Three Review & Coverage – Is Three any good in 2024?

Our Three network review has revealed that, while its 4G network isn't the fastest, it does have the widest  coverage in the UK, and is a great choice for those who want a data-orientated SIM-only plan.

Three also has a range of different SIM-only plans that are great for those who don't need a lot of data. Read on to learn more about Three's network and SIM-only plans.

Three Review: Speeds & Coverage

First let's start with 4G as that is the most widespread.

While Three's 4G network isn't the fastest or most reliable, it's definitely faster than many other networks in major cities. In fact, a RootMetrics report showed that the latency on Three's network in central London was, on average, 17ms. For those who aren't sure what it means, just know that's actually very good for a 4G network.

Three's 4G network is fast enough - when it works. Its network coverage is slightly worse than EE's network coverage; the result is that Three users will often drop to 3G rather than 4G. EE's 4G speeds are also slightly quicker.

If you're a Three customer I'm sure you're already aware of this, particularly if you live in a rural place.

Despite this, Three's aging 3G network is still one of the fastest in the country, averaging 4.91Mbps compared to EE's 4Mbps and O2's 3Mbps - check for O2 SIM Only here. Though be aware that they're phasing this out by the end of 2023.

Three has a reputation for choppy performance on its non-5G network, but it IS competitive, and it offers unlimited data SIM Only as a plan option. Moreover, Three's customer support is solid, and its prices are generally lower than those of rival networks.

Now, on to 5G.

With 5G technology quickly rolling out across the UK, Three's network could very soon be the fastest in the UK. If you're looking for a new cellular network, you should consider Three. The cheapest plan will get you a decent amount of data, and the Three network is widely regarded as the best for roaming.

Read on for our Three 5G review:

Three Review: The BEST 5G Coverage?

While the competition is fierce in the UK, Three is the front-runner with the "best" 5G coverage, or so it claims. But what does "best" actually mean - fast? Most widely available? We take a closer look.

Three is one of the "Big 4" networks, it runs its own network in the UK and doesn't piggyback off others, in the way that giffgaff, Lycamobile or Smarty do.

Three have really thrown everything at 5G; probably because of the complaints over its 4G service.

The Three network was the first to have so-called "full 5G spectrum", which means that users can experience twice the speeds of rivals. While the company has not revealed specific numbers, it did boast that it will have 80% of UK traffic covered with 5G by 2020. It also said  - mostly true - that it will be the only network in the UK to have 'true' 5G coverage at launch, which could mean peak speeds of over 2Gbps.

The 5G mobile network is still being rolled out even now, but Three is already a  clear leader. It has the most 5G spectrum, which is crucial for transmitting data. Specifically, it has 140MHz of usable 5G spectrum compared to 50MHz for EE, O2, and Vodafone (view our Vodafone coverage review). It also uses a single carrier that covers an area of up to 100MHz, which allows it to deliver data at twice the speed of other networks.

If you aren't really sure what any of this means, don't worry.

To summarise: it means that the 5G network from Three is very fast. If you're looking for a 5G SIM Only plan, then consider Three a stronger contender.

Three Mobile: Where can I get 5G?

The Three 5G mobile network is already present in all UK cities and even smaller towns, covering Aberdeen, Bath, Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, and of course London. In fact Three claims to now cover the vast majority of the UK population - as most of us live in towns & cities.

Three have recently started rolling out 5G coverage to smaller UK villages too, as evidenced by their coverage map.

Three also claims to have "coverage" in more than 99.8% of UK households. The coverage map shows that Three is currently the best choice for consumers looking to use a mobile network. The network is also growing steadily, adding more coverage every day.

As of the last count, we make that 486 towns and cities. As at July 2022, their mobile network will cover more than half of the country's population with 5G coverage. However, Three has been a little slower to introduce 5G to the mobile platform than other major networks.

Even in some rural places, you may be surprised to find that 5G is now available. My little village, population around 2000, has some 5G coverage, even !This is a great thing for people who enjoy living in the countryside, as all the major networks are is expanding their coverage every week.

Tip: Read our O2 network review

If you aren't bothered about 5G, and/or can't get 5G where you live, then Three might not be the best choice. If so, then consider a SIM only plan from Plusnet - they don't offer 5G currently, but as a result, their 4G plans are very cheap.

Three Mobile Review: What about the Three Data Passport?

The Data Passport is a fantastic way to use your mobile data without worrying about your data usage limits. The Data Passport allows you to use unlimited data in 89 countries worldwide for only £5 per day. With the Data Passport, you can use your mobile as a personal hotspot, upload pictures and stream TV shows. You can even create an unlimited hotspot on the go with the Data Passport.

