Three offers Pay As You Go bundles from £10/month with 10GB of data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts.

In the UK, Three offers a Pay As You Go service with Data Pack bundles, starting from £10/month for 10GB of data. This is available with no contract and no credit check and you’ll get unlimited minutes and unlimited texts included in your Pay As You Go bundle. There’s also access to Three’s 5G network included if you’re in an area that has 5G coverage from Three.

As an alternative to Three’s Pay As You Go bundles, it’s also worth considering the bundles from SMARTY. SMARTY is a low-cost sub-brand of Three, giving you 32GB of data for £8 per month. Alternatively, you can get 30GB of data for £10 per month (five times more data than you’d get on Three for the same price). It’s also possible to get unlimited data on SMARTY for just £15 per month (compared to £35 per month on Three Pay As You Go).

In this article, we’ll review Three’s Pay As You Go service. We’ll start by looking at their Pay As You Go bundles and at the standard Pay As You Go rates for customers not buying a bundle. We’ll then look at some of the features and benefits of Three’s Pay As You Go service and the coverage that’s available on it. Finally, we’ll discuss how to keep your current phone number when moving to Three’s Pay As You Go service.

Bundles & Plans

In the UK, Three offers Pay As You Go plans from £10/month as part of their ‘Supercharged’ Pay As You Go service. All of their Pay As You Go plans are available without the need for a credit check and include roaming in 71 destinations along with 5G at no extra cost.

For customers wanting a larger allowance of data at a lower monthly price, Three also offers Pay As You Go bundles through their SMARTY sub-brand. On SMARTY, you can get a one-month bundle for as little as £6 per month. Meanwhile, the most popular plan is 30GB of data for £10, giving you five times more data than you’d get on Three. You’ll get access to the exact same coverage as on Three’s Pay As You Go service, minus the access to 5G.

Data Pack Bundles

If you’re looking for a Pay As You Go plan on Three, you can currently choose from four Data Pack bundles. All of the Data Pack bundles include unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and an allowance of 5G data:


The allowances in your Data Pack bundle will last for one calendar month. Any unused allowances will then expire with the bundle.

If you’ve used up all of the data in your bundle, you’ll need to buy a data add-on to continue using the service. This will cost £5/month for an extra 1GB data, £7/month for an extra 3GB data or £8/month for an extra 6GB data. Alternatively, there’s a £5/day unlimited data add-on.

Pay As You Go Rates

If you’re using Three’s Pay As You Go service without a Data Pack bundle, you’ll pay 10p/minute, 10p/text and 5p/MB for using mobile data (equivalent to £50/GB).

The following table shows the standard Pay As You Go rates on Three:

Calling Rates:
Voice Calls 10p/minute (any network, any time)
Calls to Voicemail 10p/minute
Calls to Special Rate Numbers 45p/minute access charge
+ service charge from the company you’re calling
Messaging Rates:
Text Message (SMS) 10p
Picture Message (MMS) 40p
Video Message 40p
Internet Rates:
Mobile Internet 5p/MB

The prices stated in this table are for UK-to-UK usage. If you’re travelling abroad outside Europe or making international phone calls, higher charges will normally apply. Source for pricing information:

You’ll need to top-up your SIM card or make a chargeable activity at least once every six months to keep your SIM card active.

On Three, the minimum top-up is £5 each time when you top-up online through the My3 website. It’s £10 when you top-up elsewhere (e.g. in-store or over the phone).

SMARTY Bundles

For a lower-cost Pay As You Go plan with much larger allowances, Three also offers Pay As You Go bundles through their lower-cost SMARTY Mobile sub-brand.

On SMARTY, you’re currently able to get 32GB of data for £8 per month. Alternatively, there’s 30GB data for £10 (which is five times more data than you’d get on Three Pay As You Go). There’s also unlimited data for £15 per month (compared to £35 per month for the same allowances on Three’s Pay As You Go service):

3 months half price

See all SMARTY Bundles →

Like the Three Pay As You Go bundles, SMARTY’s bundles are also available with no contract and no credit check. The main limitation is that you won’t have access to Three’s 5G coverage. In addition, you’ll only get inclusive roaming when travelling to other European destinations (whereas you’ll also get inclusive roaming in selected destinations outside Europe on Three Pay As You Go).

If you’re a light user, consider one of SMARTY’s data discount plans, which are available from only £6/month. On these plans, you’ll get an unused data discount of £1 for every gigabyte of data that you don’t use (bringing it down to as little as £5 per month):

No price plans could be found matching this criteria.

For more information, read our SMARTY mobile review. We’ve also got in-depth guides to unlimited data on SMARTY and the coverage on SMARTY Mobile.

Features & Benefits

Go Roam

For customers on Three’s Pay As You Go service, a key benefit is being able to use your mobile phone abroad in 71 destinations at no extra cost. The Go Roam Around The World offer covers your usage in most European countries, the USA, Australia and more.

In our opinion, Three’s Pay As You Go service is a really good option for customers who occasionally travel abroad. You can use the SIM card to stay in touch with friends and family whilst travelling, and continue using your favourite applications like social media, messaging and maps.

To get the best value when travelling abroad, we recommend buying either the £10 or £15 bundle. You can use up to 20GB of your data allowance abroad when travelling in Europe and up to 12GB when travelling to a Go Roam country outside of Europe.

If you choose a SMARTY bundle, you’ll also be able to use up to 20GB of data abroad in Europe each month. However, the full Go Roam offer isn’t available outside Europe so you’ll need to pay extra for this.

For more information, see our guide to the Go Roam offer. Alternatively, see Three’s official website.

Unlimited Data

It’s possible to get unlimited data for £35 per month on Three’s Pay As You Go service. This £30 Data Pack gives you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data at up to 5G speeds.

No price plans could be found matching this criteria.

There are no fair usage limits on Three’s Pay As You Go service – the only requirement is it needs to be for your own personal, non-commercial usage. The unlimited data allowance can be shared with other devices through the tethering or personal hotspot feature on your phone.

As a lower-cost alternative to unlimited data on Three Pay As You Go, you can get unlimited data for just £15 per month on SMARTY:


For more information, see our full guide to unlimited data on Three and unlimited data on SMARTY.

5G At No Extra Cost

A unique selling point of Three’s Pay As You Go service is the ability to access 5G at no extra cost.

The benefits of using 5G on Three include faster download speeds, more network capacity and a reduced amount of latency. According to Three, they’re building the UK’s fastest 5G mobile network with 140MHz of 5G spectrum (significantly more than any other network).

At present, Three’s 5G network is available in parts of 194 UK towns and cities. You’ll need a 5G-ready phone to access 5G coverage on Three. For more information, see our Three 5G coverage map.

5G coverage isn’t currently available to customers on SMARTY. However, they’ve announced that it’ll be coming soon to the network.

No Credit Check

There’s no need to undergo a credit check when joining Three’s Pay As You Go or SMARTY mobile service. This makes it an ideal option for people who don’t want to undergo a credit check or for people who aren’t normally able to pass one (e.g. under 18s and people who have recently moved to the UK).

If you’re happy to undergo a credit check, you can also consider a Pay Monthly SIM card from Three.

321 Plan

Most Pay As You Go customers who joined Three before the 12th March 2020 will currently be on an older plan known as 321. On this plan, you’ll currently be paying 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB.

On the 16th February 2021, Three will be closing the 321 plan. Customers will be migrated to the newer Pay As You Go plan where the standard Pay As You Go rates are 10p/minute, 10p/text and 5p/MB. You’ll get access to the new Data Pack bundles which can save you money if you’re a regular mobile user, but light users are likely to see a significant price increase from this.

