back to article Three axes data-roaming fees in SEVEN countries

Mobe operator Three has abolished roaming charges. Well, in seven countries, at least, and only on calls and texts sent homeward bound. All Three customers who travel to Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, the Republic of Ireland or Sweden will be able to make calls to Blighty, send texts to the UK and – crucially – …

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Anonymous Coward

Bah, I'm leaving for holiday next week, and after reading the headline, I thought I was suddenly going to save loads of money in data charges, but I'm not going to any of those countries... :(

Anon, so you don't all gatecrash my house

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Devil

I suppose when you consider such a scheme to save loads of money during a holiday there's not much of a reason to gatecrash your house anyway.

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A rather eclectic selection of countries. I was expecting to see the usual favourite destination for UK travellers of France, Spain etc...

But thinking about it for a second I realise what they've done here is grab a good headline, but without too much risk of people using the service too much!

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It seems Three hasn't perhaps pointed out that the deal, much like 3LikeHome that existed a few years back, uses other Three networks only. And there aren't that many of them.

I expect that to offer this deal on other operators, they'd need to do special deals and I bet the others are quite happy to wait until the very last second to give up this extra money, before the EU hopefully moves to axe EU-wide roaming charges at all.

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Tethering will be blocked

Might be why I suddenly got a complete lack of connection through the computer, and a "your connection does not allow tethering" message on any attempt to use the phone browser just now. A hard reset and removal/replacement of SIM seemed to clear that though.

Dunno about saving money, but that procedure just saved an irate call to tech support along the lines of me only being on the One plan because it specifically allows tethering!

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Re: Tethering will be blocked

I often get the message that 3 has incorrectly detected that I am attempting to use tethering when I'm just using the internet over 3g. I contacted 3 about it and their first step was to factory reset the phone so I gave up with that line of enquiry. However turning the mobile network off and on again usually fixes the problem.

This is great news tho, worth picking up a 321 payg sim package if you are visiting one of those countries.

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Re: Tethering will be blocked

Question for those who know more about the subject than me: how do 3 know you're tethered if you have an unlocked phone? Active connection count? I'll be very miffed if they can check what apps I'm running.

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MrT
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Tethering looks different...

... not just because of the change in quantity of data. When a phone is used as a router (wired or WiFi hotspot) the packets don't terminate at the handset. If the teleco decided to check on tethering from your phone, they could use the src and dst in the packet headers to figure out if you had hooked up a tablet or laptop. Many high-end handsets also use different APNs for tethered data (especially subsidised ones) so the traffic is sent by a different connection.

Most companies turn a blind eye to occasional use but would be able to provide valid reasons for blocking users if they overdo it.

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Headmaster

Re: Tethering looks different...

Most of this seems to be correct asides "When a phone is used as a router (wired or WiFi hotspot) the packets don't terminate at the handset."

Most mobile phones (at least around here) act as a NAT router (on top of your carrier's NAT, so yay for double-NATting, in the most sarcastic tone possible). As far as the network is concerned, the phone is the end of the line. It simply doesn't see however many devices you have on the other side of the NAT-wall.

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Re: Tethering will be blocked

how do 3 know you're tethered if you have an unlocked phone?

They don't. The tethering-block is a piece of software that runs on your phone. It is usually planted there by your carrier when you "borrow" a phone for a dollar and pay for it over the next thirty years on one of their overpriced plans. You get to buy an upper-market phone with a buck, and they get paid for the phone over the life of the contract with interest. What they don't tell you, is that there are a load of strings attached, and they've actualy given you an off-the-shelf phone with a few "minor" firmware changes. Such as network locking, tethering blocks, or conditional tethering being a couple of obvious changes.

If your phone was purchased outright, off-the-shelf if you will, the SIM card and carrier will have no idea that tethering is even happening - it just pumps data through.

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Re: Tethering will be blocked

"If your phone was purchased outright, off-the-shelf if you will, the SIM card and carrier will have no idea that tethering is even happening - it just pumps data through."

Nope. I've had two phones that I bought SIM free that directed me to the operator tethering sign-up site when I tried to enable it.

It's not been a problem recently as the operator stopped charging extra for tethering a few years ago, but it certainly didn't make any difference having bought a "vanilla" phone.

On the other hand, using third-party apps like Joikuspot allowed tethering to work without problem.

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Re: Tethering will be blocked

It's definitely not software on the phone, mine is rooted and I've installed a custom rom. As mentioned in an earlier post they must be looking at the packet headers to detect the destination.

