So today is a big day for Three in the UK with a refresh of their pay monthly phone contract price plans (excluding Sim Only and Mobile Broadband) and there are some good changes, and a few not so good ones.
First of all, existing customers will still keep their existing deals until the time comes you want to upgrade and then when you select a new device you will have to pick a new plan
And if you are on an existing deal and want to take one of these new ones mid contract this will be possible by calling customer services.
So on to all the details…….
First of all AYCE Texts is included on every plan so you are free to text as much as you want.
This is an increase from the 5000 texts on plans like The One Plan which would be VERY hard to go over, but was still possible for some people.
Then comes the minute bundles which come in with 50 minutes, 100 minutes, 300 minutes, 600 minutes and a brand new AYCE minutes pack where you really can talk all you like to UK mobiles and standard landlines.
When it comes to data the offers are 500MB, 1GB, 2GB and the very important AYCE data which made Three so well known here in the UK for mobile data customers.
Now all a customer needs to do is pick the minutes and data they want and have a plan suited to your needs.
Also some great news on these new plans is that 0800 numbers are now totally free so no more expensive calls to these, and all other 08 numbers will now cost just 5p per minute, again a great saving from the normal per minute charge it used to be.
Every great story has a grey cloud and this comes in two forms on these new deals.
First off is the fact the AYCE data plan now comes with a 2GB limit for tethering use, replacing the fact on older plans you can tether all you want, 1GB or 50GB it would not matter on older plans.
If 2GB is not enough you can add another 1GB of tethering for £5 and unlike existing deals where The One Plan was the only plan to allow tethering, all these new plans will allow it up to your data allowance so a 500MB plan can tether but will be quick to burn that precious data.
The second part is although 4G has now launched and costs no extra per month to get on Three, TrafficSense the service the network uses to manage customer data experience now seems to state that the maximum speed a customer will get on it’s 4G network is 50Mbps, which is half the 100Mbps LTE can support and far short of the 150Mbps EE offer in their ‘double speed’ cities.
Realistically 50Mbps is far more that most people will need on a mobile anyway and still lets you stream with no buffering and download music in seconds but there are people out there who will be disappointed to see the speed at half what LTE should support.
Plus considering many of us use Speedtest.net fro Ookla if my network maxes out at 50Mbps and yours goes to 75Mbps you will see a visual difference.
And this change will impact every customer both new and existing even if you are on an older plan
The quote from the TrafficSense site says
We currently provide a maximum speed of 50Mbps on our network which is fast enough for all streaming activities, including watching HD videos on your device, and gives a great experience. This applies whether you’re on 3G or 4G. We do this to make sure our network is spread correctly across all our users and gives everybody the best possible experience on our network.
Now when it comes to deals available we have a few examples below what you will be paying
iPhone 5S 16GB with AYCE minutes, texts and data you will be paying £44 a month with £29 up front
iPhone 5C 16GB with AYCE minutes, texts and data you will be paying £41 a month with £19 up front
Galaxy Note 3 with AYCE minutes, texts and data you will be paying £46 a month
LG Nexus 5 with AYCE minutes, texts and data you will be paying £41 a month
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact with AYCE minutes, texts and data you will be paying £42 a month
These new deals go live on the Three site today if they are not already available for you to see and order both online and in your nearest store.
So whilst it is great to see deals like AYCE minutes, great to see AYCE data stay on the handset at least and Three push forward with new ventures like cheaper 08 calls and Feel at Home, the 2GB tethering cap and 50Mbps network maximum might cause a few unhappy people who were looking to upgrade shortly and want the fastest network possible when their DC-HSDPA network is reaching speeds of 30Mbps
Of course Three did cover this quote a while ago on their blog where a graphic was posted that average 4G speeds will be around the 14Mbps mark so remember 50Mbps is in theory the maximum and won’t be seen 100% of the time.
Just to confirm though to anyone worried that sim only deals have not changed and you can continue to get the One Plan on a sim deal AND have unlimited tethering including 4g access which is great news
What are your thoughts on these new deals?
Please leave comments below
Brits shell out over half a billion pounds on 08 calls each year
Three responds by making all 0800 numbers free on its new pay monthly plans
- · 0800, 0845 and 0870 calls cost UK mobile consumers £600 million a year
- · Bill shock affects nearly half (47%) of mobile phone users
- · Three’s new plans make calling 0800 free and 084 and 087 calls 5p per minute
New research – conducted by YouGov – has found that mobile phone users are in the dark when it comes to the cost of making calls to 0800 numbers from their mobile phone.
Three quarters of people surveyed have no idea how much their operator charges them for an 0800 call and 10% think these are free, as they would be from a landline. Research also highlights that calls to 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers cost UK mobile consumers an estimated £600 million a year.
The research also found that 47% of mobile phone users have experienced bill shock, with almost a third (31%) of these users saying this was caused by out of bundle expensive calls such as 0800 or 0845 numbers.
From today, customers who sign up to Three’s new plans can call 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers for free, while all other 08 numbers, like 084 and 087, will cost 5p per minute. These charges typically range from 14p to 40p. Existing customers can swap over from their existing plan without paying a fee and can keep their existing contract end date.
Dave Dyson, Chief Executive at Three, said:
“We asked people what frustrated them most about their mobile bills and confusion around the cost of calling 08 numbers came out top by a big margin. These charges are often buried in the small print and they’re expensive enough to make most customers fear calling them from their mobiles.
“We want UK mobile users to get the most enjoyment from their smartphones or data device – the cost of calling 08 numbers is something we want to address for our customers.”
“UK mobile users are still afraid to use their devices in many circumstances. That’s why we’ve made it possible for our customers to use their home allowance abroad in 11 countries, including the USA. It’s why we’ve launched 4G at no extra cost and why we’ve committed not to raise our monthly recurring charges during the minimum period of a contract. “
Under the new plans, customers will also be able to set limits to stop them going over their minutes allowance and limit spending on expensive numbers.
They will also receive text alerts to help them understand when they are close to using up their voice and data allowances.
To celebrate that 0800 numbers are now free, Three is launching a selection of fun and pointless 0800 numbers on 17 March for people to call and enjoy, including a Singing Dictionary line, a compliments line and a 24 hours lullaby line.
· Spending controls and alerts
Customers can opt to block spending on calls outside of their allowance and/or spending on chargeable events that sit outside of their allowance – like chargeable calls and texts and competition lines.
These blocks can be changed up to 8-times per month through My3 – Three’s online account management system. Customers can make further changes by contacting the Contact Centre.
Customers will receive alerts when they have used by 80% and 100% of their data allowance and when they have 20 voice minutes remaining in their allowance. These alerts will also prompt customers to manage their usage or purchase additional voice minutes or data.
Customers will be given the option to buy more data or voice minutes during the lifetime of their contract.
Customers can buy additional data to take them to the end of their billing month or on a longer-term basis.
Customers can also buy additional voice minutes.
Customers can remove these additional voice minutes and data when they want but cannot go below their contracted allowance. For example, if a customer signs a 24 month contract with 1GB of data and 600 minutes, they can buy additional minutes or data but cannot go below this baseline.
· Personal Hotspot
All data allowances will allow customers to use Personal Hotspot. With 500MB, 1GB and 2GB data allowance, the entire allowance is available for Personal Hotspot use. With all-you-can-eat data, a maximum of 2GB can be used for Personal Hotspot. If AYCE data customers want to use more data when their allowance has run out they can choose to buy a 1G Personal Hotspot.
Customers will receive an alert when they hit 80% and 100% of their 2GB Personal Hotspot allowance within AYCE.