a maximum download speed of 300Mbit/s, though average speeds might be closer to 15-20Mbit/s in practice.

For customers wanting to replace their fixed-line home broadband connection, it’s currently possible to get unlimited data for £20/month on Three Broadband. You’ll get a new HomeFi Plus router (the Huawei B535) included in the price when you take this on a 24-month contract. Alternatively, shorter 12-month or 1-month contracts are also available with a higher monthly price and an upfront fee for the router.

The following table shows a full list of HomeFi price plans that are available at the time of writing:

Data AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£20/month
with special offer
Unlimited Data12 month contract£29£27/month
Unlimited Data1 month contract£79£31/month

See all Three HomeFi Plus Deals →

As of September 2019, Three is providing an upgraded router to all new 4G home broadband customers. You’ll now get the faster Huawei B535 router (also known as the HomeFi Plus) rather than the old HomeFi B311 router.

If you decide to replace your landline connection with a HomeFi, it might be possible for you to stop paying a rental charge for your landline. This should save you in the region of £20/month, potentially making the HomeFi close to a cost-neutral solution.

Special Offer

As a special time-limited offer, Three is currently offering a £2/month discount when you get the new Huawei B535 router (HomeFi Plus). This means you’ll pay just £20/month on a 24-month contract, rather than the normal cost of £22/month.

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three HomeFi Plus
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£20/month
with special offer

To get the £2/month discount, you’ll need to purchase the Huawei B535 through this special link. It isn’t necessary to use any voucher codes during checkout but you’ll need to complete the entire order process online.

Get £2/month discount on Huawei B535 →

Other Broadband Plans

Huawei AI Cube: 4G Broadband with built-in Amazon Alexa

As an alternative to the regular HomeFi Plus service, Three also offers the Huawei AI Cube on their 4G home broadband. This is a two-in-one device combining a 4G home broadband router with an Amazon Alexa smart speaker for controlling your smart home devices. You can also use the AI Cube to listen to music and to make internet-based phone calls.

At present, you’ll pay around £5/month extra to get an AI Cube with unlimited data on Three:

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three AI Cube
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£25/month

Three AI Cube
Unlimited Data12 month contract£49£32/month

Three AI Cube
Unlimited Data1 month contract£149£32/month

You can see a full list of AI Cube price plans on the Three website.

Three Home 5G: Faster download speeds in parts of London

For customers living in a 5G coverage area, it’s possible to get Three’s 5G-powered home broadband service. In theory, the 5G-powered service can offer up to gigabit download speeds (1,000Mbit/s) but Three says an average download speed of 100Mbit/s is much more realistic.

The following table shows Three’s 5G home broadband plans:

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three 5G Home
Unlimited Data12 month contract£0£35/month

You can check on the Three Broadband website to see whether the service is available where you live. You can also read our full review of Three’s 5G home broadband service.

HomeFi Broadband Routers

Huawei B535 HomeFi+

As of September 2019, Three is providing new 4G broadband customers with an inclusive Huawei B535 4G LTE wireless router (often referred to as the HomeFi Plus router).

The upgraded HomeFi Plus router allows you to obtain Category 7 LTE download speeds on the Three network (up to 300Mbit/s download and up to 100Mbit/s upload). In practice, however, actual download speeds will be slower than this and will depend on where you live (something like 15-20Mbit/s is probably more realistic).

You can share your HomeFi broadband connection with up to 64 devices through dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity (with full support for 802.11ac wi-fi). There are also 4 Gigabit Ethernet sockets available for connecting wired devices to your network. Two SMA sockets are also available for attaching an external antenna if required.

For more information, please see the full HomeFi Plus specifications on Three’s website.

Huawei B311 HomeFi

Prior to September 2019, Three provided their 4G home broadband customers with a Huawei B311 4G LTE wireless router. The Huawei B311 is no longer available to new customers, though many existing customers may still be using one.

