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
£9.00 per month
24 month contract

No upfront cost

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

Buy now

Three Mobile 4G Home Router
£22.00 per month
24 month contract

No upfront cost

  • Unlimited monthly allowance
  • No activation fee
  • 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

2.7 stars
  satisfaction rating based on 842 customer ratings since 2019-10-20. See more Three Mobile customer ratings and reviews.

Details last checked on 2020-09-29

SIM Only

From £7.50 for 1GB to £24 for 100GB, nano SIMs available

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Personal WiFi

MiFi deals from £9 a month

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Short Contract

1 month contracts available from £10 with 2GB usage

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4G

Take advantage of 4G from Three on many deals

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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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4G Home Router

Unlimited data + no activation fee!

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Highest Usage

Unlimited data from £22 on a 24 month contract

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5G Home Router

Unlimited data + no activation fee! Only in the London area.

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Check Coverage

4G coverage 99.8%, 3G coverage 98.3%

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Details last checked on 2020-09-29

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
    2.7 stars
  • Customer Service
    2.7 stars
  • Speed
    2.5 stars
  • Reliability
    2.4 stars

Based on 842 customer ratings since 2019-10-20

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
The worst Internet service ever!!!!!! Everything everyone else says on here is absolutely true. The only positive thing I can say is some times, weekdays, upto 18:00 I can watch Netflix for a few hours, bbc, itv 4od buffer all the time and My5 don't even bother. After 18:00 and weekends it stops all the time, have to keep resetting it. I have been without any service for hours at a time. Like now for instance. Customer service lie, in fact fight back!! I would bet staff at Three don't have or use it. I have 3 phone, now just sim contract after years of huge bills, I use it as a hot spot, in the same home as my broadband and get a better service (tho that also buffers like crazy) DON'T BOTHER WITH 3 BROADBAND, PLEASE BELIEVE THESE REVIEWS
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Norwich Three Mobile  
Non stop loss of service. Dreadful customer dervice
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Scotland Three Mobile  
Without a shadow of a doubt AVOID 3. Aside from their absolutely abysmal connection speeds, they claimed they hadn't received the package with the contents of the broadband router when I tried to cancel. When I phoned their foreign, outsourced and rubbish 'contact us' number that they supplied on their fictitious bill, they told me they would investigate my claim and get back to me, instead of this they just moved it on to a debt collection agency (i presume as a scare tactic). Awful Awful company from start to finish.
London Three Mobile  
Although three are undoubtedly cheap, their customer service is just a total joke so I have left them.

I was formerly with Relish who provided 4G home broadband in London. Customer service and broadband was slick, efficient and helpful. Three bought relish and customer service turned to an absolute joke.

This year, they contact me to terminate my contract early (without my consent) as my contract with three was being moved to the wider three group (yes, it didn't make much sense to me either) so they were terminating my contract early and offering me the same service for more money. How kind of them.

I agreed to stay, but the experience has been so bad I've cancelled after the first 3 days. Even trying to stay was painful - I was asked to contact them which I did so and was told I would receive a call back 2 weeks later. That call back never came.

Eventually the new service started but speeds dropped from 140mbps (5G) to 10mbps over night. I spent a couple of hours trying to reach customer service to find out why but couldn't get through to a human. Eventually I decided to cancel as the service was so bad. I say I've cancelled, but in fact I very much doubt my contract has been successfully cancelled. After 4 hours on the phone and webchats trying to cancel the contract, I still don't think they've done it properly - I rang back to check and they had already messed up the cancellation. I have had no email confirming the cancellation and have written two letters as a result. I fully expect to be billed for my first month, or more likely to receive a threatening letter as I already cancelled my direct debit to them.

If you want your broadband provider to be as hard work as this in order to save a few pounds, three are the company for you. If not I would avoid them like the absolute plague. I have probably wasted 10 hours on the phoen and chats over the last few weeks trying to ask basic questions or make basic changes which should take minutes, and I still don't think they've got it right.

There's nothing wrong with the advisors. The systems are just set up completely wrong so you get put through to the wrong person who then transfers you and more often that not you are cut off in the process. Then when you do get through to the second person they also tell you they are the wrong department. This happened several times until I just couldn't bear it any longer.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    4 stars
  • Reliability
    4 stars
london Three Mobile  
Unbelievably terrible experience, do not use 3 for their home broadband.
Early into our contract the wifi was awful - fluctuating all over the place and unusable half the time. We called support and were told that we had to call while the wifi was actively down and this had to be a problem three days in a row for them to do anything about it. As it's wireless wifi, they specifically don't guarantee any minimum speeds, so you actually have to be fully offline to my understanding.

