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Three is one of the UK’s major mobile networks and their mobile tariffs deliver a reasonable network connection, competitive prices, and tons of data.
At a glance
|The good:||The bad:|
|Wide variety of pay monthly and SIM only mobile deals||4G download speeds not as fast as on EE|
|Unlimited data plans available||UK coverage not as good as rival networks|
|Minimal upfront costs on a wide selection of handsets||No data rollover available|
|Get 5G for no extra cost||Tethering and free roaming only available on selected plans|
|Free data roaming in 71 worldwide destinations with Go Roam||No spending cap on data charges available|
|Unlimited streaming on Netflix, TV Player, Snapchat, Soundcloud, Deezer, and Apple Music with Go Binge||Customer service could be improved|
|easyJet travel perks available on pay monthly contracts|
Truly Unlimited Data from Three
Three is currently the only provider offering unlimited mobile data, via their All You Can Eat plan. Three also recently unleashed tethering customers from a separate data allowance - you can now use up to your full allowance on tethering. On an unlimited package? You can create personal hotspots to your heart’s content.
Free Streaming and Roaming at No Extra Cost
Don’t want to dine at the data buffet full-time? Go for a package with an allowance, but don’t worry about blowing through it by streaming. Three’s Go Binge deal lets you stream content on Netflix and music on Spotify, Soundcloud, or Apple Music and even use Snapchat without eating into your data budget. You can also use 19GB of your data allowance abroad through their Go Roam offer.
Range of Handsets & SIM-only Deals
Three offers the standard range of handsets - mostly Apple and Samsung but also some niche devices - on 24-month contracts. Already have a phone? Snag a SIM, either on 12-month contracts or one-month rolling contracts with unlimited minutes, and anywhere from 4GB to unlimited data. You can also get SIMs on a pay-as-you-go basis, all with unlimited minutes and texting and up to unlimited data (to be used for 90 days).
Three is certainly made for the data-hungry. There are few lean offerings here, but you can also get more data for lower prices than elsewhere.
Three Network Coverage
The drawback is Three’s 4G network, which was the last to launch in the UK and has lagged behind the other three networks (EE, O2, and Vodafone). Its 4G download speeds currently rank third, clocking in at 21.6 Megabits per second (Mbps), behind EE (32.5 Mbps) and Vodafone (24.3 Mbps) but ahead of O2 (15.8 Mbps).
Three's 3G speeds are the fastest in the UK, however, at 8 Mbps, which is good news because Three has the lowest 4G availability - customers are only able to connect to it 76% of the time. This may be why Ofcom found that just 82% of Three’s customers are satisfied with its reception and signal strength, the lowest among the seven providers ranked in their customer service survey. However, Three is investing heavily in its network infrastructure, and its signal performance has improved recently. Their 4G network currently covers 99.8% of the UK’s population and their 3G network serves 98.3%.
Despite complaints about reception, Three’s customers are mostly content with the service they receive, with 92% saying they were satisfied overall, just below the industry average of 93%. Three had an average number of complaints from pay-monthly phone customers in 2018 - four in 100,000, equal to the industry average and below its mobile network operator competitor Vodafone.