Three offers unlimited 4G & 5G home broadband from £14/month. See how the plans compare.
In the UK, 4G technology has now developed to the point where it can be used as an alternative to traditional fixed-line home broadband.
Three’s 4G and 5G home broadband doesn’t require a landline. For this reason, you can get online the next day without an engineer visit. You also have the flexibility to bring your broadband connection with you to a different address. The download speeds on Three Broadband are not limited by your landline so it can also be a faster option in some areas.
In this article, we’ll review Three’s 4G and 5G home broadband service including the plans available and the download speeds you can get. We’ll also review the Three Broadband hubs before looking at the availability of the service and how it compares to other providers.
|Prices From:||£14 per month (4G Broadband)
£21 per month (5G Broadband)
|Contract Length:||12 months or 24 months|
|Download Speeds:||50Mbps (4G Broadband), 100Mbps+ (5G Broadband)
Will vary based on the signal strength & coverage in your area
|Router:||Three 4G Hub
Three 5G Hub
|Coverage:||Selected UK postcodes (check your postcode)|
- 1 Three Home Broadband Plans
- 2 Three Broadband Speeds
- 3 Three Broadband Hubs
- 4 Coverage & Availability
- 5 Alternatives
- 6 Three Mobile Broadband
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
- 8 More Information
Three Home Broadband Plans
In the UK, Three currently offers two different types of home broadband:
- Three’s 4G broadband is available from £14/month. It’s the most widely available option and has average download speeds of 50-100Mbps. In some places, you can access download speeds of up to 600Mbps.
- Three’s 5G broadband is available from £21/month. Currently available in selected postcodes across 194 UK towns and cities, it offers an average download speed of 100Mbps. Speeds of up to 1,000Mbps (1Gbps) are available on the service.
The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of the two services:
|Three 4G Broadband||Three 5G Broadband|
|Monthly Price:||£14 per month
|£21 per month
|Average Speed:||50-100Mbps download||100Mbps download|
|Maximum Speed:||Up to 600Mbps download
Up to 100Mbps upload
|Up to 1,000Mbps download|
|Contract Length:||24 months
|Data Allowance:||Unlimited Data||Unlimited Data|
|Router:||Three 4G Hub||Three 5G Hub|
|Availability:||25% of UK homes
Check availability →
|194 UK towns and cities
Check availability →
If you’re unable to get Three’s 4G home broadband service in your area, you can get the 4G Plus MiFi instead. This is a 4G mobile broadband hotspot with the additional benefit that you can use it as a battery-powered 4G hotspot.
4G Broadband Plans
For many people, 4G technology now delivers similar or even faster download speeds than traditional fixed-line home broadband.
On Three’s 4G home broadband, you can access ultrafast download speeds of up to 600Mbps. This does, however, vary substantially depending on where you live. Three says you should be able to expect an average download speed of 50-100Mbps on their new 4G Hub.
For customers wanting to replace their fixed-line home broadband connection, it’s currently possible to get unlimited 4G home broadband for just £14/month. There’s no upfront cost when you take this on a 24-month contract. Alternatively, a 12-month plan is also available, or a 24-month plan with an inclusive 32″ LG Smart TV.
The following table shows a full list of the 4G home broadband plans from Three:
|Data Allowance||Contract Length||Upfront Price||Monthly Price|
|Unlimited Data||24 month contract||£0||£14/month|
|Unlimited Data||12 month contract||£0||£25/month|
|Unlimited Data||1 month contract||£29||£30/month|
When you take 4G broadband from Three, you’ll get a new 4G Hub included in the price. This is also known as the ZTE MF286D.
If you decide to replace your landline connection with Three’s 4G home broadband, it might be possible for you to stop paying a rental charge on your landline. This should save you in the region of £20 per month, potentially making it close to a cost-neutral solution.
Between September 2019 and June 2021, 4G home broadband customers were provided with a Huawei B535 HomeFi Plus router. Prior to that, customers received the Huawei B311 HomeFi instead.
5G Broadband Plans
For customers living in a 5G coverage area, it will also be possible to get Three’s 5G home broadband service. This can offer up to gigabit download speeds (1,000Mbps) but Three says an average speed of 100Mbps is much more realistic.
At present, you can get 5G broadband for just £21/month on a 24-month plan.
The following table shows Three’s 5G home broadband plans:
|Data Allowance||Contract Length||Upfront Price||Monthly Price|
|Unlimited Data||24 month contract||£0||£21/month|
|Unlimited Data||12 month contract||£0||£31/month|
As a special offer for January 2022, Three has discounted their 4G and 5G home broadband plans.
If you’re looking for 4G home broadband, you can now get this for just £14/month on a 24-month plan. Alternatively, you can get 4G home broadband with a 32″ Toshiba TV for £11.50/month for the first six months, then £23/month.
If you’re looking for 5G home broadband, this has been discounted to just £21/month when you order through this link. Alternatively, you can pay a little bit more to get a 32″ Toshiba TV or a Samsung Chromebook 4+.
