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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

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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 713 Three Mobile Broadband reviews»

  • unhappy

    by Niven at 09:11 on 26 Jun 2015

    Three to be honest is unreliable even with a strong wifi signal you are lucky to get five minutes of internet before it starts to hang and do nothing, i have lost track of the amount of times ive complained to three and got no where even the customer service is laughable especially as the call centre is in india, you might as well burn your money as you will have nothing but hassle so im going to change provider. Overall i would not recommend three at all an absalute waste of money and they say you can rely on it for business i dont think so you would loose clients especially as you cant get a decent connection. Three need to be investigated too as you dont get what you pay for.

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  • unhappy

    by Maqsood at 20:36 on 24 Jun 2015

    I am not happy with 3. I am new in UK bought two SIM's with unlimited data and 300 minutes free call per month. After 15 days phone was disconnected due to low balance. I was shocked as I have hardly used the phone. I have already switched to EE. Hope they give me a better service

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  • happy

    by peter at 09:37 on 15 Jun 2015

    Well I've been on it for years and it's great. I got rid of my telephone line in the house and in my holiday home and I'm totally mobile. Don't know what other people are doing wrong. Used to be a bit hit and miss on friday nights when people got home from work but even that seems to have been fixed.
    I use a 3G Router bought off eBay and wireless extenders, I am in business and use an Ipad when eating lunch in the garden or having a glass of wine on the veranda in the evening.

    Three rocks for me!


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  • unhappy

    by Alan at 22:24 on 14 Jun 2015

    Three net work very bad EE getting beter .

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