You can consider one of the following alternatives instead:

  • If you’d like a Pay As You Go plan where you don’t need to top-up every month, see our guide to Pay As You Go plans for light users. For instance, you can join 1pMobile where the charges are just 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB (but with a minimum required top-up of £10 every 120 days).
  • If you’re making the jump to a Pay As You Go bundle, consider getting a SMARTY bundle instead. For instance, SMARTY offers 32GB data for £8 per month or 30GB data for £10 per month. This is a lot more data than you’d get for the same price on Three.
  • At present, Pay As You Go rates of 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB are still available on Three’s Data Reward SIM card (with the addition of 200MB of free data every month). It isn’t yet known whether the rates will also be changing on the Data Reward SIM card at some point.

Joining Three Pay As You Go

The easiest way to join Three’s Pay As You Go service is by ordering a free SIM card through their website. The SIM card will be sent to you through the post and can be inserted into any unlocked smartphone to take advantage of the Data Pack bundles.

If you’d like to buy a new phone at the same time as joining Three Pay As You Go, a selection of handsets are available to buy on the Three website. You’ll be given a SIM card on the 321 plan when you buy a Pay As You Go phone from Three.


3G & 4G Coverage

In the UK, Three offers 99.8% population coverage. This includes 98.3% population coverage on their 3G network and 99.8% population coverage on their 4G network.

Before joining Three’s Pay As You Go service, we’d strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on Three’s online coverage map:

Check Three Coverage Map ( →

Unfortunately, Three doesn’t provide any 2G coverage. For this reason, if you’re using an older 2G-only phone, it won’t be possible to receive any coverage from Three. You may also experience some issues when using a Three Pay As You Go SIM card in a dual-SIM smartphone.

For more information, see our full guide to the coverage on Three.

5G Coverage

Unlike most other mobile networks, Three’s Pay As You Go service includes access to 5G at no extra cost. To use it, you’ll need to make sure you have a 5G-ready smartphone and you’ll need to be in a 5G coverage area.

At present, 5G coverage is available in the following UK towns and cities:

Now Live194 towns and cities are live on Three 5G (December 2023)
Aberdeen, Abingdon-on-Thames, Adlington, Aldershot, Aldridge, Ashford, Balloch, Barnsley, Barrow-in-Furness, Basildon, Bath, Bedford, Belfast, Belfast Airport, Billericay, Billingham, Birdwell, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bishopthorpe, Blackburn, Blackpool, Borehamwood, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brentwood, Brighton, Brimington, Bristol, Bromsgrove, Brookmans Park, Broughton Astley, Burton upon Trent, Campton, Cannock, Cardiff, Carlisle, Castlereagh, Chatham, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Chesham, Chorley, Christleton, Clayton-le-Woods, Clifton, Coedkernew, Colchester, Copmanthorpe, Corringham, Coventry, Crawley, Crook, Cullingworth, Danderhall, Delph, Denholme, Derby, Dewsbury, Dinnington, Doncaster, Dundee, East Kilbride, East Midlands Airport, Edinburgh, Egginton, Ellesmere Port, Exmouth, Falkirk, Gateshead, Glasgow, Gorebridge, Grays, Greenock, Grimsby, Guildford, Hamilton, Hartley, Hatfield, Heanor, Heathcote, Hedge End, Hemel Hempstead, Hertford, Heswall, Heywood, Horley, Horwich, Huddersfield, Hull, Huntingdon, Inchinnan, Ingleby Barwick, Ipswich, Irlam, Isle of Grain, Iver, Kings Hill, Kings Langley, Kinmel Bay, Kirkheaton, Kirknewton, Knowl Wall, Leeds, Leicester, Leyland, Lincoln, Liverpool, London, Loughborough, Lower Stondon, Luton, Maidenhead, Maidstone, Manchester, Mansfield, Margate, Marlow Bottom, Marston Moretaine, Merthyr Tydfil, Middlesbrough, Milnrow, Milton Keynes, Motherwell, Neston, Newark-on-Trent, Newcastle, Newhall, Newport, Newquay, Newton Aycliffe, Newton-le-Willows, Newtownabbey, Normanton, Northampton, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Ottershaw, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Pontefract, Porthcawl, Portsmouth, Preston, Reading, Redcar, Redditch, Royston Yorkshire, Scunthorpe, Sheffield, Shelly Green, Shrewsbury, Slough, South Heighton, South Kirkby, South Normanton, South Ockendon, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Southport, St Albans, St Blazey, St Columb Road, Stafford, Stansted Airport, Stevenage, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sunderland, Sunninghill, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Swadlincote, Swindon, Swinton, Tamworth, Telford, Thornaby-on-Tees, Ullesthorpe, Wakefield, Wallingford, Walton-on-Thames, Warrington, Washington, Westhoughton, Weybridge, Wickford, Wigan, Winterbourne, Worcester, Worksop, Writtle, York

For more information, see our Three 5G coverage map.

Tethering & Personal Hotspot

Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with other devices (e.g. with your laptop or tablet). It’s a great way to share a mobile broadband connection from your phone onto other devices.

From April 2018 onwards, it’s been possible to use tethering and personal hotspot both in the UK and Europe. Some limitations still apply to tethering when you’re travelling to a Go Roam country outside Europe.

Prior to April 2018, the use of tethering and personal hotspot was not permitted on Three Pay As You Go.

For more information, see our full guide to tethering on UK mobile networks.

International Roaming

On Three, international roaming is automatically enabled for all customers on Pay As You Go.

For customers visiting one of 71 destinations (including most of Europe, the USA and Australia), it’s possible to use your mobile phone abroad at no extra cost through the Go Roam offer. For more information, find out about the international coverage on Go Roam.

If you’re visiting a country that’s not covered by the Go Roam offer, additional charges may apply for your usage when abroad. Please see the Three website for full details about their international coverage.

Keeping Your Phone Number

If you’re joining Three’s Pay As You Go service from another mobile network, it’s a straightforward process to bring your phone number with you.

To start with, order your new Pay As You Go SIM card or Pay As You Go phone from Three’s website. Once you’ve done that, you can request a PAC Code from your old network. You can get this through your mobile network’s website or app, or by texting PAC to 65075. The PAC Code will authorise the transfer of your phone number to Three.

After your new phone or SIM card arrives from Three, fill out this number transfer form on their website. Once you’ve done that, your phone number transfer will be scheduled by Three (normally for the next working day but you can choose to delay this if you like).

For step-by-step instructions on how to transfer a phone number to Three, please select your current mobile network from the drop-down menu below:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to Three

Select your current mobile network:

  More Options

For more information on transferring a phone number between mobile networks, see our guide to using a PAC Code.

Frequently Asked Questions

What bundles are available on Three Pay As You Go?
Customers on Three’s Pay As You Go service can choose from four different Data Pack bundles. You’ll currently get 6GB of data for £10, 20GB of data for £15, 50GB of data for £20 or unlimited data for £30 per month. All bundles include unlimited minutes and unlimited texts, as well 5G coverage in areas that support it (a 5G handset is required for this).

Three also offers Pay As You Go bundles through their SMARTY sub-brand such as 30GB data for £10 per month or unlimited data for £15 per month.