However as I get the message when I'm not attempting tethering then either a) I have a rogue app that is doing something dodgy or b) 3's tethering detection is flawed.

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Re: Tethering will be blocked

The whole tethering issue gets my back up.

If I have a contract with X Gig of data, what difference does it make how I consume it?

I thank Apple for this... I tethered mobile phones for years, by serial, IR etc, nobody says a thing... Then the iPhone comes along and has tethering as a paid for option... It's been downhill from there!

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Three had this years ago for RoI and then they removed it. Hope France gets on that list soon. Once my contract is up would switch just for that.

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Though the handy thing was the last time they removed it they had a clause in the contract enabling you to leave 3 without penalty (which I did). Some people who left were only a couple of months into a 24 year deal. I managed to escape a few months early (which was handy as my phone broke).

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>> only a couple of months into a 24 year deal

Next renewal I'd expect a decent loyalty discount ...

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Yep, I was all like "wooo!", and then quickly realized that France Telecom/Orange would evidently not be one of the co-operating operators. Get it in France, PDQ please, and I'll easily convince the rest of my family to join me on Three.

Three is magic. OK, there are on occasions times when you will get no signal at all, but they will be very very rare. More often than not, particularly if you live/travel in rural areas, your phone/tablet will have lovely 3G, and your friends on O2, Vodafone and Orange have close to nothing. I spent the bank holiday weekend in a field in Norfolk, streaming the cricket over 3G to my tablet - no-one else in our field could even send a text without walking half a mile.

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oops. Actually being in a 3 contract did feel like 24 years!

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Devil

Bet they still use the same watchdog-endorsed debt collectors though!

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Pint

How convenient, just as I got my new 3 sim :-)

Now if only they'd add Germany...

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Facepalm

Misread the title.

Wondered what seven countries Germany, Italy and Japan had decided to bully!

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Facepalm

10p per megabyte ?

They have got to be kidding. It must cost them, what, about 0.00000001p per MB to carry?

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Re: 10p per megabyte ?

0.00000001p per MB to transmit over the airways but 5p to maintain the equipment to allow the transmission over the airways plus other costs. Allow some profit.

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Re: 10p per megabyte ?

I do dislike this kind of argument in favour of per-byte charging.

You'd have to pay maintenance regardless of whether the network is being used. Charge to maintain the infrastructure, not for an infinite resource.

There's a difference between profit and profiteering.

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Am I the only one who read the headline as the plural of axis, and pictured phone roaming along each of those axes independently and for free?

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Facepalm

Probably...

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axis/axes

No; I was expecting a nice infographic.

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Happy

Re: axis/axes

I read it and was expecting some three-space charging plan that would require advanced maths to understand. Although that's because I'm not familiar with the company Three, and thought it was meaning "3-axis data-roaming..."

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Blighty takes the lead - for once

I just pray that Orange, SFR or one of the other French operators starts to offer the same thing. I live and work on the French/Swiss border and I have to carry 2 phones because of the ridiculous roaming charges. ( I an pretty much garaunteed that Swiss Telecom or Orange.ch will definately not follow suit)

I can be in my apartment in France but my damned telephone connects to the Swiss network ( to the same damned operator - Orange). It can be a real pain the arse and costly when I forget to check which network I am on..

( Data roaming is switched off on both phones otherwise my salary would go directly to the operators - bastards)

Roaming for me is a simple as going for a jog round my neighbouhood and the phone switches several times between the French and the Swiss operators. So it's not usefull just for those that go on holiday.

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Re: Blighty takes the lead - for once

Not sure Blighty takes the lead. I moved from London to Wicklow (ROI) three years ago and signed up to a Three contract in Eire simply because they still offered the previous incarnation of this deal (Three Like Home) so I avoided paying roaming charges when on personal and business trips back to the UK.

It was only shortly before this that the UK arm of Three scrapped that offering so they've just reverted to something they've previously offered and rebranded it. Still, means I can finally port my O2 number to Three for my UK phone and remove roaming charges on both accounts... which is nice...

Also, Hutchison Whampoa are based out of Hong Kong.

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Go

Re: Blighty takes the lead - for once

The thing about Switzerland is that they are not part of EU or EEA. That means they are outside this roaming agreement that is keeping the price down. That means almost full price for any other people in Europe that go to Switzerland on holiday. I guess people in Swiss like they're pricey roaming charges. This works both ways.

The only area that I know if that fits your description is Basel (or in that area).

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This is really, really good news!

