Mar 2nd, 2019
- Inclusive Roaming of 71 destinations worldwide
- Unlimited streaming data on apps such as Netflix and unlimited Snapchat use
- Easy to use Wi-Fi calling 99% 4G coverage and fast speeds
- No data rollover is available
- Limited Wi-Fi hotspots
- No free subscription services
Half Cooked’s overall rating for Three: (4.5 / 5)
Three have 99.8% 4G coverage with data speeds second only to EE. With inclusive roaming in more destinations worldwide than any other network and unlimited streaming on popular apps such as Netflix and Apple Music, Three not only gets the basics right but also leads the way with a number of unique perks in the market.
The Three network is the smallest out of the big 4 operators in terms of the number of customers they have but they rank among the top in terms of their product offerings and with their incredibly competitive price point half cooked gives Three a ranking of 4.5/5.
Click here to go direct to Three’s website and see their latest SIM offers.
Skip to the Half Cooked breakdown to find out how Three performed in each of our main categories by clicking here.
Otherwise read on for our full review or skip to a specific section by choosing from the table of contents below.
Table of Contents
Network Coverage & Data Speeds (4 / 5)
Three is one of only 4 MNO’s (Mobile Network Operators) in the UK alongside EE, 02 and Vodafone.
For data speeds, we have looked at independent testing done in the first half of 2018 by Open Signal. Three is only behind EE in terms of data speeds with an average download speed on 4G of 23 MB/s vs EE who leads the way with 29MB/s.
Three won the award for ‘best network for data’ at the last mobile consumer choice awards which is voted for by customers.
Network coverage with Three is strong with 99.8% 4G coverage and 98.3% 3G coverage. You can visit the Three site to use their coverage checker to find out the quality of coverage in your area.
Voice Call Quality (3 / 5)
Three only operates on the 3G & 4G network and doesn’t have any 2G spectrum. With Three’s 4G super voice you can expect to get increased indoor and rural coverage on your Three SIM. 4G super voice gives Three customers the ability to make calls in areas they previously could not as signals are stronger than ever. To access this, you need to ensure your mobile device is 4G compatible.
Using another independent testing body to assess voice call quality, we looked at P3 communications tests. Three came third out of the major operators with a score of ‘good’. The main reason Three came out behind both EE and Vodafone was considerably longer call set up times in larger cities – about 1.5 seconds longer on average.
Tethering (3 / 5)
Tethering is turning your mobile device into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot which in turn allows your data to be used by other Wi-Fi devices to access the internet.
Three does allow tethering, but not on all of its data plans. Essential SIM plans are Three’s low cost options, you don’t get the roaming and data streaming benefits of the rest of their plans but you do benefit from a discounted rate. This means you won’t be able to tether using your SIM in your mobile device either.
You can tether on Three’s Advanced Pay Monthly Phone & SIM plans and on PAYG as long as you use the data with an add on or convert your cash to credit at their rates of 1p/MB.
For tethering abroad in any of the ‘Go Roam’ destinations you will have to have an Advanced Pay Monthly plan with ‘All-You-Can-Eat’ data however this is limited to 12GB in Europe and 13GB in a non-EU Go Roam country. Alternatively you can tether abroad using a Data Passport add-on.
You’re also limited to 30GB data tethering each month if you are on an unlimited data ‘All-You-Can-Eat’ plan.
International Roaming (5 / 5)
Half cooked rates Threes roaming abroad as the best in the market. With their ‘Go Roam’ proposition customers can roam in up to 71 destinations worldwide, which includes 23 destinations beyond the inclusive EU countries you will find with the other operators.
Some of these worldwide destinations include – USA, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and Hong Kong. You can travel to any of these destinations and a number of others (Full list can be found on the Three website) and use your minutes, texts and data within your plan as per normal.
For the other destinations outside of the Go Roam destinations whereby costs are per minute, text and MB of data used half cooked has found them as one of the cheaper operators
Wi-Fi Calling & Wi-Fi Hotspots (4 / 5)
Wi-Fi calling allows customers to place calls and send texts using wireless networks instead of using their 3G/4G network. This is a great perk if you are somewhere without mobile connection but have access to Wi-Fi.
Unlike the ‘Go Roam’ perk Three’s Wi-Fi calling called ‘Three InTouch’ is available on both PAYG SIM’s and for pay monthly customers.
It is simple and intuitive to use unlike some of the other networks whereby you need to have a device purchased directly from them.
In most cases, if you have a fairly new device, Three will automatically direct calls to Wi-Fi if you have poor network coverage. If not, you can simply download the app and get it working.
Wi-Fi hotspots are however few and far between with the Three network. You will get free Wi-Fi on the London Underground at over 250 stations to keep you connected, but where some of the other networks have hotspots in useful public locations you won’t find this with Three.
