Three offers unlimited home broadband from £17/month with no need for a phone line. See how their broadband service (HomeFi) 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. Three’s 4G-powered home broadband service bring this technology to the mass market, and has been discounted to £17/month for Black Friday 2020.

As 4G 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 300Mbps are available on the service, and there’s also the flexibility to bring your broadband connection with you to another address at any time.

See all Three Broadband Black Friday Offers →

In this article, we’ll review Three’s 4G home broadband service (also known as HomeFi) including the price plans available and the hub 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 home broadband service.

Three Home Broadband Plans

4G Broadband Plans

For many people, 4G technology can now deliver similar or even faster download speeds than traditional fixed-line home broadband. With Three’s 4G home broadband, you can access download speeds of up to 300Mbps, though average speeds might be closer to 15-20Mbps in practice.

For customers wanting to replace their fixed-line home broadband connection, it’s currently possible to get unlimited data for just £17/month on Three Broadband (discounted from the normal price of £22/month). There’s no upfront cost when you take this on a 24-month contract. Alternatively, a 12-month plan is available for £20/month plus £19 upfront, or a 1-month rolling plan for £30/month plus £49 upfront.

The following table shows a full list of 4G home broadband price plans from Three:

Data AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£17/month
Unlimited Data12 month contract£19£20/month
Unlimited Data1 month contract£49£30/month

See all Three Broadband Deals →

When you take 4G broadband from Three, you’ll get a 4G Hub included in the price. This is sometimes also known as the Huawei HomeFi Plus or the Huawei B535. Prior to September 2019, customers were provided with the old Huawei HomeFi router (Huawei B311).

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 for your landline. This should save you in the region of £20 per month, potentially making it close to a cost-neutral solution.

Black Friday Offer

As a special time-limited offer for Black Friday 2020, Three is offering a £5/month discount on their 4G home broadband service. This means you get the unlimited data on the 4G Hub from just £17/month, instead of the normal cost of £22/month.

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

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

To get the £5/month discount, you’ll need to order your home broadband service through this link. It isn’t necessary to use any voucher codes during checkout but you’ll need to complete the whole order process online.

Get £5/month Black Friday discount on Huawei B535 →

5G Broadband Plans

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

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

ServiceData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price

Three 5G Hub
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£24/month

Three 5G Hub
Unlimited Data12 month contract£0£29/month

You can check on the Three Broadband website to see whether the 5G 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 Plus

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

The upgraded HomeFi Plus router allows you to obtain Category 7 LTE download speeds on the Three network (up to 300Mbps download and up to 100Mbps upload). In practice, however, actual download speeds will be slower than this and will depend on where you live (something like 15-20Mbps 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 150Mbps download and 50Mbps 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 150Mbps download and up to 50Mbps 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 300Mbps download and up to 100Mbps 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 offers the Huawei AI Cube B900 router (also known as the 4G Hub with Alexa). This supports Category 6 LTE speeds (up to 300Mbps) 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.

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

Three 4G Hub
(Huawei B535 HomeFi Plus)
Three 4G Hub with Alexa
(Huawei AI Cube B900)
Three HomeFi
(Huawei B311)
Home Broadband Plans
Price:From £17/monthFrom £23/month
Data:UnlimitedUnlimited
Unlimited Data:£17/month£23/month
Contract Length:1-24 months1-24 months
Mobile Connectivity
4G Connectivity:Category 7 LTECategory 6 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 B535 HomeFi PlusHuawei AI Cube B900Huawei B311
Colour:WhiteWhiteBlack
Other Features:-360° Alexa smart speaker. Free Amazon Echo Dot.-
Review:Three 4G Hub ReviewThree 4G Hub with Alexa ReviewThree HomeFi Review

For most people, we’d recommend choosing the normal 4G Hub or HomeFi Plus router (Huawei B535) instead of the two-in-one 4G Hub with Alexa (AI Cube B900) device. Although the AI Cube gives you an additional Amazon Alexa smart speaker, you’ll lose out with poorer connectivity options (including slower 4G uploads, only 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 can often be comparable or even faster than fixed-line home broadband.

The absolute maximum download speed supported is 300Mbps on Three’s 4G home broadband. With the 5G Hub, 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 checker 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 the 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 from Three. Having an external antenna can also help by giving you a stronger 4G signal. External factors like the weather or congestion on your local mast can also affect the download speeds you receive on the service.

Because download speeds can vary substantially 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 14Mbps on 4G home broadband (HomeFi) and around 100Mbps on 5G home broadband. This is based on peak-hour download speeds (between 8pm and 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 10Mbps. The average download speeds on Three’s 4G home broadband service should normally surpass this.

Fibre broadband packages using the Openreach FTTC network (including BT, Plusnet, Sky and TalkTalk) normally offer average download speeds of around 67Mbps. 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.

Some fixed-line ISPs offer ultrafast broadband with even faster speeds. For instance, Virgin Media offers download speeds of up to 1,104Mbps on their Gig1 fibre broadband service. Alternatively, there are full fibre services like Vodafone Gigafast Broadband and Hyperoptic Broadband which offer symmetrical download speeds and upload speeds of 900Mbps.

