Three’s HomeFi gives you fast 4G home broadband with unlimited downloads for £20/month.

4G technology has now developed to the point where it can feasibly be used as an alternative to fixed broadband that’s delivered through a phone line or cable. Three’s HomeFi is one of the first products to bring this to the mass-market, with unlimited data currently being offered for £20/month on a 24-month contract.

HomeFi technology is perfect if you’re looking for a fast and easy to setup home broadband connection. Because it uses 4G technology that’s delivered over the airwaves, it isn’t limited by the speeds you can get through a phone line or cable. Download speeds of up to 300Mbit/s are available on the service, making it a potential alternative to fibre broadband in both urban and rural areas. There’s also the flexibility to easily bring your connection with you at any time to another address without the need to set up a new connection.

In this article, we’ll review Three’s HomeFi service including the price plans available and the included wireless router. We’ll also compare the HomeFi service to traditional home broadband that’s delivered through a BT phone line or cable.

HomeFi Price Plans

For many people, 4G technology can now deliver similar or even faster download speeds compared to traditional fixed home broadband. Three’s new 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 with a HomeFi, it’s currently possible to get unlimited data for £20/month. 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, a shorter 12-month or 1-month contract is also available.

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 HomeFi 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 the checkout but you’ll need to complete the entire order process online.

Get £2/month discount on Huawei B535 →

Huawei HomeFi Wireless Routers

Huawei B535 HomeFi+

As of September 2019, Three is providing all new HomeFi customers with an inclusive Huawei B535 4G LTE wireless 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 reality, however, actual download speeds will be lower 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 (with full support for 802.11ac technology). There are also 4 Gigabit Ethernet sockets available to you for connecting wired devices to your network. Two SMA sockets are also available for attaching an external antenna if needed.

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

Huawei B311 HomeFi

Prior to September 2019, Three provided their HomeFi customers with a Huawei B311 4G LTE wireless router. The Huawei B311 is no longer available to new customers, though many existing HomeFi 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 either the 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 supports Category 7 LTE speeds (up to 300Mbit/s download and 100Mbit/s upload), which is double the maximum speed 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 a wired device to your network.

If you’re looking for a 4G router that also incorporates the Amazon Alexa voice assistant, Three also retails the Huawei AI Cube B900 router. It supports Category 6 LTE speeds (up to 300Mbit/s) on up to 64 devices at one time. There’s also an Ethernet socket for connecting wired devices to your network, but the AI Cube lacks a SMA socket so you can’t connect an external antenna to 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 HomeFi, HomeFi+ and AI Cube routers:

Three HomeFi
(Huawei B311)
Three HomeFi Plus
(Huawei B535)
Three AI Cube
(Huawei B900)
Home Broadband Plans
Price:From £20/monthFrom £25/month
Data:UnlimitedUnlimited
Unlimited Data:Not available£20/month£25/month
Contract Length:1-24 months1-24 months
Mobile Connectivity
4G Connectivity:Category 4 LTECategory 7 LTECategory 6 LTE
4G Download Speed:Up to 150 Mbit/s downloadUp to 300 Mbit/s downloadUp to 300 Mbit/s download
4G Upload Speed:Up to 50 Mbit/s uploadUp to 100 Mbit/s uploadUp to 50 Mbit/s upload
4G Bands:LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8 & 20LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 28, 32 & 38LTE bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 32 & 38
External Antenna:Yes, 1x SMA connectorYes, 2x SMA connectorsNo
Home Network Connectivity
Dual-Band Wi-Fi:NoYesYes
Wi-Fi Connectivity:802.11b/g/n802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Wi-Fi Devices:Up to 32 devicesUp to 64 devicesUp to 64 devices
Ethernet:1 Gigabit Ethernet port4 Gigabit Ethernet ports1 Gigabit Ethernet port
Other
Model:Huawei B311Huawei B535Huawei B900
Colour:BlackWhiteWhite
Other Features:--360° Alexa smart speaker
Review:Three HomeFi ReviewThree HomeFi Plus ReviewThree AI Cube Review

You can also buy an unlocked router from other places, independently of what Three sells through their website. For instance, the Huawei B525 router is available for around £120, with very similar specifications to the Huawei B535. This can be used in conjunction with an unlimited data SIM card from Three.

For a real high-end router, consider the Huawei B618 which supports Category 11 LTE speeds (up to 600Mbit/s). Currently, you won’t be able to benefit from this extra speed on Three’s network. However, the more expensive router allows you to future-proof yourself somewhat and means you can benefit from faster speeds when the service is rolled out.

Alternatives

The main 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

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

Other Networks

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 currently offer any unlimited data plans. 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

Three offers 99.8% population coverage on its 4G mobile network and 98.3% population coverage on its 3G network.

Before joining Three HomeFi, it’s strongly recommended 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) →

Customers with a Three HomeFi can also use their service abroad in other countries through the Go Roam offer.

For more information about the coverage on different mobile networks, please see our in-depth guide to mobile network coverage in the UK.