Now that our contract is up, we called to cancel it, only to find out that our wifi hub is outdated and has been known to be faulty for a long time now (Huawei B311). Never mind the half hour of flat out refusal to cancel the contract while trying to negotiate for us to stay on. It's beyond me that they weren't recalled and we weren't notified at all.

I used their webchat service to attempt to register a complaint about the fact that they were continuing to knowingly provide a faulty service and that we'd generally had terrible service for the duration of the contract, for service for future customers.

I was told it was our fault, then threatened that they would waive the contractual 30 day notice period, leaving us without wifi completely until the new provider sets up in a couple of weeks.

Seriously, just don't even bother. I'm completely floored by the whole experience.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Leeds Three Mobile  
My 4g Broadband from 3 is all but useless. A complete waste of money. It used to work but for the last 6 months it is 1mb down download/ less than 1mb upload and it periodically just drops out . At the moment I just use my phone as a mobile hotspot. Waste of money.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Aberdeen Three Mobile  
its a pity i have to give 1 star because they dont deserve it.I have to log in every 5 minutes so its impossible to do anything.I contact customer service who blame everything they can think of weather.location.congestion ect but what it boils down to is they charge for something they dont provide..Absolutely useless,dishonest company..do not waste your money.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
great yarmouth Three Mobile  
it works well at the first one month, but one day, they suddenly blocked me getting into some public websites,which i used all the time. i have to call them to unblock me and now the speed is terrible and unstable, i can't even use it for my work zoom meeting. and the funny thing is I can't even log into my router, Three is obviously monitoring people, very doggy!!
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
london Three Mobile  
I have full signal on my router but my speeds is about 1 mbs , most of the time it’s lower than that , I’ve seen speeds of 10kbs which is rediculas ... I’m stuck with this contract for another year! It also just cuts you off the internet for no reason it just stops !!! I was told it would be perfect for Xbox live , this was a massive lie , you cannot compete with someone with real internet because you are lagging so badly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It even struggles to run Netflix! NOT HAPPY!!!
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    1 star
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Southport England Three Mobile  
I went to the 3 store to ask about their mobile internet. While I was there I was told about the 4g homefi, 300mbs and only £22 a month wow! I signed up and cancelled my sky contract. The best speed was just over 15 meg at 5 AM. Before 10 am I could get 4 to 5.5 meg after that 1 meg was fast weekends we often couldn't even get on Facebook. My first complaint I was told it was because of the unlimited service and they are working hard to solve the problems. My second contact when I asked to cancel my contract was agreed without any argument. If you are considering 3 4g homefi I would suggest you ask them to put the download speed for your postcode in writing.
  • Satisfaction
    1 star
  • Customer Service
    2 stars
  • Speed
    1 star
  • Reliability
    1 star
Bridlington East Yorkshire 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.

Student broadband

Find the best student broadband deals for 2020

Posted on 2020-09-07 16:57 in Features Offers Three 4GEE BT John Lewis NOW Broadband Plusnet Virgin Media

Fast, reliable broadband is a must-have for any student house. And given that it can take a couple of weeks to set up, it's one of the first things you'll want to get sorted when you move in for the new term.

If you haven't signed up for your own broadband package before, we'll tackle some of the questions you might have here.

It's all pretty straightforward, but as a student you won't have quite as many options as everyone else. Contract length is absolutely vital - you don't want to be saddled with a long term deal that you have to keep paying for during the summer holidays or beyond.

And with all the corona-driven uncertainty this year, flexibility is more important than ever. Let's take a look at some of the things you need to know.

What speed do you need?

Your usage is probably going to be pretty high, so the fibre deals in the 60-67Mb average speed range should be your starting point.

You might get away with one of the slower fibre packages if there's only two people in your house, but in most cases the extra speed will be worth more than the fiver or so difference in price.

Faster is always better, of course, and you might be lucky enough to be living in an area where you can get speeds over 100Mb - and sometimes quite a lot more. These might come from the normal fibre providers like BT or Sky, from Virgin Media, or in 5G areas through the likes of EE and Three. Just make sure you keep an eye on the contract length and any setup fees for these faster deals.

What length contract should you get?

Short contracts are key for student broadband, so don't even consider those that need an 18 or 24 month commitment.

12 months is the longest you should go for, but even then you'll end up with quite an overlap with the summer break where you're still paying for your internet while you're hitting the beaches in Spain. Don't rule these out entirely, though, as they might still work out cheaper than a shorter option.

