back to article Three extends data use with Sim-only tariff tweak

Three has refreshed its Sim-only pay-monthly contracts, with voice, text and data bundles starting from £6.90 per month and all-you-can-eat plans priced from £12.90. The Three Sim-only deals - which stretch between a month and a year - hits chips in two flavours: 'Essential' and 'Unlimited'. The former starts out at £6.90 for …


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  1. frank ly Silver badge


    If you get a cheaper (£12.90 a month, say) plan with AYCE data, do they throttle the speed if you go above the stated 1GB limit? Is tethering allowed?

    At the moment, I'm with Tesco Mobile for £12.50 a month 1 year SIM-only contract (1GB, 750 minutes, 5000 texts) which is due for renewal in December and has out-of-bundle charges. TM T&C do not allow tethering but their customer rep. told me that they don't bother monitoring it because of the excess data charges. I find tethering to be very useful when I visit family members who don't have an internet connection.

    1. John H Woods

      Re: Limitations?

      I suspect not. I use a 3 PAYG SIM and pay 15/month for AYCE, 300min, 3000 SMS.

      I use 3-4GB per month (I stream a lot of audio) and the speed seems purely based on my location. At the moment, in my house I'm getting 3.0 Mbps up and 1.6 down, with a ping of 90msec. In fact the connection is usually so good that when the facebook peak hits during school term (between 15:00 and 19:00) I switch from landline to mobile.

      I watched Mo Farrah win the 5000m on my phone in smooth video from a field. When my wife was in hospital I was able to tether my work laptop to the phone and continue doing my job from her bedside without a glitch. In fact the only reason I hesitate to recommend 3 to people is because I worry if I convert too many people I'll get less bandwidth!

    2. Mattjimf

      Re: Limitations?

      Oddly I've just been looking at the Three web page and the AYCE data doesn't include tethering, unless on The One plan.

      My question is how would they know if your tethering, as long as your not downloading torrents or the like, which I'm guessing you wouldn't be on a mobile phone.

      1. Stuart 22

        Re: Limitations?

        My experience is they don't detect tethering. Mind you, I'm careful not to make it obvious. They do, however, detect a 'voice' SIM being used in a dangle after a couple of days. Hence I had to tether. Silly really as it halved their revenue.

        1. Johnny G

          Re: Limitations?

          I'm on 3 on a non-OnePlan deal. If I teather my laptop or partner's iPod with their system immediately notices and switches me off. It's very annoying not being able to teather... the technology is out there.

      2. M Gale

        Re: Downloading torrents or the like

        There are torrent apps available on Google Play.

    3. <spez>
      Thumb Up

      Re: Limitations?

      I tether my Asus transformer to my phone it works well, you'll get booted though as soon as you use an app that reports itself as a desktop, such as Dolphin Browser.

    4. bluesxman

      Re: Limitations?

      As per other responses, my experience with Three is that they do not detect my infrequent tethering activities via wifi hotspot (or if they do, they've never done anything about it).

      Not that I do much other than a bit of web browsing and, very occasionally, some VPN from my work laptop.

      However, I have an unbranded phone -- Three branded phones may have a software restriction.

  2. Arrrggghh-otron


    I'm sure someone will be along in a minute to mention the £10 goodybag from giffgaff that gives you 250 minutes talk, unlimited texts and internet. Though tethering is not allowed... <coughs> VPN<coughs>.

    Oh wait, it was me... damn it...

    Still I'm sure another reg article will be along soon about the latest service disruption to affect giffgaff

  3. Andrew Jones 2
    Thumb Up

    @frank ly Three only allow tethering on their One Plan. All other plans do not allow Tethering - though they mention an "add-on" but I haven't seen it. I'm on the One Plan and I tethering has been an amazing thing for me. Sod's Law of course - I bought a MiFi a few months before they released the One Plan - because I was capped at 1GB. I've never had to use it since the One Plan launched - and despite being on a landline business broadband connection connected to the exchange at 8128k in a little village in the Scottish Borders - I still get faster speeds and lower ping if I use Three. It is not the first time in order to watch BBC iPlayer without buffering that I have tethered my laptop to the phone. Now.... if they could just provide some useful level of customer service........ sometimes I wonder if the reason their plans are so cheap is because there is only 10 people working at the entire company.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: if they could just provide some useful level of customer service

      I'll take their low quality, India based, customer service as long as they keep giving be great speeds when I can find a signal (I live in a dead spot)

      I was with Vodafone, but I used up their 500Mb allowance in a day, all I did was watch two shows on iplayer...

