It's a war out there in the mobile market, but as one of the UK's four network providers, Three is able to bring some seriously big guns to the fight. All other mobile providers in the UK piggyback off their signals.
You could say this of most major providers, especially those with their own networks (Three, EE, Vodafone and O2), but Three really does have a tremendous range of handsets on offer at any given time.
All the usual suspects are present from Apple, Samsung, Huawei and more, but you’ll also find phones from hipster choices like Google, OnePlus, OPPO and Xiaomi. You will also find a solid selection of budget handsets from the likes of Nokia and Samsung.
Three also offers a great range of SIM-only deals if you're not in the market for a handset, some of which even offer unlimited data with their Data Pack add-ons.
Whether you choose SIM Only, broadband, or a phone deal, you can enjoy Unlimited data with Three. Three’s Unlimited plans give you truly Unlimited data in the UK. Unlike some networks, they don’t cap your speeds or implement ‘fair usage’ policies. With Three, you can stream, swipe, and share to your heart’s content in the UK.
Some UK providers do offer unlimited data, but it doesn’t actually mean unlimited, as some networks apply what’s called a ‘fair usage policy’, which clamps down on people who abuse their unlimited data allowances. Fair usage policies also exist to prevent people from using plans that are intended for personal use for commercial purposes instead. Other providers with unlimited data are restricted to existing customers only (such as BT Mobile and Virgin Mobile), and others that technically do offer unlimited data deals, but throttle your download speed once you reach their cap. This leaves Three as the only provider to offer truly unlimited data deals that don't either throttle your download speed or demand you sign up to other services. Note that Three’s popular ‘Go Binge’ offer that excludes Netflix and other streaming content from your data usage is no longer available from October 2020 onwards.
And the great thing about unlimited data from Three is that, relatively speaking, these pay-monthly and SIM-only deals aren't really all that expensive – not when you consider you could basically stream data 24/7. Mind you, you'd best have a good reason for needing unlimited data, and you'd best bear in mind that you won't be able to tether all your home devices to it and use it as your main broadband connection. Three won't allow that, and has in place sensible tethering limits to prevent this sort of misuse.
Post-Brexit, free roaming for UK mobile customers across mainland Europe came to an end, and providers began to charge for call and data services abroad. Three announced it would be making changes to the popular ‘Go Roam’ service, which previously let you unlock your call, text, and data allowance in 71 destinations around the world, but there are some helpful caveats worth knowing about.
To unlock your UK allowance in ‘Go Roam in Europe’, there’s now a £2 daily charge. When you ‘Go Roam Around the World’, it will cost you £5 a day, but you won’t need to pay these charges until 23 May 2022, as Three will waive them until then. If you’re on Pay As You Go, or your Pay Monthly plan started before 1 October 2021, these new charges won’t apply.
‘Go Roam’ doesn't mean you get to make calls for free when you're abroad, it just means you won't be charged more than your regular call rate by making calls in certain foreign countries. Three refers to these countries as 'Feel At Home' destinations – yes, with the weird capitalisation there.
Countries included in 'Feel At Home' are (brace yourselves): Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, Vietnam, Åland Islands, Australia, Austria, Azores, Balearic Islands, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (including Corsica, Mayotte & Reunion), French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece (including Crete and Rhodes), Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hong Kong, Hungary and Iceland.
We're not done yet: Indonesia, Isle of Man, Israel, Italy (including Sardinia and Sicily), Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Madeira, Malta, Marie-Galante, Martinique, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Republic of Ireland, Reunion, Romania, Saint Barthelémy, Saint Martin, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, US Virgin Islands, United States (including Florida Keys) and Vatican City.
This is by far and away the most generous standard roaming package of any provider. There were previously similar offerings from others, but as of January 2021, you will likely have to pay a bit extra to get them or take out a specialist SIM deal that's great abroad, but simply not competitive for general use at home. Some Ts and Cs apply to some countries in that list, and some types of usage, so make sure you check exactly what the score is with your destination before taking the plunge.
Three says that its free mobile application gives customers ‘everything at your fingertips’ to avoid queues, calls, and additional support. To use this app, you need to register for My3 once you’re a Three customer, download the mobile app, and then you will be able to check your phone and data usage, top-up or add-on additional services to your monthly plan, access exclusive deals and handset upgrades. You can also see when you’re due for a device upgrade if you are on a contract with Three. The app lets you easily view your plan details and your bills on the go, making it a very convenient feature for Three customers.
Most providers offer WiFi calling as standard. We believe EE was the first to offer it and after a time, with customers finding it so useful, most other network providers have followed suit. Despite the rather complete-looking coverage maps presented by most providers, mobile coverage indoors can differ dramatically from outside.
Mobile signals hate walls, buildings, hills and other obstacles, especially if they contain metal of some kind. WiFi calling, then, pretty much guarantees a great reception at home (or anywhere you can get on the wifi). It's really very, very useful.
With Wi-Fi Calling, you can call and text whenever you're connected to Wi-Fi in the UK, even if there’s no mobile signal. With Three, you’ll be charged in the same way as normal, so your usage will come out of your monthly allowance, or you'll be charged at the same rate as you usually would be for using the network. Depending on the phone you have, it will either need a simple software update to switch seamlessly to Wi-Fi Calling, or you'll just need to turn it on in your phone’s settings.
VoLTE offers the ability to make voice calls over 4G (previously called 4G Super-Voice by Three), which is handy as it allows you to continue calling in areas which don’t have a mobile signal. Call quality can sometimes be higher when using VoLTE.
Three pioneered the VoLTE service in the UK back in 2015, but today it is also widely available from other UK providers. As of late 2020, Three extended the rollout across its entire 4G network with over 11,000 sites enabling VoLTE on the 4G 1800/2100 MHz spectrum—which Three says will help improve customer experience for over 80% of its customers.
Three reckons its 4G signal operates at special frequencies that find it easier to make it through walls. We cannot verify whether or not this is true – such things are notoriously difficult to test. What we can tell you is that mobile signals travel in electromagnetic waves and the longer these waves are (the wavelength) the harder it is to stop them with solid matter.
If you want to experience this effect for yourself, play some music in one room of your house and move through an adjoining room. What can you hear? It's going to be mostly bass (low sounds) with very little detail in the high sounds. This is because higher frequencies struggle to pass through matter, where lower (longer wavelengths) can pass through with little bother.
Three claim its lower 4G frequencies give it an advantage indoors. All we can confirm for sure is that, scientifically, that would make sense.
Yes, it really is unlimited data. Three’s Unlimited data plans are great value because the data is truly Unlimited and you never need to worry about your next bill. There are no speed caps, no data caps, and no hidden limits when you're using Three’s Unlimited data service in the UK.
Customers can frequently find cheaper deals from Three, with more generous data allowances to choose from than with other providers. Three allows customers more choice when it comes to the data tariff they want and how long they want the contract to last for. They also offer beneficial terms for loyal customers on monthly plans, especially if you renew your contract.
Three’s combined 3G and 4G network covers 99% of the UK outdoor population, comparing very favourably with rival providers in the UK.
Compare the best mobile phone deals and offers in your area with the postcode checker on this page.