Comparison to Fixed Broadband

Three’s HomeFi service uses 4G mobile network technology to provide a broadband service. This differs from traditional fixed-line home broadband services which typically use either a phone line or a 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. Free next-day delivery is available on all of Three’s 4G broadband routers.
  • 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 at present:

  • 4G broadband is more easily affected by network congestion and poor weather. For instance, you may see a reduction in your download speed due to poor weather conditions or lots of other people using the service in your area. This tends to be less of a problem on traditional fixed 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. Latency (also known as the “lag” or “ping”) refers to the amount of time it takes for data to travel up and then back down from the internet. On a 4G connection, typical latency is around ~50ms (0.05 seconds). Meanwhile, fixed broadband connections typically offer lower latency of around 10-20ms (0.01-0.02 seconds). This shouldn’t noticeably affect things like browsing the internet or watching online videos, but it may affect fast-paced online gaming. With 5G technology, latency should reduce to around 1ms (0.001 seconds).
  • 4G broadband is typically more expensive. Historically, 4G broadband connections have been much more expensive than fixed 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 but other providers are still much more expensive (e.g. Vodafone charges £50/month for unlimited data on the GigaCube service).

More Information

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

Your Comments 210 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 210 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Hi Ken,
    I recently changed over from a normal lane line broadband to 3s 4g Huawei 535 router. I’ve been having a few issues with download speeds. I’ve moved the router around the house looking for a good spot, I seem to get a full signal most of the time fluctuating between 4 and 5 bars strength. However, the speed of downloading ranges between 6/7mbps up into the teens and even drops below 5 in some cases. I haven’t invested in a external aerial because of receiving what appears to be a good signal. If I bought an external aerial would this increase my download speed?
    Thank you for your time
    Barry

    • Hi Barry,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, it’s really difficult for me to say: the only way to find out for sure is ordering an antenna and trying it out to see what impact it has. An external antenna should normally give you a far more stable connection and may allow your router to find other masts which may offer faster download speeds or more capacity than the one you’re currently using.
      On the other hand, it’s possible an antenna will have no impact for you. This might be the case if your download speeds are currently being limited by capacity on your nearest mast – if so, using an antenna isn’t likely to give you a huge amount of benefit.
      The best advice I could probably give would be to try out an external antenna, but to double-check the returns policy before you do so, in case you find it isn’t that helpful.
      Ken

      • Hi Ken,
        Thank you for replying, I live in a rural area of south west England which has a very poor broadband reception via landlines which was the reason for switching to the 4G service. I will try a external aerial to see if there is any difference in speed. Do you know of any decent apps that might help me locate my nearest phone mast?
        Many thanks again
        Barry

        • Hi Barry,
          Several other readers of this website have found mastdata.com useful for locating nearby masts. You could also use CellMapper.net as an alternative source of information.
          Hope this helps,
          Ken

          • Thank you Ken,
            Sorry to keep bothering you but can you help? I have purchased some external aerials for my Huawei B535. The instruction booklet that came with it was useless. My question is, does the B535 recognise the external aerials automatically or will I have to go on line and change the settings, many thanks again.
            Barry

          • Hi Barry,
            Thanks for your comment. I believe you need to log in to your router’s administration screen and change the setting so it uses the external antenna.
            Ken

  • Ive seen alot of negative reviews here about bad service and poor customer service when people wish to return the product. It has made me reluctant to sign up with them.

    I have been a long time 3 mobile customer and have always been happy with my Data service. I have used the mobile hotspot function many times without issues many times to stream netflix on my TV with zero playback issues. So I think I am in a pretty good area signal wise.

    How likely am I to get a cancellation of the service if I am unhappy?

    Thanks for your time.

    • Hi Neil,
      Thanks for your comment. If you’re getting good results from a Three SIM card in your phone, you should get results that are at least as good when using a 4G home broadband router (and usually far better as the router will have a better antenna, and doesn’t need to optimise for battery life like your phone, etc).
      With regards to the returns policy, you’ll get 14 days to return it if you purchase online. You can read Three’s returns policy here for further information.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • RAMSEY NAGATY said:

    I WAS TOLD THE OPPOSITE 14 DAY REFUND DOES NOT APPLY IF BOUGHT ON LINE !
    I NEED TO TEST THE UNIT

    IS THE CUBE BETTER THAN THE B535?

    I THINK THE B535 LOOKS BETTER BUT ONLINE SALES AT 3 TOLD ME ALEXA CUBE IS BETTER PLEASE CLARIFY AND IF I PUT AN AERIAL DO I NEED TO PROGRAMM TO SWITCH FROM INTERNAL AERIAL OR DOES THIS AUTOMATICALLY?

    • Hi Ramsey,
      You can see Three’s return policy here, but in short: you can return your device within 14 days if you purchase it online at Three’s website. This 14 day policy doesn’t apply if you buy the router in store.
      With regards to the routers, I’d personally go for the Huawei B535 HomeFi+. You’ll get a more powerful router with more connectivity options (including the ability to use an external antenna). You won’t have the built-in Amazon Alexa smart speaker but you can always buy a standalone Amazon Echo speaker if you want to have this functionality.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

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