What’s the minimum top-up on Three?
The minimum top-up is £5 if you’re topping up online through this link. If you’re topping up elsewhere (e.g. in store or by phone), the minimum top-up is £10.
What are the standard Pay As You Go rates on Three?
If you don’t have an active bundle on your account, you’ll pay 10p/minute, 10p/text and 5p/MB. Customers who joined Three before the 12th March 2020 may have access to 321 rates instead (3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB). However, this will be ending from the 16th February 2021.
Is it possible to use Go Roam with Three Pay As You Go?
Yes. If you buy a Pay As You Go bundle on Three, you’ll be able to use your allowances abroad at no extra cost in 71 destinations. Three’s Go Roam offer covers most of Europe, the USA, Australia and more.
What type of coverage will I get on Three Pay As You Go?
You’ll get 3G, 4G and 5G coverage from Three. According to Three, they offer 99.8% population coverage – you can check the coverage in your area on their website. 5G coverage is also now available in parts of 194 UK towns and cities.
Can I keep an existing phone number?
Yes. It’s a straightforward process to keep your current phone number. Ask your current mobile network to provide you with a PAC Code. You can get one through your mobile network’s website or app, or by texting PAC to 65075. You can then provide the PAC Code to Three once you’ve ordered and activated your SIM card.

More Information

For more information about Three’s Pay As You Go service, please see their official website.

Your Comments 131 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 131 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Although 3 have increased their PAYG rates from 12th July, if you have a Data Reward sim to get the 200mb free every month, you will still pay 3p for calls, 2p for texts and 1p for data. I have just checked this on my phone.

    • This only applies to existing customers. I have checked my sim card in my mobile broadband router and I am still receiving the 200mb data a month. It is no longer available to new customers. You can still buy a pre-pay data sim with the 321 rates for £10. Without the 200mb entitlement it is not worth it.

      RWG Wales offer a SIM only deal (piggybacking on EE). You buy a sim card pre-loaded with £15 and you get 750mb of data, 100 minutes and 100 texts free every month. If you go over your allowance it is 5p/min 5p/text and 1p/MB. Ideal for those who use their phone occasionally.

  • Three have just hiked up their payg prices to 35p per minute a far cry from the 3/2/1 tariff that was so popular and really drove down the price of using a mobile. If you want three coverage Smarty £5/mth is the way to go.

  • Three are to increase prices again! From July 12th the price of a call will increase from 10p/minute to 35p/minute, texts will increase from 10p/text to 15p/text & data per MB will increase from 5p to 10p.

    If you do not like the increase I suggest adding a bundle or moving to one of their pay monthly contracts or moving to another network 🙂

  • Just received a text message from Three this afternoon. Anyone who is on the 321 pay as you go tariff will see prices increase from 16th February in line with their new supercharged tariff. The cost from 16th will be 10p a min, 10p a text and 5p per MB of data. I am not sure if this will apply to the Three Data Reward Pay As You Go Tariff though..

  • Lots of information to digest! What I can say is that British cell phone plans are definitely cheaper than American ones and there was no way we were going to pay the extortionant rates from AT&T!

    My wife and I did a European vacation last year (Great Britain, France, Italy and Spain) and we bought our SIM card in the USA before we left from myuksimcard. It was good to have it with us when we boarded the plane in Atlanta so we knew our cell numbers ready for use for Uber at London’s Heathrow airport.

    There are also vending machines for SIM cards in the arrivals area of the airport but the prices are sky high! Avoid at all costs!

    We are so looking forward to going back to London once this crazy covid settles down!

  • Hi all,
    Just a quick note to let you know that Three have updated their Pay As You Go plans (we’ve updated the article above to reflect these changes).
    The £10 Data Pack now includes 5GB of data (previously 10GB).
    The £15 Data Pack now includes 10GB of data (previously 20GB).
    The £20 Data Pack now includes 100GB of data (previously 40GB).
    The £30 Data Pack still includes unlimited data (no change here).

  • Daniel Glass said:

    Dear Ken,
    One issue with the new ‘supercharged’ sim from Three is that the 30 day packs are fixed for 30 days exactly. So if you need extra data you have to get a top up at more expensive rates. You cannot start a new 30 day plan like you could on the 123 tariff.
    I ordered a supercharged sim a couple of weeks ago and began a 10GB plan, but due to recent events I have discovered my data usage is much higher than normal. I will run out of data before the end of the 30 days. I had hoped the plan would cover my data needs with just one action per month.
    As a variable data user, depending on various factors such as location and work load, I have had to use mobile data to connect a laptop/tablet. Most of the time, with careful monitoring of the usage, I could manage to keep within the data add-on limit I purchased at the start on the 30 day 123 plan. The coverage was generally good enough at most locations, but sometimes I could not avoid running out before the 30 days were up, so I would purchase a new data add-on and the 30 days would restart. I could also purchase an add-on before the 30 days were over and it would be queued on the account so there would be no loss of service (on the new tariff, you have to wait until the 30 day time limit is up until you can purchase a new plan, meaning there is a short break while you organise it). Occasionally, I would not renew a tariff for a day or two as I had no data requirement. It was a flexible tariff which suited my usage.
    The initial bundles on the new plan are cheaper per GB, but more restrictive when you run out of data. To avoid this, it would be better to be sure how much I might need before I start the 30 days. However, this might mean spending more than I would need to. Also, the removal of the 123 plan means it is much more expensive to use it as a payg sim. There are cheaper options for light users.
    Overall, I think this new plan is great for heavy data users who know how much they use, but it is restrictive for my variable use, and for relatives who are light users on payg. Fortunately, we still have our old 123 sims, so we can use them pro tem, but I will have to re-evaluate whether to continue with the new sim or not. Of course, the current situation makes planning more difficult, so it’s back to doing a lot of research on the various options. I will use your site as one of my go-to options to keep up-to-date with current prices.

    Thanks for all the information.


    Daniel Glass.

    • Hi Daniel,
      Thanks a lot for the feedback on this! It’s a shame that you aren’t able to renew your add-on early on Three’s new Supercharged Pay As You Go plan. It’s definitely worth feeding this back to them as I’m surprised they’ve “lost” the ability to do this in moving to a new range of bundles…

      • Can you switch from a supercharged plan to 321 one, if you received a recent supercharged sim card ?

        It makes no sense to buy bundles every month if you are not using them. So with the new supercharged the price increase from 1p/MB to 5p/Mb

        I ask because you mentioned “If you’re ordering a Pay As You Go handset from Three, you’ll still be given a SIM card from Three on the 321 plan.” So the 321 plan hasn’t been phased out. At least not entirely.

          • Hi Ken,

            Thanks for the update. Do you know if you can port in a number to a three data rewards sim card ?

            I’m trying to salvage a very easy to remember number that I just got from Three 2 days ago. I like the 1p/MB, but the 5p/MB not so much.

            Do you know if I can transfer the number to a three contract and then back to a data rewards sim card ?

            I’m want to find the right combination that doesn’t require much top up (the rewards sim has 2 pound top up option which is great), doesn’t expire often and has great roaming even outside of the EU. ie US and US Virgin Islands.

            I should also mention that I’m not a UK resident.

            I want to use the number to receive and forward voip calls on occasion, and regular voice calls and text messages for 2 factor authentication. To my horror I’ve seen some (non uk banks I should say) not playing nice with voip numbers that have sms capabilities.

            I digress but the number of financial institutions and brokers that employ 2 factor authentication that isn’t tied to your mobile phone is countable in the hands of one finger on an international level. Sim swap fraud is on the rise. I mean using 2FA with TOTP with authy, google authenticator or the app of your choice. Fortunately some banks give the option to use a hardware token to generate passcodes.

            Personally I cover most of communication needs via voip and this is the primary reason I do not require much data to go on.