The Huawei B311 allows you to share a wi-fi connection with up to 32 devices at one time using 802.11b/g/n technology. The router supports up to Category 4 LTE speeds (up to 150Mbit/s download and 50Mbit/s upload) but download speeds will typically be lower than this depending on your location. You can use the router’s built-in antenna, or you can connect the router to an external SMA antenna for better coverage and higher speeds.

The main downside of the Huawei B311 router is it only supports Category 4 LTE speeds (up to 150Mbit/s download and up to 50Mbit/s upload). In addition, the router only supports single-band Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n technology at 2.4GHz). For this reason, we think the Huawei B535 HomeFi Plus router is a much better option and is well worth the upgrade for most people.

Side-By-Side Comparison

For faster download speeds and better performance, we’d always recommend choosing the newer Huawei B535 (HomeFi Plus) router. This is because it supports Category 7 LTE speeds (up to 300Mbit/s download and up to 100Mbit/s upload), which is double the maximum speeds you can get on the old HomeFi B311. You’ll also get dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, including 802.11ac technology, on up to 64 devices at one time. The Huawei B535 also has three additional Gigabit Ethernet sockets for connecting wired devices to your network.

If you’re looking for a 4G router that also incorporates the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, Three also sells the Huawei AI Cube B900 router. This supports Category 6 LTE speeds (up to 300Mbit/s) on up to 64 devices at one time. There’s also a single Ethernet socket for connecting a wired device to your network. Unfortunately, the AI Cube lacks a SMA socket so you can’t connect an external antenna to improve the coverage on it. You can get unlimited data on the AI Cube router for £25/month.

The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of the new HomeFi Plus, the AI Cube and the original HomeFi router:

Three HomeFi Plus
(Huawei B535)
Three AI Cube
(Huawei B900)
Three HomeFi
(Huawei B311)
Home Broadband Plans
Price:From £20/monthFrom £25/month
Data:UnlimitedUnlimited
Unlimited Data:£20/month£25/month
Contract Length:1-24 months1-24 months
Mobile Connectivity
4G Connectivity:Category 7 LTECategory 6 LTECategory 4 LTE
4G Download Speed:Up to 300 Mbit/s downloadUp to 300 Mbit/s downloadUp to 150 Mbit/s download
4G Upload Speed:Up to 100 Mbit/s uploadUp to 50 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 & 38LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8 & 20
External Antenna:Yes, 2x SMA connectorsNoYes, 1x SMA connector
Home Network Connectivity
Dual-Band Wi-Fi:YesYesNo
Wi-Fi Connectivity:802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11b/g/n
Wi-Fi Devices:Up to 64 devicesUp to 64 devicesUp to 32 devices
Ethernet:4 Gigabit Ethernet ports1 Gigabit Ethernet port1 Gigabit Ethernet port
Other
Model:Huawei B535Huawei B900Huawei B311
Colour:WhiteWhiteBlack
Other Features:-360° Alexa smart speaker-
Review:Three HomeFi Plus ReviewThree AI Cube ReviewThree HomeFi Review

For most people, we’d recommend choosing the normal HomeFi Plus router (Huawei B535) instead of the two-in-one AI Cube B900 device. Although the AI Cube additionally gives you Alexa smart speaker functionality, you’ll lose out with poorer connectivity options (including slower 4G uploads, just a single Gigabit Ethernet socket and the lack of an external SMA antenna connector). With the money you’d save choosing a Huawei B535, you can easily buy a standalone Amazon Echo speaker that works with your Huawei B535.

Three Broadband Speed

4G & 5G Broadband Speeds

On Three’s 4G home broadband service, download speeds are often comparable or even faster than fixed-line home broadband.

The absolute maximum download speed supported is 300Mbit/s on Three’s 4G home broadband (using either the Huawei B535 or AI Cube router). With the 5G Home router, it’s theoretically possible to get up to gigabit download speeds when connected to a 5G network.

Real-World Speeds

Whilst the maximum download speeds sound fairly impressive, actual real-world download speeds will normally be much slower than this. For instance, it depends on the strength of the network signal you receive and whether it’s a 3G, 4G or 5G connection. Some people might live in a coverage blackspot whereas others may live in an area with really strong coverage.

