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Three UK Launches New “Advanced” 100GB Data 4G Mobile Plan

Friday, August 25th, 2017 (7:05 am) - Score 22,236

Mobile operator Three UK has quietly introduced a new “Advanced” plan with a 100GB data cap, as well as “all-you-can-eat” minutes and calls, which seems designed to sit in-between their current 30GB capped tariff and the top “all-you-can-eat” data tier. But there’s a catch.. of course.

The 100GB (GigaByte) SIM Only plan costs either £25 per month for a 12 month contract or £29 on a 1 month term, which makes it pretty good value. As usual customers will also benefit from the operator’s mobile roaming at no extra cost (Feel At Home) and their new Go Binge service (i.e. unlimited video streaming via Netflix, TVPlayer etc.).

Overall the new plan is £4 per month cheaper than Three UK’s top “all-you-can-eat” data/calls/texts package, although there’s a catch. Until now all of Three UK’s data capped “Advanced” plans have imposed a restriction on Tethering that matches the data cap of the package itself (except on their “all-you-can-eat” data tier where a 30GB cap applies).

Sadly the 100GB plan breaks the above tradition by adopting the same 30GB cap as their top “all-you-can-eat” data/calls/texts plan, which perhaps isn’t a surprise because otherwise it might be more attractive to those already on their top tier (a high Tethering cap is often a lot more desirable than “all-you-can-eat” data via a Smartphone).

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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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43 Responses
  1. Chris P says:

    100GB a month on a mobile is a huge amount of data, what are people doing to consume that much?

    I’d have thought an average household on fixed bb would be on way less than that. Prob less than the 30GB cap.

    Anyone any average usage stats?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      I’d have thought an average household on fixed bb would be on way less than that. Prob less than the 30GB cap.

      It’s best not to conflate smartphone based usage with fixed lines as the latter are massive data hogs by comparison. Last year’s connected nations report from Ofcom put the average between 132GB and 169GB for fixed line broadband, although FTTP/H ISPs like Gigaclear are seeing more into the 1-2 TeraByte range.

      As for mobile. On Three UK the average data usage per customer came out as 6.9 GigaBytes (up from 5.4GB last year).

    2. CarlT says:

      Hmm. I have very, very strong doubts that Gigaclear are seeing those numbers given where they are deploying.

      Ditto Hyperoptic. While they will have incredibly heavy 1G users they will also have a bunch of far less heavy users.

      That said, it may be that the split between upstream and downstream is quite different, with the vast majority of this stuff torrents and other servers uploading away.

      What’s the source of this data? Is it mean or median?

    3. MikeHunt says:

      I get the feeling they may be getting ready to get rid of the AYCE plans altogether, perhaps replacing it with a 200-500GB package.

    4. Vince says:

      I don’t believe the numbers you’re quoting Mark for Gigaclear etc at all.

      Even where we supply FTTP 330/30 services to customers, there is not a leap in usage of anywhere near the numbers you’re talking – and I very much doubt that those providers would attract that sort of usage “on average”.

    5. JimWeir says:

      It’s in Gigaclear’s Annual accounts at Companies House – you can look it up for free!

    6. Chris P says:

      WOW

      My comment re 30GB was meant to be with reference to those that may use tethered connection for home use instead of having a fixed line bb.

      I never suspected consumers would use so much data. I imagine that with those numbers that consumer use dwarfs small and medium enterprise use site by site, larger enterprises more comfortable with the expense and complexity of centralised storage and backup bulking up their usage.

      All that incompressible audio and video (already compressed by the codec) really adds up, even though comparable file sizes have come down due to more efficient codecs.

      I guess also with https, network and client caching has diminished.

      I’ll have to check what my usage is now.

    7. MikeW says:

      Yes, @ChrisP, Residential usage does dwarf business usage. There’s just too much video being watched now.

      Ofcom provided a graph in the 2014 Infrastructure Report that showed usage -vs- speed. For anyone with superfast speeds (30Mbps+), the consumption tended to be 80-100GB; usage only really dropped off below 10Mbps.

      This is the graph that led to the first 10Mbps USO calculation.