            I think Three has far the best roaming deal that I could find up until this point. All the other options for international sim cards are either more expensive, they require top up every so often, or they would be with a company that you won’t know if they are going to be in business five years from now.

            A possible suggestion. Make a page about the rwgmobile: the credit expiry, top up duration and roaming costs.

          • Hi Nick,
            Thanks for your comment. Yes, I believe it should still be possible to port your phone number into a Data Reward SIM card. Unfortunately, however, it wouldn’t be possible to use a PAC Code to transfer a phone number inside of Three. You can either ask their customer services team to do this for you, or you’ll need to port out to another network and then back in to the Data Reward SIM.
            Hope this helps,

  • Three have relaunched their pay as you go tariff. They’ve introduced a monthly data pack where if you pay £10 you will get 10GB of data. If you pay £20 you will get 40gb data. Unfortunately, they have scrapped the cheap 321 rates and now charge 10p a minute to call a landline and mobile, 10p to send text message and 5p per GB for mobile internet. I am not sure if existing pay as you go customer will be effected by this change but if it does happen I will be changing networks!!
    Their pay as you go DATA (internet with legs 200mb free data) tariff remain the same.

    • Hi Mike,
      Thanks a lot for letting me know about this! I’ll get the website updated in the coming few days to reflect the changes to their tariff.

  • Good article ken,but if ur a light user,why not put the data reward sim in ur phone? You still get the 321 rate,and add a bundle if you want,but you get 200mb a month free,no top up required,it auto renwews evert 30 days

  • Hi Ken. I have been reading your blog on SIM cards in the UK as I will be traveling to the UK and USA for a month in total. Three’s pay as you go sim seems to be the best but the only problem is it cannot tether 😔

    My initial plan was to get a 30 days SIM card which I can use on my spare iPhone as a hotspot while I can still keep my own phone with my local sim just in case there is emergency call while I am not in my country.

    In my case can you suggest any other sim which I can get while I arrive at London next week? Thank you in advance your advise.

    • Hi Shirley,
      Many thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of a Pay As You Go SIM card that both allows you to use your phone in the US at no extra charge, and that also allows you to tether. It’s possible you might need two separate SIM cards for this (e.g. one in the UK and another one in the US). For the UK, I’d recommend giffgaff as a good SIM card for visitors. They allow you to tether at no extra charge, and have some rates in the UK.

    • Hi John,
      Thanks for your comment. Technically speaking, I think it’s against the terms and conditions to tether on Three’s Pay As You Go service. I know Three does make use of some tethering detection, but I’m not sure how strictly they apply this and how regularly they do it.

  • I use 3 on payg, but 3 are going to remove the free 150mb with the top up from May 23rd. This is a good feature. When I’ve run out of data, I can go on to the 3 site and purchase a monthly internet add-on, without using credit to do it. Now it’ll cost me to get add-ons, unless I can get to a free wifi place.

    • Hi Emgee,
      Thank you for the heads up about this, and it’s a real shame that Three are removing the 150MB free allowance. I’ve updated the article above to reflect this information. I believe customers will instead receive a (measly) 10MB of free data when they top-up their account in the future.

      • Ken,
        Thanks for the information about the 10Mb allowance. That information wasn’t included on the text from Three. At least I’ll be able to log on to the website to buy the add-on after topping up.
        I’m not a heavy user, in general, except when I have some research to do. The 150 Mb often used to last several days, which has saved me money over the last nine years (as a Three payg customer) by delaying the beginning of the 30 day period.

  • William Grierson said:

    In your description for £10 bundles you say Asda has 1.5Gb and GiffGaff has 1Gb yet in the table it shows 3.5Gb and 2Gb respectively.
    The same as in the description for £15 bundles Asda 3Gb and GiffGaff 4Gb but in the table it shows 5Gb for both.

    • Hi William,
      Many thanks for the heads up about this! giffgaff updated their bundles very recently, so the £10 goodybag now includes 2GB of data (rather than the 1GB per month it previously contained). With regards to ASDA Mobile, they’re offering a time-limited promotion where customers get 2GB/month of extra free data until the 27th June 2017.
      I’ve just updated the information above to better reflect this (the comparison tables across the website are updated automatically, but sometimes I miss out on copy/content changes).
      Thanks again!

  • I would like to use a Three pay as you go sim in my iPhone I am going to get. Outside home I would like to use for talk and text only (only in case of energency I will use email). There fore I would like to have internet set to off outside home. I do not want it to connect automatically in hotspots. At home I would like wifi connection on iPhone. How does this work? Also how do I set in my iPhone to work?

    • Hi there,
      Thanks for your comment. You can turn off mobile internet on your iPhone – this will stop it from connecting to the internet when you’re out-and-about, but you’ll still be able to use wi-fi when you’re at home. To do this, go to Settings followed by Mobile/Cellular. There should then be a toggle for disabling Mobile/Cellular Data.
      Hope this helps,

  • Hi,

    I have a question. If I use pay as you go, how frequent is it that I need to top-up?
    My situation is that I left UK to a country that three is not accessible, but I want to keep my number since I would go back to study (but maybe in 2 years time). I will not use any text, call and data. I just want to top up to maintain my number. Do I need to top-up every month? Or else I can just leave it a few months and top-up again?

    • Hi Rutsee,
      Thanks for your comment. You can read more about this in my article on Pay As You Go inactivity and credit expiry. However, in short, you’ll need to top-up or make a chargeable activity at least once every six months to keep your Three SIM card active. Therefore, there are two ways to keep your SIM card active:
      1) You can simply use the SIM card to send a text message every so often. This will cost you something like 35p when you’re abroad in another country (the exact rate will depend on which country you’re in).
      2) You can add a top-up to the SIM card every so often. Three has a minimum top-up of £5 each time. Therefore, if you top-up once every six months, you’re looking at about £20 of credit over the next two years.
      Hope this helps,

  • Hi Ken
    I have recently transferred to 1p mobile which is 1p per min, text and mb which is super cheap. Its on the EE network so coverage is good and you have 2/3 and 4G access. Being EE you can use the sim in a 2G phone which is a major advantage over Three. The only disadvantage is that there is a minimum charge of £5 per month. For example if you use 125 minutes, 125 texts and 125 mb this will cost £3.75. At the end of the month you lose the remaining £1.25 which is unused and you will need to topup with another £5 for the following month. You manage the account online and topups are via paypal which is very easy.

    So far so good


  • Hi Ken
    I use 3 payg at 3p/min, 2p/text, 1p/min which is unbeatable value in my opinion. I think its the best way to run a mobile phone in the UK. I buy sim free iphones and use a 3 payg sim.
    There are various other options out there with the Giffgaff £7.50 goodybag being a front runner which offers 250 minutes 500mb and unlimited texts. There are various online reviews comparing the 3 payg against giffgaff goodybags often saying GG is better value which I think is incorrect.
    The key issue is that the GG goodbags are time limited to 30 days and will expire whereas 3 payg credit never expires. This is key as regardless of how many minutes/texts/mb you may use on GiffGaff your credit expires after 30 day sand you need to topup again.
    With 3 payg if you topup with say £10 you can us this to suit your EXACT needs ie 333 minutes or 500 texts or 1GB of data or any combination and the credit never expires. Therefore your £10 is still available to you months after you topped up depending on how you use it. I find that a £10 topup usually lasts me 8-9 weeks which is unbeatable value.
    This is my opinion and It would be great to hear peoples views
    Kind Regards

  • Hi, great site. I am using three PAYG with the 321 deal. I started checking my balance after each text and find I am being charge 4p per text not 2p. Request a delivery report is switched off. There is no itemized billing to let me investigate, any idea why I am being charged double the advertised rate?

