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Three UK Trial “Home Mobile Broadband” Service in Northern Ireland

Monday, February 15th, 2016 (1:29 pm) - Score 4,921
three uk mobile broadband

Mobile operator Three UK has announced that consumers in Northern Ireland will be the first to trial their new “Home Mobile Broadband” service, which really just sounds like a normal 3G / 4G data tariff with a bigger usage allowance (up to 40 GigaBytes).

The new product, which is also being described as a “home Wi-Fi ‘plug and play’ service“, is targeted at renters, students and “people who have little need for a landline telephone service“. Apparently customers will get a free 3G / 4G mobile WiFi router and can choose from either a 20GB or 40GB allowance for £17 or £20 per month respectively (30 day or 12 month contract).

Sadly only 500 devices have been made available for the trial, which can also only be taken via one of Three UK’s high street stores. The reason for the trial is largely just to test the impact of their new packages upon the network (congestion risk etc.).

Tom Malleschitz, Three’s Chief Marketing Officer, said:

“Our home broadband service offers an alternative to a costly fixed-line service which many consumers have no need for. Best of all, its super-simple – consumers can just plug and play with no need for complex installation.”

Overall the setup doesn’t sound very different from buying your own mobile WiFi (MiFi) style router and simply plugging in a normal data SIM, which is what some people already do. Similarly EE will give you a data SIM with 15GB for £20 per month or 25GB for £30, although in that sense Three UK are at least cheaper and do a much bigger 40GB allowance.

According to Ookla’s 3G speedtest data for December 2015, average Mobile Broadband speeds in Northern Ireland for Three UK reached 9.9Mbps and you can probably double that for the smaller areas where 4G is currently available. But obviously this is not going to be such a good experience in areas of weak signal.

It’s worth pointing out that while 40GB might have been a good usage allowance to have five years ago, today most real fixed line home broadband packages tend to come with significantly bigger allowances and all of the largest ISPs can give you “unlimited” usage.

Likewise service quality and stability is more predictable on a fixed line than via mobile and students are perhaps more likely to make aggressive use of video streaming services (they’d easily chew through 40GB in the space of a few days or less).

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Mark Jackson
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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9 Responses
  1. Avatar Gareth

    Three Ireland do 60/100/250GB for 20/27 or 35 Euros! We are truly being ripped off in the UK.

  2. Avatar JamesM

    In the Netherlands they do 1gbps both ways for 30 euro for everyone not just the posh pricks who live in Oxford.

    The UK is screwed

    • There’s complete coverage at 1Gb for E30 in the Netherlands? Really?

      I can’t say I’m convinced on this one, or that we’re screwed because of our lack of 1Gb coverage.

      The best rants have some basis in fact.

  3. Avatar Mike

    Alternative is just get an AYCE sim and bypass the tether block.

    40GB? Pff…

  4. Avatar Balb0wa

    i could be tempted here in the uk with this, beats paying £18 a month line rental to BT then £10 a month on top for 16mb fttc where i am.

    I rarely go above 20gb a month these days.

  5. Avatar Balb0wa

    i get 35mb down and 10mb up on 4G , the bt fttc im on is 700k upload! 1100 metres from the cab, takes hrs to upload pics and videos.

    Of course if they get gfast on our street…… 🙂 wont hold my breath.

  6. Avatar Ryan Arbuckle

    I’ve found 3’s 4G very good in Belfast and Londonderry, best result is 68Mb down and 29Mb up…

  7. Avatar Marie McCrory

    I bought the £20 / 40gb device from 3 in Belfast and cant believe the speeds I’m getting. Previously getting under 400kb on BT fixed line. Now getting 35/10gb speeds. Totally amazing. I am wondering now if the 40gb will be enough but time will tell.

    Definitely worth investing in and the device can easily be setup to work in any room in your house if you have poor signal in some parts of your house as it simply connects to an electricity power supply. Yan take it out and about with you also providing you can plug it in.

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