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Three's new mobile plans examined: What's good and what's not?

By Simon Thomas on 19th March 2014

Three free 0800 calls

Three's new plans offer free 0800 calls, but tethering is now capped.


Three have launched a new range of pay monthly phone plans which replace their existing plans and bring more flexibility and choice to consumers.


All new customers signing up to Three will have to choose one of these news plans, while existing customers have the choice of switching over without paying or renewing their current contract. But what has changed with Three's new range of plans?


There is both good and bad news for consumers with 0800 calls now being free, but sadly unlimited tethering has been removed. Read on to get the full lowdown on the new mobile phone plans.


Free 0800 calls


The headline change is that 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers are now free to all customers signing up to a new Pay Monthly price plan. All other 08 numbers, such as 084 and 087, will now also cost just 5p per minute - which compares favourably to the typical costs of between 14p and 40p per min.


Best of all they won't be deducted from a customers monthly voice minutes allowance, so you can make as many calls to 0800 numbers as you like.


No more unlimited tethering


Sadly, the new plans no longer come with unlimited tethering, which was previously included on The One Plan. Those who sign-up to a new unlimited data plan now only get 2GB of tethering included, but they have the option of adding another 1GB for £5 extra a month.


Customers who sign-up to a new phone plan with 500MB, 1GB of 2GB of inclusive data are allowed to tether their data.


New tariffs


Three have totally changed their range of tariffs, but all still come with 4G at no extra cost and they do still offer plans with unlimited data.


Customers now have more flexibility with plans coming with 250MB, 1GB, 2GB or all-you-can-eat data and 100, 300, 600 or unlimited minutes. They all now come with unlimited (or all-you-can-eat) texts.


In many cases the result is that the lowest priced tariffs for individual smartphones has decreased. However, on the whole the cost of like-for-like tariffs has increased. For example, the Sony Xperia Z1 used to be offered with 600 mins, 5000 texts and unlimited data for £34 a month which now costs £38 a month - although, admittedly you do now get free 0800 calls.


Existing Customers


Nothing will change for existing customers who'll still be able to enjoy the same included data, minutes and texts as they always have and those on the One Plan will continue to have unlimited tethering. But that also means they won't be able to make free 0800 calls.


However, Three also stated that "Existing customers can swap over from their existing plan without paying a fee and can keep their existing contract end date." That'll mean you'll have your tethering locked at 2GB and could lead to a reduction in inclusive data.


We suggest you ring Three on 0800 358 9048 (or 333 on from your 3 phone) to find out more if you are interested in switching plans.


Our thoughts


Free 0800 calls are a nice gesture from Three, but in reality calls to 0800 will be free on all mobile operators in 2015 when new OFCOM regulations come into affect.


The loss of unlimited tethering is bad news, especially for those in rural areas without a fixed-line broadband connection who were thinking of using their phone as their primary source of internet. On the whole prices have also increased with Three's new tariffs.


However, you still get 4G at no extra cost and Three are still the only operator offering unlimited 4G data and they would claim they've only put themselves in line with the pricing and policies of the other UK operators.


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