    • Hi Alan,
      Great question. Unfortunately, the only thing I’m able to think is your text message might possibly be going over the 160 character limit (or sometimes 80 characters if you’re using a foreign smartphone configured to use double-byte encoding). I assume you’ve already double-checked to make sure this isn’t the case – nevertheless, you’re probably best off contacting Three Customer Services and asking them to check the charges for you.

  • A very useful explanation of 3 mobile – many thanks. My specific question is how much does it cost to check voice mail from the USA, if on payg with a feel at home add on. The 3 website says to call +447782 333 123 when abroad, not simply 123, so I’m wondering if it is more expensive than 3p per min.

  • I’ve been on 321 for years. It is really annoying that they don’t provide itemised bills. It makes it impossible to work out whether it really is a good deal or not because you can’t work out where your money went. I think it is but I do wonder some times.

  • Hi. I am thinking of going onto one of the Three sim only packages. If the deal has, say 200 minutes included, what would I be charged if I went over and above the 200 minutes? Many thanks.

  • Aziz Ahmed said:

    Hi Ken,
    Great informative article. Thank you!

    I purchased PAYG sim while in London less than a year ago. I did not use the sim after the 30-day expiration. I am planning another trip to Europe. Can I still use the 3 Mobile sim after topping up with a voucher and purchasing a add-on?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Aziz,
      Thanks for your comment. In theory, Three reserves the right to terminate your SIM card if you don’t use it for a period of 6 months. For this reason, it’s possible your Pay As You Go SIM card will no longer work (always worth giving it a go however as they won’t always close the account straight away). If your account has already been closed, you’ll need to buy a new SIM card and add-on.
      Hope this helps,

  • Came across your excellent site via Google. I’ve obtained a Three pay as you go sim and intend moving from giffgaff because I am a light user. I would like more data at a cheaper price than with giffgaff, where I have to purchase minutes and texts on a goodie bag which I never use. My question is, if I just stick with the 321 tariff can I use the phone in France (at a higher cost) or do I have to buy an add on? I won’t be using it much, just to check emails. I wouldn’t be streaming or anything like that.

    • Hi Frank,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes: you can use your handset in France without a bundle but you’ll pay the out-of-bundle rates listed in this table (likely to change on the 30th April due to forthcoming changes to EU roaming). As you say, it’s a bit more expensive than using your phone in the UK but will probably be fine for very light usage. If you’re going for more than a few days, it might be better value to buy the a £10 All-in-One bundle to save on these charges.
      Hope this helps,

  • Ken, this site is excellent, THANKS!
    I am traveling to London from the US and the 3 PAY as U Go look perfect. Looks like I need to go to a Three store to get a Sim card? Are they free and is there a minimum top up? Was hoping to do 5 pounds as I will be getting 1 per each of the 4 family members.

    • Hi Jim,
      Thanks for your comment. Yes, the SIM card from Three is free to obtain as long as you top-up the SIM card at the same time (if not, it’ll cost you £1 for the SIM card). You can obtain one from a Three retail store upon arrival. For a £5 top-up, you’ll need to do this online (this may require you to have a UK-based credit card). I believe the minimum top-up is £10 in a Three retail store.
      Hope this helps,

  • Hi Ken, great article!

    I’ve been on the 321 deal for some time now and for me it works really well! One thing I would say to people who are comparing to this deal is that you really need to look at your actual usage rather than averages… when I compared my average usage to a cheap giffgaff plan, the 321 deal came off worse. But when I looked at what I would have actually paid in each individual month, then 321 was better. This is because if you’re on a monthly plan you never see the benefit of a month where your usage is low and also you get stung with a higher rate should you go over and above your plan allowance.

    Another reason 321 works for me is that I’m on Wi-Fi at home, work, friends houses, pretty much everywhere I go! And by using WhatsApp for calling and messaging I rarely get charged at all on my actual plan. (As an aside, even if you’re not on Wi-Fi then a WhatsApp call uses less than 1mb of data per minute of call, so it’s still cheaper than using the normal phone service and getting charged 3p a minute).

    I’m not saying 321 is for everyone, but it’s worth assessing just how much of your data usage is on Wi-Fi. As by making a few changes to the way you communicate, this deal can really save you some money!

      • John Hadley replied:

        Thanks Ken, I’ve forwarded your excellent site to my partner who has now got a 321 sim for her iPhone 4s as it seems the best value. Actually, she is having a problem activating the sim as it happens although her iPhone is unlocked. Is this a common problem?
        Many thanks

        • Hi John,
          Thanks very much for getting back to me. Is there a problem activating the SIM card itself or are you getting a ‘SIM Not Valid’ error as discussed on this page? The latter would indicate that your iPhone 4S isn’t unlocked (otherwise, it’ll be a problem specific to the SIM card).
          Hope this helps,

  • This is a rip off 3—-get with it…..I get for 10 pound ultd tx 500mins,gig of data on giffgaff and if ppl from another network ring me I get the mins they use added to mine… used to have a deal with ultd data…where’s that gone….and also I have applied to you for a contract phone,I couldn’t after one check even access your page,it blocked me,I have never had a contract,yet you wouldn’t give me a chance… Reply that….bet ya won’t

  • Hi Ken,

    I’ve just joined 3 PAYG and noticed that I was being charged an extra 1p per text – making it 3p a text rather than 2p. Searching around for the reason, I found out that 3 charges 1p for a text delivery confirmation (I think it’s actually 1.2p). I turned this off and my texts were being charged 2p as expected. Today, I just noticed I’ve been either charged 3p for one of my texts or I’ve been charged 1p for using the internet despite that I’m still within my 150MB allowance from my top up. Is there another hidden charge that accounts for this extra 1p? I know it’s a small amount but I’m just curious if there is another hidden charge somewhere and why I’ve incurred this unexpected cost?


    • Hi Jane,
      Great question! Unfortunately, I’m not sure exactly where the 1p might be going – does it tell you in the My3 interface? It might be worth trying to get an itemised bill from Three so you can see where the money has actually been spent.

      • Thanks for replying, Ken. My3 only tells me my remaining balance and there is no itemised call details. I’ll keep an eye my credit in case I get any more of these unexpected charges and contact 3 if necessary – I just thought if you knew about any other hidden charges like the charge for text delivery (the first I’ve ever encountered!).

  • really informative, thanks 🙂

    Can I ask a question that I can’t seem to find the answer to? I just wondered what the price is when calling a three mobile PAYG phone from a landline. This information seems much harder to come by.

    • Hi Leigh,
      Thanks for your comment. The cost is set by your landline provider so it really depends on which company you’re using for your landline. It may also depends on the time of day you’re calling (e.g. whether it’s an evening or weekend).
      The cost of calling a mobile phone from your landline will normally be the same regardless of which mobile network it’s on (i.e. calling a customer on Three Pay As You Go will cost the same as calling a customer on EE, O2 or Vodafone).
      Hope this helps,

  • I don’t understand this deal, seems like terrible value compared to a normal contract.

    I use typically 1gb of data and 300mins a month

    1gb = £10
    300 min = £9.00

    Total £19

    At the moment I am on 4gb and 600 mins allowance rolling contract with Three for that amount a month.

    Which is a much much better deal.

