Three Mobile Broadband Buyers Guide

Competitive mobile broadband offering low prices, unlimited usage allowances and excellent 4G coverage

  • Unlimited 4G and 5G usage on many plans
  • Pay as you go or pay monthly with contracts ranging from 1 month to 24
  • Special plans designed as an alternative to home fibre broadband
  • Use 5G on 4G plans at no extra cost
  • TechRadar Mobile Choice Consumer Awards 2018 winner for Best Network for Roaming and Data

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Three Mobile Personal WiFi
£12.00 per month
24 month contract

No upfront cost

  • 2GB usage allowance
  • Connect up to 10 devices
  • Free setup
  • 24 month contract

Buy now

Reasons to choose Three

  • 4G coverage across virtually the whole UK population
  • 5G network available in 66 cities, and growing
  • Dedicated home broadband services offer truly unlimited use
  • Pricing is very competitive
  • One month and pay as you go options available on some plans
  • Free roaming in parts of Europe on select plans

Possible downsides

  • 4G not the fastest among all networks
  • 5G Home Broadband only available in London at first
  • 24 month contracts needed to get the best deals
  • Three rank fourth out of five for customer satisfaction for mobile networks

Features at a glance

  • 4G speeds average around 24Mb; 5G speeds around 100Mb

  • Contracts from pay as you go up to 24 months

  • Unlimited usage on home broadband plans

  • 24 hour technical support by phone or online

  • Free mobile router or even smart speaker on some deals

  • Subsidised tablets with some deals

  • You will be charged at 1p per MB you use over your monthly allowance

2.8 stars
  satisfaction rating based on 273 customer ratings since 2022-01-31. See more Three Mobile customer ratings and reviews.

Details last checked on 2022-07-28

SIM Only

From £7.50 for 1GB to £24 for unlimited data, nano SIMs available

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Short Contract

1 month contracts available from £13 with 2GB usage

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4G

Take advantage of 4G from Three on many deals

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Personal WiFi

MiFi deals from £12 a month, upfront cost varies with plan

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Pay As You Go

From £10 for 1GB for 30 days, cost includes 1GB free

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Tablet Bundles

From FREE on a 24 month contract to full price on cheaper tariffs

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Highest Usage

Unlimited data from £24 on a 24 month contract

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Check Coverage

4G coverage 99.8%, 3G coverage 98.3%

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Details last checked on 2022-07-28

Customer Reviews

Sometimes the best way to get a feel for a broadband provider is to read what those who are already customers think of the service they're receiving. Below are all the reviews we've received for Three Mobile.

Customer Ratings Summary

  • Satisfaction
    2.8 stars
  • Customer Service
    2.8 stars
  • Speed
    2.6 stars
  • Reliability
    2.7 stars

Based on 273 customer ratings since 2022-01-31

Show all time ratings

Add your own review of Three

Ratings are left by users of our speed test as well as by reviewers. Recent star ratings summarise the last 12 months of ratings or the last 100 placed, whichever is largest.