      I do 3-4 GB/data a month I guess via my phone

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re: if they could just provide some useful level of customer service

        if only three could actualy provide a usable network everywhere that they say they serve,i would love to be able to move gbs of data across their network,but at my flat although we are only 1200 yards and direct line of sight of large three base station,the signal and their backhaul suck,in 6 years of use the most i have ever been able to move just over 2gb in a month,no matter what device is used with any os and different radio software/drivers three are just bloody awful.

        only reason i still use is that other networks want between 3x and 8x the cash each month that three charge me,but other networks are not 3 times better even than crap three service,orange wanted £80+ a month and i would still have been liable for over charges of £60-80 a month.

        this just took 18 minutes to post cos of threes sucky service.

        best advice i can give anyone is to actualy try three in exactly the place you need/want to use their network.

        according to three we have no technical problems in this bit of watford,but can never get even a hint of staff round at mine to see problem.

  4. Dogsauce

    Just don't think you'll have an easy time getting away from them once you sign up. Call centre staff refusing to let me come off (completed) contract until I got quite shouty with them. I didn't want a 'solution' to their shit signal, I just wanted to move to another network (same as my work phone) that I know worked at home and in the office (Three coverage inadequate at both). I resent having to be rude to people before they do what you've been politely requesting. Even once I got to that point It took me over a month and more shouting to get a PAC code AND they kept billing me once the contract was over. Being a prick is company policy. Never going back.

    I used to tether my iPod touch to my iPhone 3G on Three so I could do web stuff on the move without killing the phone battery so much (and also get the nicer screen), never had a problem doing that, very easy to set up. GiffGaff don't seem to let me have the same choice, unfortunately.

    1. Afflicted.John

      How do giffGaff prevent you having the same choice? They cannot stop you tethering unless they actually disconnect your account...can they?

      1. Paul Shirley


        ...giffgaff don't need to disconnect your account. They simply disable your data and string you along for up to 5 days waiting to get it back. And because they can't reliably detect tethering they guess and regularly cut off innocent users...

  5. Andrew James

    All I want is ...

    10 minutes per month talk time. I dont use this much, but i do occasionally use a few minutes, so having the option would be nice.

    100 texts. Almost everyone i know is using whatsapp, or similar, these days. And those who arent i can contact by text if necessary, or email if its not important enough to need a quick reply.

    Unlimited Data.

    I don't want 200 minutes and 5000 texts & 500Mb.

    I don't want 50 minutes and 500 texts and 1Gb.

    Or any of the other seemingly random combinations.

    I need, and i suspect i am not alone, very few minutes of talktime and very few texts, but i use a lot of data. Surely someone can come up with a deal that suits my needs. This £12.90 offering fits the data requirements, and is "cheap enough" but i dont want anywhere near the number of minutes and texts so it seems they could knock off a couple of quid a month or I'm paying for something i simply wont use.

    1. Ian Yates

      Re: All I want is ...

      I can't say I've ever seen that option. TelCo's seem to assume that if you want unlimited data you aren't using a phone so they should then charge more for the data.

      It's some kind of weird paradox.

      In the end I went with GiffGaff's £10 offering, since I was the same as you and only interested in the data.

      1. Andrew James

        Re: All I want is ...

        It really bugs me.

        Want unlimited data sir, yes, no problem, thats available with our £35 deal which includes 500 minutes and unlimited texts. NO !!! Take the minutes and texts off. Charge me less.

        Someone needs to come up with a model that allows the customer to select their inclusive minutes, texts and data, and see the monthly fee changing accordingly until the right compromise against benefits and costs is achieved. We are all individual, i dont see why they think our usage patterns should be lumped together into a few options.

    2. Great Bu

      Re: All I want is ...

      What you are after is the 'I am a bloke' plan:

      2.3 minutes calls (= ~ 10 calls per month consisting of "Dave ?", "Yes", "Pub ?", "OK")

      12 texts (all "Mine's a pint" - Send to Dave)

      Unlimited Internet (with boosted bandwidth 23.30 to 01.00 for porn site video streaming)

      £10.00 a month.

  6. James 100

    Bits are bits

    Particularly with limited-data packages, limitations like no tethering/tablet use irritate me. If I've paid you for 1Gb of data, what does it matter whether that gigabyte is going into a handset, a dongle or a laptop? Unlimited ones at least have the excuse that unlimited laptop/tablet use will tend to be much heavier than regular handset use - but paying by the gigabyte and still restricting it? That's just double-charging.

    I'm with Giffgaff at the moment; the fact tethering doesn't work at all on the iPhone (even after paying for a 'gigabag' data package which does allow tethering!) is one factor in my planned jump to Orange later this year. For £6.90 though 3's bottom package (1 year contract) is very tempting: more data, minutes and texts than I'd use - and talk of an add-on that allows tethering too.

    1. Ian Yates

      Re: Bits are bits

      "the fact tethering doesn't work at all on the iPhone ... is one factor in my planned jump to Orange"

      How is changing carrier going to fix your iPhone; unless you're getting a new one, I suppose? I tether through GiffGaff without any problems.

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