BT offer a few nine month deals that align much better with your term time. Some broadband suppliers, including NOW Broadband and Virgin Media, also offer 30-day rolling contracts that you can cancel at any time. These are best for zero-commitment broadband, but they do often come with significant setup fees. Be sure to factor that in when you're comparing prices.

Do you need any extras?

If Netflix isn't enough and you want a bit of sports action or some more of the latest US shows, you can save some money by adding a pay TV plan to you broadband deal. You won't be able to do this through Sky, as they only offer TV on an 18 month contract, but you can get 30-day deals on NOW TV streaming with NOW Broadband.

For any overseas students in your house, consider adding a call plan with support for cheap international calls.

Who pays the bill?

Even though you'll be splitting the bill with all your housemates, one of you is going to have put their name on the contract. It will be their responsibility. This is one of the reasons why you don't want to sign up to anything longer than 12 months, tops. You don't want to be stuck paying your broadband bill long after your housemates have moved on.

It's a good idea to assign each one of your utilities to a different person in your household so you share the risk. To help manage bills you can also look into setting up a shared bank account across the household, or take a look at apps like Splitwise that make it easier to see who owes what.

Best broadband deals for students

So, what student broadband deal should you choose?

BT offer three plans specifically for students. They're nine month deals, with speeds ranging from 36Mb to 67Mb. You can add a Sports or Entertainment TV package, as well as call plans including cheap international calls to 236 countries.

For one month contracts, you've got two main choices:

  • NOW Broadband - speeds range from a sedate 11Mb (don't bother!) to a much more suitable 63Mb, with the option to add streaming TV plans as well. All of them come with a £65 upfront fee.
  • Virgin Media - speeds on the 30-day plans range from around 54Mb all the way up to over 500Mb. Many setup fees have been waived on the 1 month rolling contracts that are specifically for students, but bear in mind that installation takes longer if your house hasn't had Virgin before.

Your other options are for 12 month contracts. When you add in the setup fees and slightly higher prices for short deals, these year-long plans may still end up being competitive, even though you'll still be paying in July and August when you don't need it. Among your best options here are:

  • John Lewis Broadband - speeds go up to an average 66Mb, with no activation fee, and usually include an e-gift card as a bonus.
  • Plusnet - speeds up to 66Mb, with just a £10 activation fee. You also get the option to add BT Sport - with Premier League and Champions League football - after you've signed up.

And there's one last thing to consider - broadband over 4G or 5G. This won't be right for everyone: 4G speeds are better for one or two users rather than a large, heavy-use household, and though 5G is blazing fast it still has very patchy coverage. If you're in the right part of London, Three's 5G Home Unlimited plans look good, and include a 12 month option. Find more great mobile broadband deals here.

Ready to start shopping for student broadband? Use our postcode checker to compare the best broadband deals available in your area today.

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BT Student Broadband

Last minute student broadband offers and options

Posted on 2019-09-12 11:39 in Features Offers Hyperoptic Three Vodafone 4GEE BT NOW Broadband Plusnet Virgin Media

It's the time of year where students around the country are heading to university, either to start their studies or return for a new academic year.

Whether you're heading to uni for the first time, returning to your student accommodation or about to start out in a new student house share, now's the time to look for a good student broadband offer to keep you online over the next 9 months.

To prepare for student broadband season, we updated our longstanding Student Broadband Guide to reflect some of the student-specific offers available this year with student-exclusive 9 month contract offers from BT and student-exclusive cheaper 1 month rolling contract offers from Virgin Media.

Both of those option mean that you can avoid paying for broadband costs should you head home or go off on travels in the 3 months between academic years. But of course you don't need a special student exclusive offer to get short contract broadband from other suppliers, for example NOW Broadband, Plusnet and Hyperoptic also have competitive 1 month rolling contract offers that even undercut BT and Virgin's prices.

This year, we're also endorsing a mobile broadband option for the first time. Well, it's 4G or 5G mobile broadband technology sold as home broadband services. With 4G and 5G home broadband routers from Three, Vodafone and EE you may have to commit to a much longer contract, but you can then take your router with you wherever you travel during summer break. Vodafone even offer a 30 day rolling contract version, although you'll have to pay more than the cost of 3 months contract to get it.

Unlike most mobile broadband solutions, these have large enough usage allowances for many households. Three's home router even comes with unlimited usage!

Even if mobile data usually isn't strong inside your student accommodation, you may get a better connection from a router, or may even be able to get an external antenna installed to boost the signal.

We weigh up all these pros and cons and give you a table of all the relevant offers over on our Student Broadband guide.

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