It’s best to use Three’s online coverage map to see whether a signal is available where you live.

Check Three Broadband Coverage →

The position of the router in your home can often make a big difference to download speeds you get. Normally it’s best to have your router on an upstairs windowsill, ideally facing in the direction of your nearest mast. Having an external antenna can also help by giving you a stronger 4G signal. External factors like the weather or congestion on nearby masts can also affect the download speeds you receive on the service.

Because download speeds can vary based on multiple different factors, Three generally takes a fairly conservative approach when it comes to marketing their download speeds. They normally say you’ll get around 14Mbit/s on 4G home broadband (HomeFi) and around 100Mbit/s on 5G home broadband. This is based on peak-hour download speeds from 8pm-10pm. In practice, however, you might be able to get higher download speeds than this (or slower download speeds if you’re in an area with poor coverage or congestion).

Comparison to Fixed-Line Speeds

For comparison, traditional fixed-line ISPs like BT, Sky and TalkTalk normally advertise a standard broadband (ADSL) package with average download speeds of 11Mbit/s. The average download speeds on Three’s 4G home broadband service should easily surpass this.

Fibre broadband packages using the Openreach FTTC network (including BT, Plusnet, Sky and TalkTalk) normally offer average download speeds of up to 67Mbit/s. Comparable download speeds can sometimes be obtained on 4G broadband if you’re in an area with good 4G coverage. Alternatively, the average 5G home broadband connection should easily beat this.

It’s worth noting that Virgin Media offers higher download speeds on their cable-based network (up to 362Mbit/s at the time of writing).

Latency

Latency is the amount of time it takes for your device to send data to the internet and for a response to be received. It’s also known as “lag” or “ping” if you’re familiar with online gaming.

On Three’s 4G home broadband service, the typical latency is around 50ms (0.05 seconds). This is slightly higher than on traditional fixed-line ADSL or fibre broadband services, where the latency is about 20ms (0.02 seconds).

For things like browsing the internet or watching TV shows, the extra wait of around 0.03 seconds will barely be noticeable. However, it could affect some fast-paced online multiplayer games like Call of Duty, Halo, or Counter-Strike on your Xbox, PlayStation or PC.

Alternatives

Comparison to Fixed Broadband

Three’s HomeFi service uses 4G mobile network technology to provide a home broadband service. This differs from traditional fixed-line home broadband services which use either a phone line or cable connection.

The key advantages of 4G broadband compared to traditional fixed broadband are:

  • There’s no need to pay for a home phone line. Unless you’d like to keep your landline for another reason, it’s possible to do away with it entirely when you’re using 4G home broadband. This can save you in the region of £20/month on line rental.
  • 4G broadband is faster to set up. There’s no need to wait for a phone line to be installed or activated. This makes it perfect for some new-build houses, or if you’ve just moved to another address and don’t want to wait for broadband to be set up. Next-day delivery of your router is available for free when you join Three’s home broadband service.
  • You can bring 4G broadband with you, wherever you go. With 4G broadband, you have the flexibility to bring your router with you to a different location. For instance, if you decide to go on a weekend away, simply bring your router with you and get an instant 4G broadband connection.
  • 4G & 5G broadband will eventually over-take fixed broadband in download speed. At present, 4G broadband is comparable in speed to a traditional fixed broadband connection. In the next few years, 5G technology is due to roll out with Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) playing a bit part of this. 5G FWA will offer increased network capacity along with download speeds of up to 1Gbit/s (1,000Mbit/s).
  • 4G broadband can be best in rural locations. In many rural locations, BT Openreach and Virgin Media have refused to install fibre broadband due to the prohibitive costs. In such areas, it is often far more economical to install a 4G mast and to deliver high-speed broadband over a 4G connection.