The Data Passport can be purchased by Three users who run out of data on their existing plan. The Data Passport can be used overseas as additional data when you run out of your current plan. It is worth noting that you can keep your current mobile number and switch to Three in a few months if you like. While you are on the move, you can use your existing phone number. A data passport will help you keep your number even if you change mobile networks.

Three Review: Customer service

Three has a mixed set of reviews on Trustpilot; it is rated on average 2.4 out of 5 which is 'fair'.

Most of these complaints are related to the cancellation process; their customer support appears to be in India.

Three Mobile: Data Binges

Three has long claimed its network is designed for the internet. In fact, it handles 36% of all mobile data traffic in the UK and its customers consume 3.5 times more data than the average Briton.

While Three doesn't offer a data gifting scheme, its Go Binge feature accounts for popular data-intensive apps. And the network also allows you to tether your mobile device, using all of your data allowance. Another feature of Three is wifi calling, allowing you to make and receive calls or texts over wifi when you're not connected to the mobile network. This feature allows you to control your monthly data spending without having to pay a monthly fee.

Three: Best SIM-only plans

The UK mobile networks offers a range of cheap SIM-only plans for users, so it makes sense to compare as they all cater to differing needs.

Three's Data Only plans are suitable for use on tablets and dongles, and come with unlimited data. These plans come with a one-, a 12-, or a 24-month contract. You can also choose between a Pay As You Go bundle and an unlimited minutes and texts plan. The Pay As You Go plan also allows you to tether, which is a great feature.

Three's phone and SIM deals are competitively priced. The Essential and Advanced plans include 500MB of data per month, while the Advanced and Ultimate SIM-only plans include unlimited texts and calls. All plans come with free calls to the UK and the EU. The Basic and Advanced SIM-only plans also include a basic calling package. The Essential plan is the cheapest of the three and comes with limited data and call minutes.

Three has poor 4G coverage as we've covered above. Regardless of how fast your data is, Three's price structure makes it a popular choice. Most plans are priced competitively with other UK mobile networks. This makes it a popular choice for both business and personal users. This makes it a great choice for people looking for a SIM-only plan.

Three offers various plans for different needs and budgets. Its low-priced plans are perfect for the first time user. The monthly prices are competitive and you get unlimited texts and calls. Three also has a range of monthly SIM packages, ranging from simple to comprehensive. You can even get 5G data for extra money. For more information, visit Three's website, they offer a comparison tool that allows you to compare different plans and prices.

Three UK: About tethering

Tethering is a way to use your mobile phone to access the internet without paying the premium for a home broadband service. This is a great way to stay connected while on the go, or even if you're travelling and don't have a landline. Tethering is supported by all three UK mobile networks and it can be used in countries throughout Europe. However, tethering is not available in countries which are part of the EU's Go Roam Around The World scheme, which requires a Data Passport.

Tethering is no longer available on the Three One Plan, and new customers are no longer entitled to unlimited data. However, existing customers can continue to enjoy unlimited tethering if they have an unlimited data contract with the network. Tethering allows users to use their phone for up to 100 percent of their data allowance, but the current limit is two gigabytes. Three hasn't said when the policy will be rolled out to all 3G customers.

While Three doesn't offer more hotspots than rival mobile networks, its network's coverage is the best in the UK. In addition to 4G coverage, Three offers HD sound quality. Its free WiFi service can help users save their mobile data allowance, and it's also useful when you're in public places. Three currently offers 250 WiFi hotspots across the UK, including stations on the London Underground.

Virgin Media / Virgin Mobile SIM Only allows tethering on all tariffs, including the basic SIM Only plan. The data allowance of the VOXI plan is unlimited. It's important to remember that Virgin Media doesn't explicitly say that tethering isn't allowed, so you should contact the network to ask if you can tether using your unlimited data plan. Nevertheless, you'll probably be fine on all plans with Virgin Media as long as they offer unlimited data.

Three Review: Our findings

Three is the only network in the UK that is offering unlimited 4G plans; Three’s Go Roam makes it one of the most excellent networks for recurrent flyers and holidaymakers. You can call or text your friends back home in more than 60 countries, without spending anything extra.

Three network stands out for one vital reason that it offers lots of data. It's the only foremost network that sells true limitless data plans, together with an amazingly broad range of other huge data tariffs. Available as SIM-only and pay monthly phone deals, Three's plans feature Essential Plans and Advanced Plans.

And if you're considering getting 5G, the speeds and the spectrum available on Three are hard to beat.

ou can also 'go binge' with unrestricted data for chosen streaming video services like Apple Music and Netflix - if you use a lot of social media data though, consider VOXI instead - read our review. Three have made massive steps in improving their 4G coverage all over the UK, with variable results, but their 5G offering is heads and tails above anything else. In addition, other benefits include international roaming and unrestricted streaming.

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