      The 2015 graph showed the numbers rising somewhat, but especially for people above 40Mbps.
      A graph combining 2014 and 2015 figures can be found here:
      https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/features-and-news/connected-nations-report

      The 2016 graph shows the numbers rising, but the premises behind the 10Mbps figure still holding. It can be found here:
      https://www.ofcom.org.uk/about-ofcom/latest/media/media-releases/2016/digital-divide-declines

    8. Paul says:

      I use a few hundred GB per month. Facebook, YouTube, Netflix, Tv Player etc. Plus I back up to the cloud 100s of photos every month. My record is 550gb in one month. I don’t have home broadband as in through a landline. I have ayce on my phone sim, also a Three homefi which is 100gb per month, both have Go Binge, so it’s kind of unlimited data usage when I tether my tablet to my phone or homefi for Netflix and Tv Player

    9. Mike says:

      Chris P, what planet do you live on?

      I could use 100 GB per month just playing MMOs, watching YouTube documentaries, gigs & movies and updating software etc. But then I don’t have a TV.

      Mark, could you re-write your article in English?

      a) What the hell is tethering?
      b) how can they sell 100 GB per month and only give you 30 GB?
      c) I use the internet for everything and want a mobile wifi dongle connection, NO ‘phone, NO other “devices”, NO “syncing” (whatever the feck THAT is), just a single desktop PC connected to the internet.

      That’s it.

      So how do I get this 100 GB per month, ultra fast 4G from 3 UK? It’s not on their web site.

      Cheers!

  2. ComputerWorld says:

    “FTTP/H ISPs like Gigaclear are seeing more into the 1-2 TeraByte range”

    Is that because their networks are used mostly by businesses? Or are some residential customers eating up data like there’s no tomorrow?

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Probably a bit of both but we haven’t seen much in the way of a breakdown, so I’m hesitant to speculate without more information. However it’s not that hard to reach the TeraByte territory in a single month today, especially if a lot of children share the connection and download their games digitally at 40-100GB a pop. Add in 4K streaming (binge watching netflix, youtube etc.), software updates etc. and it soon adds up.

    2. Colin says:

      I am a home FTTP/H user of BT’s 330/30 service, we are a family of 5 and use just over 1TB per month average.

    3. ComputerWorld says:

      Ah, I see; I guess I’m a bit in the Stone Age then when it comes to notions of what constitutes light/heavy data use. Thanks for your replies.

    4. ian says:

      i use around a TB a month and its probably trending upwards (i used 1.57 TBs up and down last month).

      i dont even have a 4k tv but i think that would add significantly to the usage.

    5. spurple says:

      My household hovers around 450GB a month due to Netflix and sky box sets. Nobody watches any live TV except sports. This is for two people. I can easily imagine a household of 4 topping 1tb with our usage patterns.

  3. eM says:

    My home BB connection speed is just above 2.2 MBps, so I was considering Sky’s 25 GB capped tariff for some time. Surely I couldn’t download more than 25 GB a month at that speed? Turns out, more like 60 according to the router stats. YouTube all the way! 🙂

    1. Vince says:

      @em

      You could expect to do something in the region of 650GB-700GB within reason in ideal conditions on your line.

  4. Jim says:

    @Chris P We’ve got 600+ fixed line replacement connections using 4G, 15 months ago the best option was 50-64GB/month and people struggled, particularly with streaming content, for the past 6 months 100GB/month has been available and that covers most peoples usage with a lot of care, and we’re just expecting 200GB options to become available which will be closer to average usage.

    When Ofcom update Connected Nations in December, I would expect the average fixed line stats to have doubled from the 2016 figure.

    We recently looked at the usage on a small rural primary school and that was 140+GB per month.

    @ComputerWorld I think the Gigaclear stat was from their annual report – “a typical customer on a Gigabit service uses 2058GB per month” I don’t know how their 10k+ customer base splits between home/business and then between the various packages, but I would suspect most users who opt for 1Gbps package would be heavy users, while those selecting the 50Mbps packages would be closer to average usage patterns

    Either way data usage is only going to increase, particularly due to streaming

    1. CarlT says:

      Ah! Thanks Jim.

      I would suggest the proportion of the Gigaclear user base purchasing their 1 GB service is pretty small and I’m not surprised usage is very heavy given the £76.60 per month price point.

      Across their entire user base it’s probably not much different from Virgin Media or any other superfast-only operator and certainly doesn’t average a terabyte.