    • Hi Chris,
      Thanks for your comment – agreed that the 321 deal isn’t very good for moderate to heavy users (a SIM-only contract will almost always work out to be better value). I think the 321 tariff is a good choice for light users & people who mainly use their phones in an emergency (e.g. if you were to use less than 200 minutes per month and less than 500MB of data).

  • I have a contract ending in a few days (don’t use it much). I am thinking about 321 as an option, but before I do it I was hoping you could answer a question about if it would work while I’m on holiday in Holland and Germany. Maybe I wouldn’t need to use it for phoning out (but if I did, do the same rates apply?) and would people be able to contact me as normal?

    • Hi Russ,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, the 321 rates do not apply when you’re abroad in other countries. In Holland & Germany, you’ll pay 16.6p/minute for outgoing calls and 4.4p/minute for incoming calls. For more information, see the pages on Holland and Germany.
      Hope this helps,

  • Hi. Am currently on a Virgin contract and quite frankly am paying too much for the small amount of use that I make of the phone and considering going back to PAYG. However, it is a toss up between Three’s 321 and Giffgaff. Prices lean towards 321 but with Giffgaff, I do like the (1) the balance notification after every call/message sent and (2) that you can have an auto top up set so that similar to Oyster cards, when you get down to £3, the system automatically tops up the balance.

    Does Three’s 321 do the same?

    • Hi there,
      Unfortunately, I don’t think Three has an auto top-up feature (you can read more about their top-up options on this page). The good news, however, is you can register a debit or credit card – it’s then simply a matter of calling 444 and following the options to top-up your handset.

  • Great prices from 3 payg plans.
    Wife is off to Spain with grand daughter, got her the 100 mins bundle for £10 so she can use the feel at home plan to ring me in the UK.
    I’ve bought the 321 bundle,to talk and text her.
    It will only cost me 3p a minute to talk to her and 2p a text while she is in Spain. What a bargain compared to my own network Virgin. For me to call on this it’s around 90p a minute. Well done 3 network.

  • I have been on 3 payg for some time now. On the face if it, it is exceptional value. However my big gripe is that I cannot check number of texts sent or cost of calls made, unless I keep a personal log or check my balance after every call. My credit seems to run out more quickly than I would expect as a very low user and I cannot confirm where the credit has been used. How do I know I have actually used it ?
    My husband is on Virgin payg (more expensive I know) and can instantly see every text/call when he logs into his account . Surely this is a basic service that 3 should be providing ?

    • Hi there,
      Yes, unfortunately, I don’t think Three provides an itemised bill on their Pay As You Go service 🙁 Have you tried contacting Three Customer Services on 333? It’s possible they might be able to get this information for you.

  • Hi Ken,

    Your advice re tethering for PAYG customers now seems to be out-of-date (according to your own link). Data, whether used via tethering or the phone itself, is charged at 1p/MB and requires no add-on.

    • Hi Kelvin,
      Thanks for your comment. Sorry, I wasn’t able to find the link where it says tethering is now permitted on Pay As You Go tariffs. According to Three’s help article (Personal Hotspot on your phone): “Our [Three] Pay As You Go plans don’t allow you to use Personal Hotspot”. Do let me know if there’s something I’ve missed!

      • I realise this conversation dates back a year or so, but I’m letting you know that I have no problem tethering my phone (Motorola Moto G) with my tablet and I am on 3 PAYG.

  • Mel Hutson said:

    I am thinking of getting a 321 SIM card. I am a fairly light user, mainly a few texts and phone calls here and there.
    I would like to keep my mobile number. One of the reasons (apart from their charges) for wanting to leave my current provider is that I cannot access my account to change my direct debit details over to my new bank.
    Their system lets me look at my bill but not interact in any way; I go round and round in circles where they tell me my password is wrong.
    Anyway, my problem is that I cannot get access to get a PAC Code either. Any ideas?

    • Hi Mel,
      Thanks for your comment. I know this won’t be particularly helpful as a response but the thing to do would unfortunately be to gain access to your account somehow (find out what your network requires e.g. could you present proof of your ID in their store?). The security check is an important mechanism built in to requesting a PAC Code – it ensures that no one else is able to steal your phone number. You’ll need to re-gain access to your account before you’re able to request a PAC Code from the network.

  • Hi Ken,
    I’m thinking of getting a three 321 sim as I am a fairly light user.

    However, I also travel a lot in France and Italy, so am interested in the ‘feel at home’ feature.

    In earlier responses, you warn that data while abroad is at 10p/mb rather than the normal 1p. This doesn’t appear to tie up with the website which claims ‘don’t pay a penny more’.

    Have they changed the deal now or have I missed some small print.?


    • Hi Andy,
      Thanks for your comment. It is possible to use the Feel At Home offer on Three Pay As You Go. However, you can’t do this at the normal 321 rates: you’ll need to buy a Pay As You Go add-on. There’s more information over on this page. The reasoning behind this: Feel At Home allows you to use UK allowances abroad in another country. However, with 321, there’s no inclusive allowances for you to actually use abroad. This is why you need to buy an All-in-one bundle – so you’ll actually have allowances to use when you’re abroad.
      Hope this helps in answering your question!

  • Ken I wanted to ask with the add on allowances from three ie the 15 pounds 300 mins unlimited data 3000 texts option, am I right in thinking the 300 mins isn’t actually 300 mins and is just 300 calling units rounded to the nearest min?

    If I make 300 1 second calls that is my whole allowance gone?

    I find this really bad and ofcom should do something about it as it is not really ‘300’ mins.

    Does this apply to pay monthly or sim only or are they charged per second?

  • Ken me and my wife bought 2 Sony Experia phones in northern Ireland (uk)we put the 321 sims in. Topped up €20 and bought the £10 add on,when we went over the border to the republic of Ireland,we couldn’t phone each other,though we could text and call our republic landline,now we have two phones that can’t call each other? What should we do.

    • Hi James,
      Thanks for your comment. With the Feel At Home offer, you should be able to call and text each other totally free of charge. It’s a little strange you aren’t able to do this in the Republic of Ireland. I would, however, just double-check you’ve input each other’s number with a preceding +44 at the start (e.g. 07123 456 789 should be saved in your phone as +44 7123 456 789). Some mobile networks get a little confused when you don’t have this prefix and when you’re travelling abroad. If this still doesn’t help, your best bet would probably be to call Three customer services on 333 (free).
      Hope this helps,

  • Hi Ken

    I have a question regarding calculation of data usage. Do you know whether uses Kb or Mb as the minimum usage? In other countries, you may use only a few Kb but there is a minimum charge based on 1 Mb each time there is a data connection. So if there are apps running in the background you could chalk up a lot of Mb even if it is a few Kb each connection.


  • I went into my nearest 3 phone store to enquire about the sim card for 321 price plan and was told they would give me a 16 digit number and I would have to top up in their store? Would this be every time I want to top up? Can I not go to any shop that does phone top ups and punch in the digit numbers like I currently do with vodaphone? The price plan sounds enticing but not sure if I fancy the inconvenience of having to go into town every time I want to top up. Thanks

    • Hi Stephanie,
      Thanks for your comment. Three gives you a plastic swipe card the size of a credit card: the card has a 16-digit number on the front: you can use it to top up your phone easily. There’s no need to remember the 16-digit number – indeed, you don’t even need to use it to top up your phone. You can top up in the same way you did at Vodafone (e.g. online, at the supermarket, at a bank ATM, etc).
      Hope this helps!