To get the savings, it isn’t necessary to use any voucher codes during checkout. However, you’ll need to complete the entire order process online.
Three Broadband Speeds
On Three’s home broadband service, you can access download speeds of up to 600Mbps on 4G and download speeds of up to 1,000Mbps on 5G. However, both of these are maximum theoretical speeds and the actual real-world download speeds will normally be slower than this.
The following factors can affect the download speeds you’ll get on Three Broadband:
- The 4G or 5G signal strength where you are. You’ll normally get faster download speeds if you’re located in an area with good 4G or 5G coverage.
- The location of your hub. To get the best performance, it’s normally best to place your 4G Hub or 5G Hub close to an upstairs window. This should face in the direction of your nearest mast.
- An external antenna can improve your speeds. Both the 4G Hub and the 5G Hub have a built-in antenna. If you’re living in an area with poor or marginal signal, adding an external antenna can significantly improve the speed and reliability of your connection.
- The capacity on your local mast. Your download speeds will also be affected by the amount of capacity available on your local mast. For instance, if lots of other people are also using the service at the same time, this may reduce the speeds you get.
Because of the large variation in download speeds based on multiple different factors, Three normally takes a fairly conservative approach when it comes to marketing their download speeds.
They normally say you’ll get an average download speed of 50-100Mbps on 4G home broadband and an average download speed of 100Mbps on 5G home broadband. This is based on peak-hour download speeds (between 8pm and 10pm). It’s also measured across the country, including areas where coverage might be poorer. In practice, you might be able to get much faster download speeds than the average (or much slower download speeds if you’re in an area with poor coverage or congested masts).
If you use Three’s broadband availability checker, they’ll run an automated check on coverage and capacity for you. This means you’ll only be offered a 4G or 5G home broadband plan if they think the signal is strong enough and if there’s enough capacity available where you are.
Three Broadband Hubs
When you sign up to Three’s 4G home broadband service, you’ll receive a 4G Hub router.
The 4G Hub router works in much the same way as any other broadband router, producing a secure Wi-Fi network for your other devices to connect to. You can connect up to 64 devices to your 4G Hub with full support for Wi-Fi 5 technology (802.11a/b/g/n/ac). There are also 4 Gigabit Ethernet sockets available for connecting wired devices to your home network and two SMA sockets for attaching an external antenna if required.
The 4G Hub supports up to Category 12/13 LTE speeds (up to 600Mbps download and up to 100Mbps upload). Compared to Three’s older 4G broadband routers, it should give much faster download speeds as it has support for newer technologies like 4×4 MIMO and 256QAM.
For more information, you can see the 4G Hub specifications on Three’s website. The 4G Hub is sometimes also referred to as the ZTE MF286D.
4G Plus Hub
If you choose to pay a little bit more for 4G home broadband, you can upgrade to Three’s 4G Plus Hub router.
The 4G Plus Hub router supports a more advanced form of 4G technology known as Category 18 LTE. This means it’s able to deliver even faster download speeds in areas where the network has been upgraded.
The 4G Plus Hub is sometimes also known as the Sercomm LTE2122GR. You can find out more about it on Three’s website.
If you sign up for Three’s 5G home broadband service, you’ll receive their 5G Hub router.
Three’s 5G Hub is a powerful 5G router, supporting download speeds of up to 2.33Gbps. Of course, today’s 5G networks won’t allow you to benefit from the full speeds. Instead, you’ll normally get around 100-200Mbps on average, with a peak download speed of around 1Gbps (1,000Mbps).
The 5G Hub supports Wi-Fi 6 technology (802.11a/b/
When you cancel your 5G home broadband service, you’ll need to return your 5G Hub router to Three. This is because it is leased for the duration of the service, unlike the 4G Hub which becomes your property.
Three’s 5G Hub is sometimes also referred to as the Huawei 5G CPE Pro (H112-370).
Coverage & Availability
Unlike most other broadband internet providers, Three’s home broadband service doesn’t rely on a phone line or cable. For this reason, the locations where you can get a service from Three Broadband will be very different to other fibre broadband providers.
At present, Three’s 4G home broadband service is available in around 7.1 million UK households. This is roughly 25% of all UK homes. Meanwhile, 5G home broadband is available in selected postcodes across 194 UK towns and cities.
You can check the availability where you live by entering your postcode on this page:
In some cases, you might not be able to get a home broadband plan, even if you’re inside Three’s 4G coverage area as shown on their coverage map. If this is the case, you’ll be shown the following error message:
We’re on our way
We’re busy expanding our network to connect more homes.
You then have two options if you still want to get 4G broadband on Three:
- You can get 4G broadband on the 4G Plus MiFi instead. Three’s 4G Plus MiFi is a mobile broadband router with the added advantage that you can use it more easily on-the-go. It’s available to 99% of UK’s population. You can get unlimited data on the 4G Plus MiFi for £22/month. Find out how it compares to the 4G Hub.