Reviewer Location Reviewing Date Ratings
I have been using Three 5G home broadband now for six months. Download speeds are averaging 500 Mbps and upload 100 Mbps. I would recommend to anyone who has Three 5G coverage in their area.No drop outs at all..One very satisfied customer.
  • Satisfaction
    5 stars
  • Customer Service
    5 stars
  • Speed
    5 stars
  • Reliability
    5 stars
Gravesend Three Mobile  
I got this predominately to use for gaming online, when i first set up it was showing speeds of 25 meg, twice as fast as my home broadband,
The thing is, the connection drops out so often, gaming is impossible due to the lag,
Streaming on it is also pointless as the connection is so unstable. Access to adult sites is restricted, My phone is on 3 and if i do a speed test shows between 5-45 meg
I think the router might need upgrading or replacing, i can’t see how my phone will get a reliable 4g signal but not the mobile hub when they are on the same network.
Really wish i hadn’t bothered because we never use it and at £20 per month for 24 months, such a waste of money
  • Customer Service
    3 stars
Mid Devon Three Mobile  
After about 3weeks of fast reliable broadband suddenly the speed went from constant good to slow (very slow 2or 3}then good (very good 300 or400]
Have rebooted and moved the router on numerous occasions but still the same.
I live within sight of the mast ,about 200 mts away
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Bradford Three Mobile  
worst internet speed even, i run the internet speed test and its constant at 2-3MBs
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Warrington Three Mobile  
Hi all,i would like to tell you about my experience with three broadband.it is bad,bad is not the word to describe it.it is diabolical.i've had it since april and have had nothing but trouble with it,ill give you all a warning just what you can expect,i did an speed test this morning,i hope you are all sitting comfortably.right download speed,1-48mps upload speed 5-24mps.with VPN on.download speed 4-10 mps,upload speed 3-98mps without VPN on,how's that for speed,some people on these sites say there are getting over 100s off mbps i just don't see it.on my three broadband you cannot run anything properly at the speeds i've shown you. nothing works properly at all,smart TV,PC,security cameras,and as for the customers services just don`t bother they are so bad it`s hard to describe.so i will tell you all keep clear of this company as you will regret it
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
scarborough Three Mobile  
Awful customer service say you have 14 days to cancelthen make you wait for pack to return it which takes over a week your then over the 14 days and they charge you for device very sneaky and rip off
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
St Austell Three Mobile  
Worst broadband provider ever. Very incompetent. They provided me a home 5G broadband that does not work and i’ve been calling everyday for 3 weeks to follow up only to hear that the account activation will be further delayed every time. Very bad service, no one is able to help me and they give lots of false promises!!
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Southampton Three Mobile  
Absolutely crap. It took about 5 minutes just to load this page to write this review about how crap it is. 5 bars on the router, lucky to get 1Mb. If I could give them a 0 I would. Honestly had better internet in Uni halls 10 years ago and we were getting it by waggling a long stick outside and screaming dialup noises.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Yor... Three Mobile  
I've only had 3 4G home broadband hub for approximately 4 months, it's supposed be fast and for multiple users. It's awful it constantly goes round and round no signal or stops altogether, I used to have virgin which was great but just can't afford it anymore, I'm in a 2 year contract so pretty gutted, in my area anyway it is awful :-(
Plympton Plymouth Three Mobile  
Complained at the 3 shop and they said nothing to do with us for the poor reception.
Although the router says it is working with all the 5 lights on saying good signal strength. My computer says 1 bar and takes ages to load.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Cleveland Three Mobile  

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The reviews published on this page are those of the individual authors who have warrantied that they abide by our review guidelines. Reviews are not the opinion of Broadband.co.uk.

iPad by the pool

How to get Wi-Fi when you're on holiday

Posted by Andy Betts on in FeaturesO2VodafoneVirgin MobileEE MobileThree

Hopefully, holidays are back on the agenda this summer. And do we need them. But whether you're planning a staycation, or have decided to venture abroad, you'll also need Wi-Fi, so you can get local information, stay in touch with the rest of the world, and keep yourself entertained as you travel.

Fortunately, you've got a number of options, and they won't cost you a fortune to use them. Let's take a look at the cheapest ways to get Wi-Fi when you're holiday at home or abroad.

Hotel Wi-Fi

The best way to get Wi-Fi when you're abroad is likely to be through your hotel. Most have it these days, and many hotels and hotel chains offer it for free, sometimes with the option to upgrade to a faster service.

But you may need to take a precaution.

The rule when it comes to any public Wi-Fi service is that a password protected connection is better than something that's fully open, but that's still no guarantee that it's completely secure. This applies equally to your Airbnb rental or airport Wi-Fi as it does to hotels.

You don't need to worry about this if you're only doing some casual browsing. But if you're planning to log in to sensitive sites like your bank account, then you should set up and install a VPN first. This ensures your connection and data are fully encrypted. Alternatively, you could just use your phone and its data connection for these tasks, so that you bypass the Wi-Fi altogether.

Hotel Wi-Fi can vary quite a lot in terms of performance. Some may or may not be very good, and you might find that some bandwidth-heavy services like Netflix are blocked. If you have the chance to upgrade to a faster service then that would be the best way to use these types of sites, but keep in mind that you'll likely be paying for 24 hours of access, so the fees could rack up over the course of your stay.

Mobile broadband

Another good option for getting Wi-Fi at home or abroad is through a mobile broadband service from providers like Virgin Mobile, EE, O2, Vodafone and Three.

These use the 4G or 5G phone network to give you internet access through a personal mobile router to which you can connect all your devices. You can also use it with a dongle connected to your laptop, or on a SIM-enabled iPad, although both of these options make it a little harder to share your connection with your other gadgets.

Mobile providers haven't reintroduced roaming charges post-Brexit, so you can use your mobile broadband allowance in many other countries. You should check where before your sign up - coverage is mostly for EU countries, so if you're heading further afield the price may be prohibitively expensive.

Even within the EU you might have fair usage limitations placed on some packages. And, of course, you'll be reliant on mobile coverage wherever you are. Head off for a city break and you'll be fine; go camping in the countryside and you might want to check the coverage maps for the area first.

Staying in the UK? You can use our Signalchecker service to check mobile phone coverage throughout the country.

Your phone's plan

Don't forget also that iPhones and Android phones can be set up as wireless hotspots, enabling you to get your laptop or tablet online wherever you are.