      • hi ken, Thanks for your reply but I’m sorry little confused, with my previous phone I could go into any shop and as for a top up and they would give me a voucher and I would tap in the digits myself, I don’t want to top up online, or with a credit card, I would like to pay by cash. Can I still pay by cash?, and do I have to specify that I want to top up with the 321 plan or do I just swipe the plastic card and pay cash. Thanks

        • Hi Steph,
          Yep – you’re still able to top up a phone using vouchers on Three. See this help article for more information. The benefit of using a plastic card is simply that the top-up will happen automatically (you don’t need to faff around with codes). Voucher top-ups start from £10 per time.
          Hope this helps!

  • Hi Ken, a couple of questions:

    Does it cost money to browse the internet using your own wifi? So for example if I wanted to search something up on Google, will that affect my data allowance of 1p/mb?

    Also, will it cost money to use applications such as Instagram and Facebook if you use your wifi. For example, if you wanted to browse a little bit on Instagram, will that affect my data allowance of 1p/mb.

    Kind Regards,


    • Hi Rikki,
      Thanks for your comment. Any data used when you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network will not be charged by your mobile network operator (in fact, it bypasses your network operator entirely and they won’t even know you’re accessing the internet). The same principle applies regardless of what you’re doing on the internet (browsing, Facebook, Instagram, etc are all free when connected to Wi-Fi). Hope this helps!

    • Hi Margaret,
      You can indeed switch to using wi-fi (you’re only charged when using the mobile internet… using your home wi-fi is free on the tariff). By the way, this is true of any UK Pay As You Go tariff (they’ll all allow you to switch to using wi-fi).
      Hope this helps,

  • Hi Ken….I have an iphone4s contract ended with 02 on 20th Dec ’14….I want to go on PAYG….As I’m retired I’m mostly in the home pull most of my data from my Internet provider….I rarely use texts using mostly Facebook Messenger…..neither would I use the phone too much for phone calls except when I’m out of the home……This Three 123 sounds ideal for me …..would you agree……please…..

    • Hi Annie,
      Definitely agreed that the 321 SIM card could be a good choice based on your usage (if you need information about transferring your phone number from O2 to Three, you can see this article I prepared earlier). The only other network I might also consider is giffgaff (10p/minute, 6p/text and 20p/day for 20MB of internet). They’re slightly more expensive compared to Three but you get to keep the same level of coverage as you have on O2 (so no difference to what you’re getting currently). You can order a free SIM card via this link.
      Hope this helps,

    • Hi Saba,
      Yep – it’s still possible to get 300 Three-to-Three minutes as a £5/month add-on on Pay As You Go. Full details of the bundle can be seen on page 4 of the Three Pay As You Go price guide. You can buy the add-on by logging in to the My3 website (or you can visit from your smartphone web browser when connected to 3G).
      Hope this helps!

  • Hello, Im planning to join Three on your 321 PAYG. But could you answer a few questions for me first:

    -does the first top up still has to be £10 minimum?
    -do I still get the 150MB free data and does it expire in 30 days after the top up?
    -if I travel to Hong Kong (which is a “Feel At Home” destination) do I need to make some settings on my phone or call some numbers for it to work or does it work straight away when I arrive in Hong Kong?
    -if I do get the 150MB of free data every time I top up would they be usable in Hong Kong or is it UK only?

    Also I am from the UK and when I plan to go to Hong Kong I will be using my 321 PAYG sim, I know it is free to receive calls but how are the callers charged if they phone me, and what numbers do they need to dial? So if people call me from the UK do they need to pay extra to phone me and do they just call me like they would from the UK or do they need to add 00852 to it? Also do the people in Hong Kong need to pay extra charges to phone me when I am in Hong Kong as well, and do they just dial my UK number or do they need to add 00852 to it?

    Thank you very much and sorry if it is a bit confusing.

    • Hi Hon,
      Thank you for your questions about the 321 tariff. I’ll answer each of them in order:

      Does the first top up still have to be £10 minimum?
      Yes, the first top-up must be £10 or more. Subsequent top-ups have only a £5 minimum if you use a debit/credit card and buy the top-up via Three’s website. Through all other channels (e.g. buying a voucher in-store), the minimum top-up is £10 at all times.

      Do I still get the 150MB free data and does it expire in 30 days after the top up?
      Yep, you still get 150MB of free data whenever you top-up. This will expire after 30 days (you would then pay 1p/MB for all further usage).

      If I travel to Hong Kong (which is a Feel At Home destination) do I need to make some settings on my phone or call some numbers for it to work or does it work straight away when I arrive in Hong Kong?
      You’ll be opted in to ‘Feel At Home’ automatically (there’s no need to change any settings). Do be aware, however, you’ll be charged 10p/MB rather than 1p/MB if you use your phone abroad without an ‘All in One’ bundle. My recommendation is to buy a £10 bundle (this gives you 100 minutes, 3000 texts and 500MB to use in Hong Kong). Alternatively, the £15 bundle gives you 300 minutes, 3000 texts and 25GB of data. You’ll need to enable data roaming on your handset before the internet will work in a Feel At Home country.

      If I do get the 150MB of free data every time I top up would they be usable in Hong Kong or is it UK only?
      The 150MB of free data is only usable when you’re in the UK. The ‘Feel At Home’ offer is only available when you buy an ‘All in One’ bundle with your Pay As You Go credit.

      How are the callers charged if they phone me, and what numbers do they need to dial?
      Other people will still call your normal UK number (there’s no need to change the international prefix). For anyone calling from the UK, they’ll still be charged the normal UK mobile rates (they can use their inclusive UK minutes to call you when you’re abroad). Do be aware that your friends in Hong Kong will still need to call a +44 number (they’ll be charged international rates for calling the UK). Also, it won’t be free for you to call a +852 number (the ‘Feel At Home’ minutes can only be used when calling a UK number).

      Hope this helps to answer your questions!

      • Thanks for your reply sir but I have some more questions for you.
        1. I presume all add-on’s works in Hong Kong so I want to buy an add-on called “500MB”, but can I use this in Hong Kong, also when I go to Three’s page with the 500MB add-on it says “120MB for you to use the internet on your phone” so when I buy the add-on do I get 500MB or 120MB to use?
        2. If I top up just like 10 days before I go to Hong Kong would they use the add-on allowance that I just bought 10 days ago or the 150MB free data allowance (which isn’t usable in Hong Kong) that came with the top up?
        3. If I want to top up £5 can this be only done on three’s website and not on any cash point machines, as I have bought a £10 voucher for my first top up and now I want to top up £5 online but it says that it needs to register my card and take £10 (not £5) to verify my card details which I don’t really like?
        4. When I want to call someone in Hong Kong and I am in Hong Kong as well would they need to pay roaming charges or is it free for them to receive my calls?
        5. Finally, if my family also has the exact same three’s 321 sim card, and if I call them on it would the charges come from my allowance if I have them and is it free for them to receive my calls again?

        Sorry if it is a bit confusing again but I just wanted to confirm these facts as the three’s website is not very helpful.

        Thank you very much sir.

        • Hi Hon,
          Thanks for your comment. To answer each of your questions in order:
          1. The add-on with 120MB of data is actually an entirely different thing (it’s the 50p Internet Daily add-on). I recommend buying either the £10 or £15 All-in-One bundles (you should see these as a separate option).
          2. It should automatically use the allowances from your add-on when you’re travelling in another country.
          3. Unfortunately, yep, it’s only possible to make £5 top-ups on the Three website. In order to link your credit card to the account, the first top-up is £10 (subsequent top-ups can then be £5). You can get around this limitation by choosing the option to “Top-up another account” (you can enter your own phone number on that form).
          4. Your friends and family will pay the normal charges for receiving an incoming phone call from a UK-based number. In most countries, this means it’s free to receive the call (not quite sure how it works in Hong Kong as I believe you normally pay to receive phone calls as well).
          5. Yep, if you and your family all have All-in-One SIM cards, you can call and text each other using your Feel At Home allowances. It’s free to receive incoming calls when using the Feel At Home offer.
          Hope this helps to answer your questions!

