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Three mobile broadband

Three overview

  • Wide range of packages including pay monthly contracts with 1GB, 5GB or 15GB data allowance
  • Free 4G mobile broadband
  • PAYG mobile broadband available with data included - ideal for gifts
  • Great range of laptop specs available with a mobile broadband month contract
  • If you're an existing Three Mobile customer, you get 25% off any 18 month mobile broadband package.
  • Free delivery and 14 day returns policy

Best selling Three mobile broadband deals

Three Broadband Genie Road Test results

Three Road test
Three logo
rating - 5 stars5 stars
rating - 4 stars4 stars
rating - 4 stars3 stars
rating - 5 stars5 stars
Feelgood factor
rating - 5 stars5 stars
Dongle software
rating - 3 stars3 stars
Overall rating
rating - 5 stars
5 / 5

July 2014

Broadband Genie Road Trip 2014 Winner

Three has delivered a consistently strong performance in previous Road Trips and continued that trend in 2014 by coming out on top in almost all areas for both 3G and 4G services.

The dongles tested in the 2014 Road Trip were the Huawei E3256, a 3G USB dongle with folding connector which allows the device to be angled for better reception, and a ZTE MF823 for 4G, again a USB model.

Three had the fastest speeds overall, excelling in both 3G and 4G performance. Average 3G speeds were 4.48Mb download and 1.4Mb upload, with 4G coming in at 6.19Mb up and 1.54Mb down. At best we recorded 19.53Mb download for 4G and 15.41Mb for 3G, the latter actually exceeding the top speeds for every other network and service except for Three’s own 4G.

Upload speeds were acceptable but less impressive. We recorded top speeds of 3.46Mb for 3G and 2.89Mb for 4G, which was good but didn’t hold out across the whole test leading to those unexciting average numbers.

Perhaps Three’s best achievement was that it was able to complete 90% of our tasks, demonstrating an ability to retain a connection through difficult conditions better than any other network. This was particularly useful for large file downloads and uploads and streaming media, where several other providers encountered great difficulty.

Its performance led to Three winning not just our overall Road Trip award for 2014, but also the awards for fastest mobile broadband, best coverage, best 3G and best 4G.

Detailed results of the Mobile Broadband Genie Road Trip 2014

by Matt Powell May 2013

Who are Three?

While Three mobile broadband may have been late to the party as far as mobile network operators are concerned (being the fifth and final one to gain a 3G licence), it has concentrated hard on trying to lead the pack in terms of 3G mobile broadband. So far, it has pretty much succeeded.

UK residents have been bombarded with everything from free Three mobile broadband dongles and MiFi units to aggressive pricing campaigns. Over the past few years it has pulled back on some of its customer service problems too, while its network has gone from also-ran to contender.

Launched as a brand of the Hong Kong-based Hutchinson Whampoa Corporation, 3 UK's mobile network arrived in 2003. The company launched its mobile broadband in August 2007, undercutting its rivals, while its pay as you go version followed in December of the same year. 3 became the first mobile broadband operator to launch 'free' laptop deals in July 2008 and it now offers mobile internet contracts from less than £10 per month. It was also the first to market with mobile Wi-Fi dongles, which it has dubbed MiFi.

In 2008, 3 signed an agreement with rival network T-Mobile to combine their 3G access networks: at the time the biggest agreement of its type (it has since been trumped by a similar deal between Vodafone and O2). In 2011 Three began to offer truly unlimited mobile broadband to its smartphone customers, while also offering the biggest range of mobile broadband deals on dongles, MiFis and laptops in terms of data allowances.

In 2014, Three activated its 4G network in selected cities across the UK, with plans for 98% coverage by 2015. In contrast to other networks Three does not charge extra for 4G, so if you have a 4G capable device on Three you can enjoy these faster speeds right away without any additional outlay.

Three customer reviews

Show all 694 Three Mobile Broadband reviews»

  • neutral

    by peter at 10:37 on 8 Dec 2014

    I've been using this for years and in all sorts of situations. Sometimes it can be appallingly slow, especially in the evenings. Overall though I'm pleased. I've just got rid of my phone line in my home and am totally dependent on Three for phone and broadband. It's costing me £14.99 for 15gb and no line rental. I can just pick it up and take it with me when I go on holiday.
    Dongles and routers vary a lot. I just replaced a TP-Link one with a different model and have twice the speed.
    It works best of the dongle is in a window facing the antenna tower if you know where that is!!!!!! Put it on some books or something double glazed windows have metal reinforcing bars in them that interfere with the signal.

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  • neutral

    by Neil Black at 10:10 on 8 Dec 2014

    Hi, I am a 15Gb data package for about £17 or so. Over all I have been happy with three, bearing in mind what I wasn't getting with BT and the rest in terms of speed (0.1 at best) I have been getting near 1 Meg.
    However I have a couple of bug bears with them, the first is if I go over my data allowance they seem to think I want to buy more data at 10.2 pence per meg but only up to £20 at which point they cut me off. 10.2 pence per meg is 8,704 expensive than data included in the data allowance. I have now had them cut me off at my data limit. my other bug bear is being limited to 15 gig in the first place. at times it is not enough for me, 3 Mobile will NOT sell me any more data, I have asked several times.
    What kind of business refuses to sell more of its product when a customer is asking to buy it.
    I have had to ring customer service a few times I usually get sorted out and have a good chat with them, I was even invited out by one of them.
    On the subject of customer service I now need to ring them to cancel after over three years with them. I am moving to EE because they do 25 gig for £30 the same cost per Gig as Three. that is the only reason I am leaving them.

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  • neutral

    by sam edwin at 08:01 on 6 Dec 2014 | registered | 1 post

    The internet never works so you are waisting your money is unlimited but 15 hours a day is not connection so you are waisting your money.

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  • neutral

    by sandy at 17:06 on 17 Oct 2014

    Absolutely awful where i live (s40 1hp) . although i always get a good signal, i often have trouble getting my dongle to connect, & when i do connect the data just stops. I often buy 1gb for £10 a month on payg, but it's so bad now that i can rarely use more than half of the data allowance. I have also been using giffgaff (on o2 network) & i have to say that it is better (not alot) & it is cheaper, so i think i'll be sticking with that for now !

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