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Three UK Wave Goodbye to Unlimited Mobile Broadband Tethering

Monday, February 24th, 2014 (12:52 pm) - Score 23,072
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Mobile operator Three UK looks set to disappoint new customers when it drops unlimited Mobile Broadband tethering support from related mobile tariffs (e.g. The One Plan) in March 2014, which will instead be replaced by a 2GB usage cap.

Tethering allows customers to turn their Smartphone into a wireless (wifi) Mobile Broadband modem for use by a computer, although this often results in the customer using a larger amount of data than before and is thus restricted on several networks (note: it is sometimes possible to get around those bans).

It’s believed that a similar outcome has caused some of Three UK’s customers to begin using their The One Plan package as if it were a fixed line broadband service (note: data capacity on mobile typically costs a lot more than via fixed line ISPs), which has put a lot of strain on their network.

The One Plan costs from ¬£20 per month on a 12 month contract and includes “all-you-can-eat” data, 2,000 minutes, 5,000 Three-to-Three minutes and 5,000 texts. At the time of writing Three UK’s website, specifically its T&C section, still states that the only “limit is how much your device can consume“.

A Spokesperson for Three UK told ISPreview.co.uk:

As I’m sure you can appreciate, we cannot discuss future propositions.”

However, despite the characteristically¬†evasive response of Three’s PR department, anybody who calls, live chats or walks into one of their shops and asks about it (as we did) will still be told that the Tethering free-for-all is about to end. It’s perhaps one of the worst kept secrets to date.

Existing customers who do enquire are told that if they buy or already own The One Plan now then no capping for tethering will be introduced (even if the contract term is over), although those who order from March 2014 will face a 2GB cap. Obviously this is all fine and good until you fancy upgrading your plan and or want a better handset, which is likely to attract a new contract.

However the operator has also been telling customers that they should have plans where you can change your phone and still get effectively unlimited tethering, although we wouldn’t be surprised if this attracted a higher cost. It also remains unclear whether or not this change will become effective from 1st March or mid-month.

In semi-related news, EE’s CEO, Olaf Swantee, has accused Three UK of effectively devaluing 4G and “confusing” consumers by offering the new connectivity method at no extra cost. “There is more to competition than price. Otherwise we would just be playing an endless game in reducing costs where the product becomes a commodity,” said Swantee (here).

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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