Dan Howdle | May 9th, 2023
Three is somewhat of a pioneer in the UK mobile market. The first to push the now-dated 3G technology back in the early 2000s, and ever since a pioneer, being at the forefront of both 4G and 5G provision, the first to offer unlimited mobile data tariffs, and the first to offer permanent home broadband packages via its mobile network.
It should come as no surprise then that Three offers copious availability of its network across the UK, both for its mobile and SIM customers, and for a broader range of related products. In this guide we'll take a close look at Three coverage and availability, as well as an overview of Three's product range, and some tips and tricks for getting the best Three mobile reception.
Three is one of the UK's four mobile network providers, the others being O2, Vodafone and EE. Mobile network providers differ from regular providers in the sense they own and maintain their own mobile network, where other providers (known as MVNOs) piggyback, or borrow capacity from one of these four in order to offer their services. As such, Three coverage will be identical to the MVNOs that use its network. Right now, those other providers running on Three are Smarty, iD Mobile, FreedomPop and Superdrug Mobile.
Here's a quick overview of Three coverage across the UK:
|Coverage by population
|No longer available
|98.7% (switching off in 2024)
|588 towns and cities
Three's current coverage picture is a more mixed bag than other network providers. This is mainly because Three already switched off its 2G services, while its 3G services are due for the same treatment by the end of 2024. 4G coverage remains its strongest for now, with only 0.2% of the UK population unable to get it. 5G from Three continues to roll out across the UK, with the focus currently on towns and cities – 588 of them at the time of writing. If you live somewhere reasonably well populated, there's a good chance you can get 5G from Three.
For those unfamiliar with the technologies discussed here, here is a brief overview:
Three is both a provider and a network provider. That is to say it directly offers mobile deals, SIMs and so on, while also owning and running its own network. As such, Three offers a huge array of products and services that extend far beyond mobile phone contracts. Let's take a look at Three's broader offering.
Mobile phone coverage maps are all well and good, but they often have great difficulty understanding how your mobile signal will fare indoors, or when surrounded by geographical obstacles such as buildings, hills, trees and so on.
If you're struggling to get a good signal from Three, here are some tips that may improve the situation:
There are a few possible reasons for experiencing poor Three network coverage in your area. It could be due to a number of factors such as interference from other electronic devices, distance from the nearest phone mast, or geographical obstacles like hills and buildings. In some cases, the type of device you're using may also affect your signal strength.
To improve your Three network coverage at home, you can try using a signal booster or wifi calling. Three offers a Home Signal box, which uses your broadband connection to boost your mobile signal. You can also try resetting your device's network settings or contacting Three's customer service for further assistance.
Yes, you can use wifi calling to improve your Three network coverage if you have a compatible device and access to a wifi network. Wifi calling enables you to make and receive calls and texts over a wifi network instead of the Three network. This can be useful if you're in an area with poor Three network coverage but have access to wifi.
If you're still experiencing poor Three network coverage after trying these solutions, you can contact Three's customer service for further assistance on 0333 338 1001. They may be able to troubleshoot the issue or provide alternative solutions, such as a network extender or a different device. If you're in an area with consistently poor network coverage, you may want to consider switching to a different mobile network provider.