Well done Three - it's about time that something like this happened :)

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Good news for me

I noticed that 3 was offering a relatively good deal when I was in Italy last month (via 3 Italia), especially when I heard the bloke on the next table blathering on about how much he was charged for data roaming (not sure which provider but it was pretty eye watering). Now I won't have to look for WiFi on my next holiday planned for Austria - assuming 3 has coverage where I am going. If they could just add Canada to the list I would be a very happy man. Shame about the tethering but then I don't usually bother taking my lappie anyway.

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Yeah, it's surprising...

Yeah, it's surprising to me that only Three (not Vodaphone, Orange, O2, etc.) takes advantage of having a network in more than one country to provide a low roaming rate *on their own networks* at least. I realize that roaming is a bit profit source for them but I would have assumed one of them would have "broken ranks" years ago.

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Re: Yeah, it's surprising...

"I realize that roaming is a bit profit source for them but I would have assumed one of them would have "broken ranks" years ago."

What is commonly known as "price fixing" an area in which the telecoms operators are kings of the jungle.... Three have taken the leap , let's pray the others are forced to follow.

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Re: Yeah, it's surprising...

The EU Commission found them guilty of price fixing - the savings made by roaming on sister networks led to fatter profits not lower charges for customers - which led to the price caps set by the Commission.

It looks like Three is one of the first to take advantage of the new wholesale pricing that the Commission mandated. If the other networks don't follow then we can expect MVNOs to give it a shot. My money would be on companies like Free in France trying to come up with similar offers.

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Already available on 3 Austria

You can already use your "3" Austria phone like that in the UK. Until now the "3" UK did not have a similar arrangement. Perhaps they wanted to milk their UK customers a bit more, before coming up with this amazing innovation and getting more customers...which of course, they will! (at least one)

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Got excited there for a minute, but that excitement soon waned ........1gb data = £100 ( 10 x monthly contract that includes unlimited data).

I would be interested in what other people consider to be a fair rate to access data abroad, i'll kick this of with what I think.

£5 for 250mb, no time limits.

Steve.

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Anonymous Coward

That 10p/mb is for when you exceed the data on your normal plan, as far as I can tell. Some people will get badly bitten, no doubt, but most people will probably save money when traveling with this new setup.

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So the three 321 payg tariff is 1p/Mb which works out at £2.50/250mb no time limits which is 2x better than your suggested 'fair rate'. Maybe your excitement should wax a little now... :-)

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For every £5 top up, you get 150MB of data too, so that 321 PAYG tariff is even better if you do smaller top ups (unless I'm missing something).

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:o(

Useless for me until they add the US and Mexico :o( (o2 charged me around £30 for a 15 minute call - twice (and that then prevented me from topping up the PAYG phone I had with me for the rest of my trip (still not worked out why you can only top up using the same card twice in a month (there's never been the same restriction for using the card to purchase coupons), which was a major pain! it wouldn't even let me use the website to top it up using the same card))

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Three PAYG

I've had a 3 data only SIM on a monthly contract for a while, which gives me 2GB/month for a fiver. Not a bad deal, but I never get anywhere near 2GB, even when I'm on holiday.

I've just got myself one of their new 3-2-1 PAYG SIMs - claims to be 3p/min voice, 2p/text, 1p per MB data - and that looks like being a lot cheaper than the 12p/min I pay EE for voice.

Anyone know if this new roaming thing covers PAYG?

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Re: Three PAYG

From the 3 link in the article

Who can use Feel At Home?

Feel At Home is available to any Three customer - all Pay Monthly phone customers, SIM plans, Pay As You Go, Mobile Broadband and Business customers.

HTH

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Coffee/keyboard

Data

I'm getting REALLY fed up of this "data" restriction from most of the networks (and not specifically when roaming).

If you pay for a set amount of data on your connection then you should be entitled to move that volume of data over the connection. Source and destination should largely be irrelevant. It would be like the government saying "we've increased the speed limit to 200mph, but only if you use a horse drawn carriage".

I left Three because they blocked me from using the data bundle I'd been buying for my SIM because "you can't use that SIM for data" (they didn't however stop charging for it!). In other words, "we'll quite happily sell you buy a bundle of data, but we won't let you actually use it".

Networks - we know you read this - GET IT SORTED. Give us the data we're paying for!!!

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Happy

RoW Roaming

Just putting this out there...

On EE there is a 'roaming' option on their monthly plans - extra £5pm, for unlimited voice & txt in I think over 65 countries - plus much cheaper data....it's around £2.50 for 100Mb data...

Only real reason I'm on EE, if another network offered the same would probably take it...

Hope this helps all you 'roamers' out there !

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