You'll find the option in Settings > Personal Hotspot on most iPhones, and on most Android phones you'll find it by swiping down twice from the top of the screen to open the Quick Settings panel, then tapping the Hotspot or Mobile Hotspot option.

Using your phone as a hotspot works in the same way as a separate mobile broadband plan, and can be a good option if you've got a decent data allowance. You'll get the same coverage without roaming charges across the EU, but will have to pay a lot more elsewhere. In either case, keep an eye on your data use. You'll have to buy top-ups in advance if you overshoot what your plan allows.

There may be other restrictions, too. If you've got an unlimited plan, check that it allows for tethering (connecting devices via the hotspot feature), and note that there may be a fair use policy in place.

Any one of these methods, or a combination, could be right for you. If you decide that you want the security and flexibility of a personal Wi-Fi system, check out the best mobile broadband deals available right now.

Comments

Man relaxing with a laptop

How to find the best broadband for light use

Posted by Andy Betts on in FeaturesVodafoneHyperopticJohn LewisTalkTalkPlusnetEECommunity FibreNOW BroadbandOnestreamThree

You know how it goes. Whenever you start shopping for a new broadband deal, you find yourself being steered towards the faster, flashier and more expensive services.

The thing is, not everyone needs an upgrade. Some of us are happy with what we've already got, and some don't even need that.

If you don't have a house full of kids who are all online 24/7, or if you live on your own, or are part of the generation that's less computer-reliant, then you may be able to get away with a much more basic broadband service. It could even save you some money in the process.

Let's take a look at your options.

How light is light use?

First of all, you need to work out how much you actually use the internet, to make sure your usage is as low as you think it is.

If your usage is mostly things like web browsing, shopping and bill paying then that's definitely light use. TV streaming counts as well, so long as there's only one person in your house doing it at any given time, and that you don't want to watch in the highest quality on your massive 4K TV.

But there are lots of other things as well that you don't tend to think about: Windows updates on your laptop that happen in the background, downloading movies and TV shows to your Sky Q box, playing games, and sharing large files for work. And all those other little devices you've got connected to your Wi-Fi. Some of them won't be downloading much, but it all adds up.

Chances are that you do use more bandwidth than you realise, so do make sure that you buy a broadband service that's right for your needs.

Broadband for light use

The slowest broadband you can get is standard broadband. This is the old pre-fibre service that runs entirely on the copper phone network. It offers average speeds of around 11Mb, which is enough for general web use or for one person to watch Netflix in HD.

Standard broadband is old tech and is set to be phased out in a few years, but you can still get it right now. It doesn't offer huge savings - standard broadband will typically save you a couple of pounds a month, but over the course of a year they do amount to the cheapest deals you can get.

Take a look at NOW Broadband, Plusnet and John Lewis for the cheapest standard broadband packages, with prices under £20 a month.

If you don't want to go quite that slow, the most basic fibre deal you can get is from Onestream. Their 17Mb service is the cheapest widely available fibre broadband package.

Most suppliers' entry-level fibre offers more than double that speed, at around 36Mb. Almost every broadband company has a deal at this level, so there's bags of competition on price and service. TalkTalk, Vodafone and EE all have deals around the same price point for the same speed services.

36Mb is ideal for light use - it's affordable but not too restrictive. It can handle many people online at the same, with even two or three streaming movies simultaneously, so has plenty of headroom for when you have guests round.

You could also consider some specialist providers. Hyperoptic and Community Fibre have great value full fibre packages - at 30Mb and 50Mb respectively - but they're both available in only very limited areas. Or you could go for a mobile broadband deal, running on the 4G network (or 5G in some areas), such as the 18Mb plan from Three.

You don't always have to buy the best or fastest broadband deal around. Pick what you need, and if you only need something basic then you've got plenty of choices.

Ready to start shopping for a new broadband deal? Just enter your postcode into our postcode checker and you'll be able to see exactly what offers are available in your street right now.

Comments

Three Mobile Broadband Buyers Guide - Is Three right for you?

Can I get Three mobile broadband?

Three's 4G network is available to virtually the whole of the UK, while their 5G coverage is expanding rapidly.

4G coverage extends to some 99.8% of the population, although in some areas you might find that the signal is far better outdoors than indoors. This is always an important consideration when choosing a mobile broadband service, so make sure you check the coverage in your area before you sign up.

Our Speed Test survey shows that Three achieve an average speed of around 24Mb. This is broadly in line with most of their rivals, as well as entry level fibre broadband services. 4G+ is available in some regions, which can deliver significantly faster speeds.