There are also some key disadvantages of 4G broadband:

  • 4G broadband is more easily affected by network congestion and poor weather. For instance, you may see a slowdown in your connection due to poor weather conditions or due to lots of other people using the service in your area. This tends to be less of a problem on traditional fixed-line broadband services.
  • Download speeds vary depending on location and proximity to nearby masts. For this reason, the maximum download speed of 300Mbit/s can rarely be obtained. You can maximise your download speed by placing the router close to a window, and installing an external SMA antenna.
  • Latency or “ping” is higher on 4G broadband. The latency (also known as “lag” or “ping”) on 4G broadband is typically about 50ms (0.05 seconds). This is higher than fixed-line broadband where the latency is typically 10-20ms (0.01-0.02 seconds). This shouldn’t noticeably affect things like browsing the internet or watching videos online, but it could affect fast-paced online gaming.
  • 4G broadband is typically more expensive. Historically, 4G broadband connections have been much more expensive than fixed-line broadband connections. For instance, it’s normally possible to get unlimited data on a fixed broadband connection for around £20 to £25 per month. With Three’s HomeFi service, 4G broadband is now comparable in price to fixed broadband. However, other providers are still much more expensive (e.g. Vodafone charges £50/month for unlimited data on their GigaCube service).

Other 4G Broadband Services

The closest alternative to getting a HomeFi is getting Three’s two-in-one 4G broadband router with a built-in Amazon Alexa smart speaker: the Huawei AI Cube B900.

Huawei AI Cube

The Huawei AI Cube B900 router will cost an extra £5/month on top of the HomeFi. It comes with a built-in Amazon Alexa smart speaker and supports Category 6 LTE download speeds:

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three AI Cube
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£25/month

Three AI Cube
Unlimited Data12 month contract£49£32/month

Three AI Cube
Unlimited Data1 month contract£149£32/month

See all Three AI Cube Deals →

For more information, please read our full review of the AI Cube B900.

Other Networks

You can also get 4G-powered home broadband services from Vodafone and EE.

Vodafone offers the GigaCube 4G home broadband service. It starts from £30/month for 100GB of data, or £50/month if you’d like an unlimited data allowance.

Vodafone offers the Huawei B528 router with no upfront cost on an 18-month contract:

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Vodafone GigaCube 4G
100GB Data18 month contract£0£30/month

Vodafone GigaCube 4G
200GB Data18 month contract£0£40/month

Vodafone GigaCube 4G
Unlimited Data18 month contract£0£50/month

EE also offers a 4G home broadband service in the form of 4GEE Home. Unfortunately, however, they don’t offer any unlimited data plans. Instead, you’ll need to choose a data allowance between 10GB and 500GB per month as follows:

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

4GEE Home
10GB Data18 month contract£129.99£25/month

4GEE Home
100GB Data18 month contract£0£35/month

4GEE Home
50GB Data18 month contract£0£35/month

4GEE Home
200GB Data18 month contract£0£40/month

4GEE Home
300GB Data18 month contract£0£45/month

4GEE Home
500GB Data18 month contract£0£50/month

For more information, please see the Vodafone GigaCube and 4GEE Home webpages.

5G Home Broadband

If you’re looking for a 5G home broadband solution, you can currently choose from Three’s 5G Home, Vodafone’s GigaCube 5G and EE’s 5GEE WiFi.

Three’s 5G Home service is currently available to customers in London. You’ll pay £35/month for unlimited data on a 12-month contract.

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three 5G Home
Unlimited Data12 month contract£0£35/month

For more information, see our full guide to 4G & 5G home broadband services in the UK.

Coverage

Unlike most other internet service providers, Three’s home broadband service doesn’t rely on a BT Openreach phone line or on a Virgin Media cable connection. For this reason, the coverage profile for Three Broadband is very different from other ISPs. You might still be able to get Three Broadband even if you’re unable to get fibre broadband from any other provider.

3G & 4G Coverage

Three Broadband currently offers 99.8% population coverage across the UK. This includes 99.8% coverage on 4G, as well as 98.7% coverage on 3G.

Before joining Three Broadband as a new customer, it’s strongly recommended that you check the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on Three’s online coverage map.

Check Three Coverage (three.co.uk) →

For more information, please see our full review of the coverage on Three.