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 which uses 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 could 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 1Gbps (1,000Mbps).
  • 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 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 speed of 300Mbps 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. For instance, EE charges £50/month for 500GB of data and Vodafone charges £50/month for unlimited data on the GigaCube.

Other 4G Broadband Services

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

On EE’s 4GEE Home, a range of broadband data plans are available from £35/month. The entry-level plan comes with just 50GB of data per month, increasing up to 500GB per month on the most expensive plan:

NetworkData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price
EE
4GEE Home
100GB Data18 month contract£0£35/month
EE
4GEE Home
200GB Data18 month contract£0£40/month
EE
4GEE Home
300GB Data18 month contract£0£45/month
EE
4GEE Home
500GB Data18 month contract£0£50/month

On Vodafone, you can sign up for the GigaCube 4G home broadband service. This starts from £30/month for 100GB of data, £40/month for 200GB of data or £50/month for 300GB of data. You’ll get the Huawei B528 router with no upfront cost on an 18-month contract:

NetworkData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
100GB Data18 month contract£0£30/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
200GB Data18 month contract£0£40/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 4G
300GB Data18 month contract£0£50/month

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

5G Home Broadband

If you’re looking for a faster 5G home broadband solution, you can choose from Three’s 5G home broadband, Vodafone’s GigaCube 5G and EE’s 5GEE Home. All three services come with a Huawei 5G CPE Pro router, with a range of different data plans and allowances available:

NetworkData AllowanceContract LengthUpfront PriceMonthly Price
Three
Three 5G Hub
Unlimited Data24 month contract£0£24/month
Three
Three 5G Hub
Unlimited Data12 month contract£0£29/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 5G
100GB Data18 month contract£100£30/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 5G
100GB Data1 month contract£325£30/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 5G
200GB Data18 month contract£50£40/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 5G
200GB Data1 month contract£325£40/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 5G
Unlimited Data18 month contract£50£50/month
Vodafone
Vodafone GigaCube 5G
Unlimited Data1 month contract£325£50/month
EE
5GEE Home
1000GB Data18 month contract£100£70/month
To show you the most relevant plans, 4 similar but more expensive plans have been hidden. .

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 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 read our full review of the coverage on Three.

5G Coverage

Three’s 5G home broadband service is available in selected postcodes in over 60 towns and cities across the UK. 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 where you live. You’ll be offered a 4G broadband plan if 5G coverage isn’t yet available in your area.

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 your data abroad in 71 destinations at no extra charge. This is available as part of Three’s Go Roam offer.

If you’re travelling within Europe, it’s possible to use up to 20GB of data abroad each month. If you exceed this limit, a regulated surcharge will apply (currently 0.3p/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’s home broadband for £17/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?
As a special time-limited offer for Black Friday 2020, it’s possible to get a £5/month discount on Three Broadband when you join through this 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 300Mbps 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 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 available to customers in selected postcodes across the UK. To check whether it’s available where you live, enter your postcode on their 5G broadband coverage checker.

More Information

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

Your Comments 284 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 284 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Hi, good information thanks.

    I’m moving and want a backup broadband option in case the Openreach circuit is poor.

    A question – does the Three 4G router have a SIM socket and can I also use the SIM in a mobile phone if I wanted to?

    • Hi Rob,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, the router has a SIM card slot inside it. If you liked, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to use the SIM card in another device (e.g. in your phone), though it doesn’t have any minutes or texts included on it.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Had Three 4G service for 4 years (it started out as Relish). It’s awful. Just godawful. This year service has been 1-2.5MB most of the time. Upload is often faster than d/l. I’m near Tower Bridge and it’s basically rural broadband or dial-up levels of speed most of the time. 5G service replaces it in November… but let’s just say my expectations of 5G are low…

  • Hi, this is all very helpful and informative. One question: I’m really tempted by the £15/m offer except for the question of coverage. I live in a boat and currently use my Three mobile personal hotspot for wifi. The signal’s fine for most things, but has a tendency to drop connection with my computer. Lockdown has meant an increasing amount of teaching and meetings happening online, so this dropout is really annoying. I have an old Mifi from a previous contract, and don’t have the same issue if I put my sim in there, so think this will be a good alternative. Anyway, if I search specifically for Home Broadband coverage on the Three website, it says that there isn’t any at may address but it’s coming soon. Searching the next postcode along says the service is good. If I use the network coverage link you have above, it says network good where I live. Is the network for Home Broadband different in some way from normal coverage? I’m not expecting/needing superfast speed, and am happy enough with the signal strength here on my hotspot. Will this translate to the Home Broadband? Thanks!

    • Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for your comment. It’s the same 4G network that Three uses for their mobile & home broadband coverage. However, I believe they currently only allow people from certain postcodes to order the 4G home broadband service. This is to regulate/control the amount of people using their service in each area & to prevent congestion on the network. If you’re able to order the service and currently get good speeds on a MiFi or phone, you should also be able to get these speeds on 4G home broadband.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

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