The 5G network has launched in 66 towns and cities with more to come over the next few years. Three claim they'll have the fastest network, as they've bought more 5G spectrum than the other providers. All their SIMs are 5G-ready, so you can access the faster network on a 4G plan for no extra cost, as long as you've got hardware that supports it.

Can I get 5G on Three?

Three's 5G network is available in 66 cities and large towns, with more expected to be added throughout 2020.

The 66 locations where you can get 5G from Three are Aberdeen, Abingdon-on-Thames, Aldershot, Aldridge, Balloch, Barrow-in-Furness, Basildon, Bath, Bedford, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Blackpool, Borehamwood, Bradford, Brighton, Brookmans Park, Cannock, Cardiff / Caerdydd, Chatham, Clayton-le-Woods, Coventry, Crawley, Cullingworth, Derby, Doncaster, Dundee, Glasgow, Gorebridge, Grays, Grimsby, Guildford, Heanor, Hedge End, Hemel Hempstead, Huddersfield, Inchinnan, Ipswich, Leeds, Leicester, Leyland, Liverpool, London, Lower Stondon, Luton, Maidstone, Manchester, Mansfield, Motherwell, Neston, Newquay, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Peterborough, Plymouth, Preston, Reading, Redcar, Royston, Sheffield, Slough, St Albans, Stevenage, Swadlincote, Swindon, Telford, Westhoughton, Wickford and Wigan.

The network is expected to reach more places in 2020. These are not yet confirmed, but may include Bolton, Derby, Edinburgh, Hull, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Rotherham and Wolverhampton.

What 5G mobile broadband deals are available?

Three offer one 5G broadband plan, designed specifically for home use as an alternative to a fibre deal. It's only available in London to begin with, and will roll out to other 5G areas in due course.

The Three 5G Home Unlimited plan comes with the Three 5G Hub. This Huawei-built device supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and allows you to connect up to 64 devices wirelessly at any one time. It also has a couple of Ethernet ports if you need a wired connection. The advertised download speed is an average of 100Mb, although your experience here will vary depending on how good the coverage is where you are - it may actually turn out to be faster!

There are two Three 5G Home Unlimited plans:

  • 24 months for £29 a month with no upfront fee
  • 12 months for £34 a month with no upfront fee

In both cases you get unlimited data. This compares well to other providers like EE and Vodafone, which put usage limits on most of their plans.

What other Three mobile broadband deals can I get?

If you aren't in the 5G area, Three have a range of other 4G home and mobile broadband plans to choose from.

For home broadband, you get the choice of two devices.

The first is the Huawei HomeFI Plus. This is a compact home Wi-Fi hub that lets you connect up to 64 devices at one time, as well as four more via a wired connection. It's available on three plans, all with unlimited data:

  • 24 months for £22 a month with no upfront fee
  • 12 months for £27 a month and £29 up front
  • 1 month rolling contract for £30 a month and £29 up front

The second is the Huawei AI Cube. This AC-rated wireless hub handles up to 64 connected devices, and also doubles up as a smart speaker. It's got built-in Alexa support from Amazon, and you can use it to voice-control any smart devices you've got in your home. It comes on two plans, both with unlimited data:

  • 24 months for £25 a month with no upfront cost
  • 12 months for £32 a month and £49 paid up front

In addition to that, Three have a mobile broadband router that you can choose if you need to use it when you're on the road. This device is the not so catchily named Huawei E5573bs-322 4G Mobile Wi-Fi, which is the size of a credit card and delivers four hours of battery life. You can get this on over 20 plans, ranging from unlimited data on a 24-month deal to up to 24GB on pay as you go. It isn't a home broadband replacement.

And then there are some SIM-only plans that you can use with your own hardware, with usage allowances of up to 100GB a month. There's tablet plans, too, which is a great way to save on a new iPad - or at least spread the cost over a longer period of time. The data options here give you up to 40GB on a 24 month contract, or 24GB on pay as you go, with upfront costs.

Should I choose 5G or 4G mobile broadband from Three?

Three are already a popular choice for home broadband services. Because they don't come with any data caps they are a true alternative to a fibre plan.

5G Home Unlimited is an excellent option. It's fast, it's affordable and it's unlimited. But it comes with one pretty big caveat - it's available hardly anywhere. Despite Three having launched 5G in 66 places, you can only get Home Unlimited in London. And even then the availability is not city wide. If you are in range, with good coverage, then it's worth considering.

If you're in an area with a weak signal you'll still get a service, but it will drop down to 4G speeds. You could take a punt on the service being upgraded during your contract period, or you could just save a little money by choosing a 4G option instead.

The 4G plans are also pretty attractive. They aren't that much more pricey than an equivalent fibre deal, but you do have to be willing to choose a very long contract (two years) to get the best value.

Broadband.co.uk