- You can do-it-yourself using a unlocked 4G router. If you like, you can always build your own 4G or 5G home broadband service. Start with an unlocked 4G router like the Huawei B311 or the Huawei B535. You can also buy an unlocked 5G router like the Huawei 5G CPE Pro. Once you have an unlocked 4G or 5G router, you can put an unlimited data SIM card inside it. For instance, Three currently offers a 5G-ready unlimited data SIM card for only £16 per month.
Three Broadband VS Fibre Broadband
The Three Broadband service uses 4G or 5G technology to deliver broadband internet into your home. This differs from fibre broadband providers who use a phone line or cable instead.
The key advantages of 4G broadband compared to traditional fixed-line 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 could eventually over-take fixed broadband in download speed. At present, 4G broadband is comparable in speed to a traditional fixed broadband connection. Meanwhile, the average download speed on 5G home broadband is faster than many fibre broadband services.
- 4G broadband can be best in rural locations. In many rural locations, companies like 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 instead.
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 speeds of 600Mbps or 1,000Mbps can rarely be obtained in practice. You can maximise your download speed by placing the hub near to a window and installing an external antenna.
- Latency (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. On Three Broadband, the price of 4G and 5G broadband is now comparable to many fibre broadband services. However, similar 4G or 5G broadband packages available on other providers are still much more expensive than fixed-line broadband.
Other 4G & 5G Broadband Services
- EE offers 4G home broadband on 4GEE Home and 5G home broadband on 5GEE Home. Plans start from £35 per month for 100GB data up to £55 per month for unlimited 4G data.
- BT offers 4G home broadband with unlimited data from £45 per month. You can choose from two different plans with a maximum download speed of either 15Mbps or 30Mbps.
- Vodafone offers 4G and 5G home broadband on the GigaCube. Plans start from £30 per month for 100GB of data up to £60 per month for unlimited 5G data.
Three Mobile Broadband
As an alternative to Three’s 4G home broadband, you can get the 4G Plus MiFi instead. This is a 4G-powered mobile broadband router giving you the same underlying 4G service as on the 4G Hub.
The advantage of choosing a 4G Plus MiFi is it gives you a lot more flexibility for usage on-the-go. You can use it for up to 6 hours on battery power alone whereas the 4G Hub always needs to be plugged in at the wall. You can also use the 4G Plus MiFi in more places as Three offers 99% population coverage on 4G for this service.
The disadvantage of using a 4G Plus MiFi is it won’t be quite as powerful as the 4G Hub. You can still get Category 7 LTE download speeds of up to 300Mbps on the MiFi. However, you’ll only be able to share it with 10 devices at a time, whereas the 4G Hub allows you to share it with up to 64 devices. The Wi-Fi signal will also have a more limited range (around 10 meters, compared to 30 meters for the 4G Hub). There also isn’t the ability to use an external antenna or to attached wired devices using an Ethernet cable.
If you want the 4G Plus MiFi, you can get it on the following plans:
|Service||Data Allowance||Contract Length||Upfront Price||Monthly Price|
Three 4G Plus Mi-Fi
|Unlimited Data||24 month contract||£0||£22/month|
with £50 reward card
Three 4G Plus Mi-Fi
|40GB Data||24 month contract||£0||£17/month|
Three 4G Plus Mi-Fi
|10GB Data||24 month contract||£0||£12/month|
Shorter 12-month and 1-month plans are also available, with a small upfront cost for the device.
For more information, see our Three mobile broadband review.
Frequently Asked Questions
|How much does Three Broadband cost?||
You can get Three’s 4G home broadband for £14/month with unlimited data on the 4G Hub. 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?|
|What download speeds can I get on Three Broadband?||
You can get download speeds of up to 600Mbps on Three’s 4G home broadband and download speeds of up to 1,000Mbps on Three’s 5G home broadband.
In practice, real-world download speeds will depend on the coverage in your home and based on factors such as where you decide to put your hub. An external antenna can also improve the download speeds you get.
Across the entire country, Three says the average download speed is 50-100Mbps on 4G broadband and 100Mbps on 5G broadband.
|What’s the coverage like on Three broadband?||
Three’s 4G home broadband service is currently available in around 25% of all UK households. Meanwhile, their 5G broadband is available in selected postcodes across 194 UK towns and cities. You can enter your postcode on the Three website to check the coverage where you live.
|How does Three’s home broadband service differ from mobile broadband?||
Three’s 4G home broadband and 4G mobile broadband service both use the same underlying coverage and signal. The main difference is the device you’re getting. Whereas the 4G home broadband hub is a mains-powered device, the 4G mobile wi-fi hotspot is a battery-powered device. The 4G Hub gives a stronger Wi-Fi signal and is able to support more connected devices. However, it’s less portable than the mobile broadband hotspot.
For more information about Three’s home broadband service, please see Three’s official webpage.