  • I think that this 321 tariff sounds great but I cannot find out if there is a minimum call charge or call set up charge, I know some mobile companies do this. Can you help please. Thanks

    • Hi Barbara,
      On Three, the length of all phone calls will be rounded to a full minute – you’ll then be charged for the usage at 3p/minute. There isn’t a separate charge for setting up the call. To give a few examples:
      – A 1 second phone call will be charged as 1 minute (3p)
      – A 59 second phone call will be charged as 1 minute (3p)
      – A 70 second phone call will be charged as 2 minutes (6p)
      If you’d like to go back to the original source, read the small text on page 2 of their Pay As You Go price guide.
      Hope this helps to answer your question!

  • Hi Ken
    I’m a very light user and have just received an iPhone 4s as a birthday gift, I am currently on O2 payg and have turned auto updates off as it was using up all my credit I am now considering changing to Threes 321 payg however Threes network coverage for my area is showing pale blue for indoor coverage, would installing Threes in touch app be advisable to overcome any indoor issues. Thanks Jan

    • Hi Jan,
      Thanks for your comment. If you go with Three, then I’d certainly install the inTouch application. Do note however, you will still experience reduced battery life when choosing a network with poor indoor coverage. The inTouch app also provides a less satisfactory experience compared to normal calling. So if possible, I’d still try and find a network which offers indoor coverage for your home. Take a look at my article on coverage for more discussion on this issue – a potential option for you could be getting a SIM card from giffgaff (free). The coverage is identical to O2 but costs are substantially lower.
      Hope this helps,

      • Roza Elfassy replied:

        Hi, So is it cheaper to take a giff gaff bundel , or three 321 fir calls & texts, when visiting uk for bussinness 4 times a year?

        • Hi Roza,
          It would depend very much on how you actually use your phone (i.e. the length of time you stay in the UK and your mobile usage during that period). With the giffgaff bundles, you’d obviously be paying for a whole month at a time. With 321, you’d only pay based on your usage and your credit should remain until you visit the UK next (providing of course you don’t allow the SIM card to be inactive for 6 months). If your visits to the UK last for under 2 weeks, I’d say 321 is probably going to be cheaper. If you’re coming for more than 2 weeks and using your phone fairly often then giffgaff goodybags may work out to be cheaper.
          Hope this helps,

    • Hi KGB,
      Thanks for your comment. There’s no reason technically why the 321 SIM card wouldn’t work in a tablet. However, this is prevented by section 5.3 of Three’s PAYG terms and conditions:

      5.3 Each SIM may only be used in Devices:
      (b) which are in the Device category it was provided to you for, for example, you must not use a SIM for a
      phone in a tablet or dongle

      For the Nexus 7, you’ll need to get one of Three’s mobile broadband tariffs. It’s £10.49 for 1GB of data (this works out at only slightly more than 1p/MB).
      Hope this helps,

  • I put my Mum on this tariff. Used to put £20 on a mouth on her phone, when on T-mobile standered pay as you go. Now £10 pound lasts her over a month. T-mobile did do bundles which would of worked out about the same, but where to complicated for her. So this simple package sued her well. Only problem she has is topping up, so have to type in E vouches into her phone. On Tmobile she was given a card that would topup her phone automatically, but not available on There. However the saving are worth the hassle.

    Also had to get her a new phone a Three only has a 3g network and her old phone would only work on 2G. Got her the Nokia C1 and suets her well with a big screen, and transitional numeric keypad.

  • I switched yesterday from an Orange contract to Three’s 321 PAYG, as it works out cheapest for my usage. I had to top-up £10 for the first top-up though subsequent top-ups can be as low as £5. With my initial top-up of £10 I got 150Mb free as mentioned in Ken’s article but I was surprised to also receive 600 free texts; both lasting 30 days. I am also pleased with Three’s coverage where I’m living, quite a fast connection. So I recommend Three.

  • Hi Ken,

    I’ve just moved from Ovivo to Three 321. Though a very low user, I think the charges for data could be higher than you suggest. I’ve been told that (once my initial free data allowance has expired) I will be charged 1p each time my phone contacts the internet (e.g. to synch email) so that, for example, I could be charged £1.00 if my phone makes contact 100 times, even if the total data consumption is only, say, 2MB.

    If this is right, if on a 321 tariff, you need to switch off any autosynch and, to keep control, switch off the data connection, only switching it back on when needed.

    It may be I’m wrong: it was possible to read and send emails on my phone using the mobile phone signal before there was any credit on the phone.

    • Hi Judy,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not aware of any minimum charges when your phone connects to the internet. On most smartphones today, an always-on connection will be maintained to the internet. Hence, there wouldn’t be a new data session when syncing your e-mail, checking the weather, etc. If the total data consumption is 2MB, you should only be charged 2p for all of the usage.
      With regards to being able to read and send e-mails without any credit, this is a rather interesting situation! It shouldn’t be possible (unless you were using wi-fi at home). Alternatively, there’s the 150MB of free data every time you top-up your SIM card. You may have been using the free data allowance included on a previous top-up.
      Hope this helps!

      • Many thanks for your reply. My free allowance has now expired, so I’m able to confirm you are right about the charging. So far I’ve just used the phone for checking emails and sending the odd email and have not yet spent my fist penny. It seems the telephone help people at Three gave me duff advice.

          • Hi John,
            Three will charge 1p to your account after you’ve used 1MB of data. There’s no charge for the amount of time spent connected to the internet.
            Hope this helps,

          • It’s working well for me. I mostly use the phone for checking emails and I only get charged when total use adds up to 1MB. I think it’s a bargain for low users. (Though not as good as Ovivo which I was on before and free.)

  • Hello Ken
    Thankyou in advance for your support, indeed for all your work on this informative site.
    My question is with regards to 0845 0870 numbers. etc…
    i was caught out a while ago when i used all my top up for a bundle and found that i needed separate credit for these type of numbers.
    specifically my question is with regards to:
    three 321 tariff, and orange (any animal pack)
    do you know how they stand with these numbers.
    To date i’ve only found vodafone support these unlimited for an extra payment of around

    • Hi Phil,

      Thanks for your comment!

      With regards to Three, you can check their special call prices via this link. For 0845 and 0870 numbers, it’s a rather hefty 35p/minute 🙁

      For Orange, the Pay As You Go price guide can be found via this link. On page 16, you’ll see it costs 12p/minute to call 0845 and 0870 numbers.

      With regards to cutting costs, it’s definitely good to find a non-geographic number (e.g. your bank might list a number you’re able to use when calling from outside the UK – you can often use this number within the UK too). There’s also websites such as SayNoTo0870. Finally, most government departs have switched to using 0345 – using the new number should save a ton in calling costs.

      Hope this helps!


  • Well hubby is paying 35p per minute with orange. Hope his phone is unlocked and if so will go on to this great tarriff rates for occasional user.

  • Just ditched Virgin’s “Simply 8” (eight pence for calls and for texts). Going with 321 or staying with Virgin? A no brainer.

  • Pete Forman said:

    I don’t think that this is a new tariff as such, it is a reduction of the rates for the existing “Pay As You Go on Three”. That said, new customers would be buying a 321 SIM.

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