5G Coverage

At the time of writing, Three’s 5G home broadband service is only available in parts of London. The best way to check whether 5G broadband is available where you live is through this page on Three’s website.

Check Three 5G Broadband Availability (three.co.uk) →

Once you’ve entered your postcode and address, you’ll be told about the plans that are available in your area. You’ll be offered a 4G broadband plan if 5G coverage isn’t yet available where you live.

Three says they’re planning to roll out 5G coverage in 25 towns and cities before the end of March 2020. The following table shows a list of locations that currently have a confirmed launch date for 5G:

Now Live1 towns and cities are live on Three 5G (December 2019)
London
Planned &
Announced
24 towns and cities planned
Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Derby, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Rotherham, Sheffield, Slough, Sunderland, Wolverhampton (End of 2019)

There’s more information about the 5G roll-out on Three’s website. Alternatively, see our in-depth guide to the coverage on Three.

International Roaming

On Three’s 4G home broadband service, it’s possible to use data abroad in 71 destinations at no extra charge. This is available as part of Three’s Go Roam offer.

If you’re travelling inside of Europe, it’s possible to use up to 19GB of data abroad each month. If you exceed this limit, a regulated surcharge will apply (currently 0.44p/MB, except from countries where VAT does not apply in which case you’ll pay 0.37p/MB).

If you’re travelling to a Go Roam country outside of Europe, it’s possible to use up to 12GB of data abroad each month. If you go over the 12GB limit, international roaming will be disabled for the rest of the month.

For more information, see our full review of Three’s Go Roam service.

International roaming is not currently available on Three’s 5G home broadband service.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Three Broadband cost?
You can get Three home broadband for £20/month with unlimited data and with the HomeFi Plus router included. As there’s no need for a phone line when using Three Broadband, you might be able to cancel your landline making it a cost-neutral solution.
Are there any special offers available on Three home broadband?
As a time-limited offer, it’s possible to get a £2/month discount on Three Broadband when you join through this special link. There’s no need to enter any voucher codes during checkout but you’ll need to complete the whole order process online.
What download speeds can I get on Three Broadband?
You can access download speeds of up to 300Mbit/s on Three’s 4G home broadband service. In practice, however, real-world speeds will vary based on the coverage in your area and based on the location of the router in your home. An external antenna can also affect the download speeds you receive.
How does the Huawei B535 (HomeFi Plus) compare to the AI Cube?
The Huawei B535 (HomeFi Plus) is a dedicated 4G home broadband router. Meanwhile, the AI Cube B900 is a two-in-one device combining a 4G home broadband router with an Amazon Alexa smart speaker. Because of this, compromises have been made with the network connectivity on the AI Cube (e.g. slower 4G upload speeds, only a single Gigabit Ethernet socket and no way to attach an external antenna).
What’s the coverage like on Three broadband?
Three offers 99.8% population coverage for their 4G broadband service in the UK. You can enter your postcode on their website to check the coverage in your area.
When will 5G broadband launch in my area?
On Three, 5G broadband is currently available only to customers in parts of London. By the end of March 2020, 5G broadband should be available in the 25 towns and cities listed on this page.

More Information

For more information about Three’s HomeFi broadband service, please see Three’s official webpage.

Your Comments 241 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 241 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Hi I use a VPN for work at least three days a week and currently use a Three mifi dongle or my phone’s Hotspot (on Three), all works perfectly for me

  • Hi Ken,
    I am thinking about going for Three but I use a VPN for some work applications. Do you know if Three block the vpn’s.

  • Got Three Broadband (previously Relish) for 10 months now and can’t wait to cancel contract in two months time. Initially no problems with reception / signal. After a few months, speed went down on Sunday nights, probably due to peak traffic at this time. Happy to get sth like 3Mbps. Then problems every evening/night. No way to watch iPlayer on anything like that. A number of long winded tech calls with support, I ended up taping router against a window. Slightly improved results for a few weeks. Now the same problems as before despite signal router showing 4/4 bars. Last download speed measured: 1.12 Mbps. Might work for a few but not for the many. And not for me.

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