You can still get around this as many restaurants, bars and shopping centres now offer free Wi-Fi access.
Data Rollover – Discount Off Your Next Bill (1 / 5)
Data rollover means you can roll your unused data from one month to the next. For e.g. if you have a 2GB plan and only use 1GB the following month you will have 3GB as the extra 1GB would be rolled over.
Despite data roll-over plans becoming more common in the market, this is something still not offered by Three on any of its contract, SIM Only or PAYG plans.
If you’re looking for data rollover plans Sky Mobile and iD Mobile have good plans available.
Multi Buy Discounts/ Family Plans (4 / 5)
Some networks are now offering customers discounts on any additional SIM or phone contract purchases they make to incentivise people to sign up their family & friends.
Three have begun providing ‘Existing Customer Offers’ which are discounts on Phone & SIM Only contracts.
You can make some strong savings on phone contracts with an on average saving of £3 per month on iPhone contracts and a £5 per month saving on Samsung & Huawei contracts.
SIM only deals you can expect to save a little less with an on average saving of £1-£2 per SIM contract.
Customer Rewards (4 / 5)
In terms of rewards schemes Three has recently released their own reward app for customers called Wuntu. This is available to all their customers including those with SIM only contracts and on PAYG.
Wuntu offers several exclusive offers to customers including discounts at retailers and free food and drink. Some of the more comment recent offers were free coffees from Costa and pizzas from Dominoes.
On Apple’s App Store Wuntu currently has a rating of 4.4/5 from over 12,000 reviews. This is a fairly new app and some customers have complained about not having a broad range of offers but these have improved since the app was launched and you can probably expect some more improvements in the future.
Other Perks (4 / 5)
With the mobile market becoming more and more saturated with new networks popping up, some of these operators are trying to differentiate themselves by offering other perks.
Three has a proposition called ‘Go Binge’ which is available to its Advanced Plan phone or SIM only contracts who have a contract with 12GB or more available data. This allows unlimited streaming on some applications such as Netflix & Apple Music. None of your plan’s data is used when using these apps. Three also recently added Snapchat to this, another data heavy app will no longer impact your data allowance.
Three have also recently teamed up with EasyJet to offer travel upgrades to customers including a free bag drop and if you join now and purchase qualifying 24 month plan with 12GB of data or more. You can also get a £150 voucher to spend on your next holiday.
Some networks are now offering inclusive entertainment subscriptions when you purchase a contract handset or SIM. For example EE offer customers use of Apple Music & the BT Sport App but unfortunately this isn’t something Three currently offer.
Sim Deals & Phone Contracts
Three currently has 13 different SIM only deals available. These are all Advanced Plans which means you will get the perks of unlimited streaming with ‘Go Binge’ and access to ‘Go Roam’ with 71 destinations worldwide roaming within your plan.
These plans start from as low as £9 with 500MB of data and go up to 30GB for £17 and even a 100GB and unlimited SIM only data option for £20 and £32 respectively for the highest data users.
In terms of phone contracts Three offers contracts on low end handsets beginning at £19 a month all the way up to the top end handsets such as the iPhone XS. In fact based on half cooked’s analysis Three offers the most competitive pricing on the iPhone XS and XS Max at launch.
Three is competitive and is generally cheaper than the other large operators EE, 02 and Vodafone.
Click below to follow through to Three’s SIM only and Phone Contracts.
Half Cooked Overall Breakdown
Half Cooked’s overall rating for Three:
(4.5 / 5)
- Network Coverage and Speeds – With 99.8% 4G coverage and data speeds second only to EE you can’t go wrong with Three.
- Voice Call Quality – P3 Comms rated voice call quality as ‘Good’ with the main issue being longer call set up times than other networks.
- Tethering – Tethering limited to the more premium plans, unlimited data plans limit tethering to 30GB per month.
- International Roaming – Best proposition in the market, use your phone at no extra cost in up to 23 non-EU destinations including USA & Australia.
- Wi-Fi Calling & Wi-Fi Hotspots – Simple set up for Wi-Fi calling unlike some of the other networks but lack of Wi-Fi Hotspots let them down.
- Data Rollover – You won’t be able to hold onto any unused data with Three as they currently have no rollover scheme.
- Multi Buy Discounts/ Family Plans – For existing customers Three offer some serious savings incl £5 a month on Samsung handset contracts
- Customer Rewards – Discounts and free food and drink can be found through the Wuntu app and its weekly offers.
Other Perks – Go Binge is a unique offer to the market, stream unlimited Netflix & Apple Music as well as other apps, but there is no free subscriptions like some of its competitors offer.