    2. CarlT says:

      Spot on about usage increasing though. CAGR is slowing a little but still running at 40%+.

      Checking my own usage for this calendar month on the line that functions as home and home office broadband:

      Download (GB) 314.109
      Upload (GB) 108.567
      Total (GB) 422.676

  5. ash says:

    that’s pretty darn neat, although i might still be better suited to the all you can eat, just as i average around 3-4gb a day streaming music, podcasts, and videos at work.

    it’s worth nothing when you go to buy the plan, they offer you a bump to AYCE data for £2 more but cut the minutes to 600 minutes.

    1. Simon says:

      £1 more when I try

    2. MikeHunt says:

      So what’s the cheapest you can AYCE data (total package price)?

    3. Simon says:

      £26.

    4. Jake says:

      I must be on a deprecated plan at the moment. I’m on an AYCE data plan for £20/month.

      That gets me:
      200 minutes
      Unlimited texts
      Unlimited data
      30GB tethering allowance

      This plan used to be £20/month which you could buy as an addon but then they bumped it to £25. However, I could get it again for £20 with £5 discount by moving to a rolling 1 month sim only contract.

      I don’t use voice calls a lot, and if necessary I can just use VoIP to chat on the phone.

      I’m inclined to stay on this as long as I can, it seems like a better value proposition that the current offerings.

  6. Bill says:

    If they offered this on mobile broadband (data) it would be neat.

    I can’t quite figure out how someone could consume over 70GB on their phone!

    1. MikeHunt says:

      With AYCE you can use your phone as a seedbox or to download large files over USB to a drive.

    2. Bill says:

      I see… sounds pretty niche though. Do lots of people do that?

    3. MikeHunt says:

      @Bill

      Probably not as its quite technical to setup and most people have access to fibre in some form already, which I will soon as well.

  7. Kyle says:

    This is just Three masking a further price rise. Two months ago, I took a one-month AYCE data sim for £27 per month. These new plans would give me ‘only’ 100GB for an extra £2 per month! Granted, minutes are now AYCE, but who uses them?!

    To purchase the (almost) equivalent plan now, would cost £33 per month, or an increase of more than 18%!

    1. Kyle says:

      In fact, my calculations were incorrect. This represents an increase of more than 22%!

  8. Phil says:

    All good but the data allowance should be used how the user wants – be it via the phone or tether. Data is data what ever the source?

    1. spurple says:

      Agree. It’s something I wish OFCOM would stamp out. That and zero rating.

    2. MikeHunt says:

      Three would likely kill off AYCE altogether if Ofcom mandated that.

  9. Craig says:

    A lot of the comments here state, that you know your data usage from your router? I have the rubbish one from Vodafone (doesn’t like lots of devices connected). How do I find out?

    1. spurple says:

      Sometimes your ISP might mention this in your bill or account on their billing platform.

      I suspect that a lot of people gere are running their own routers (I’m running a custom one based on tomato firmware and it gives me this and other stats).

    2. Packet Switched says:

      I too have no exact idea what my data usage is, having had unlimited internet for what I now realise is 25 years.
      (Even then I was well aware of confusion pricing with surcharges – you get a swingeing one once………memorable in spades)
      Are there any simple and sound apps that would enable one to readily know and check?
      There ought to be but they do not seem self evident – though I may have a complication in that I need it
      for Apple, both iPhone & IBook.

  10. Neil says:

    I know none of the big companies offer unlimited tethering, but how about a smaller one? Long story short, I’m in a flat where I can’t get wired internet currently and need 4G unlimited tethering for now. I’d actually be quite happy to pay £100 for it if it meant it was truly unlimited!

  11. Jeromy says:

    Can I put this all-you-can-eat sim into 4G/LTE Router and use it?
    My concerns are
    1. 3Mobile must give me a normal size sim (Micro or Nano Zim mostly do not support with LTE routers)
    2. I have to find out a router that supports their 4G/LTE Spectrum

    Have you ever tried this ? I am a foreigner & about to visit UK to live for few years.

  12. Focusrite says:

    please say average, not mean. it confuses me into thinking of “median”. many guys here are way off from up-to-date with the nowadays technology and internet, internet speeds, data rates, and so on. I’ll talk about flat rate here and what flat rate means (or should mean rather, but will talk about this later), is when you have for example 30Mbps download you should have around 9855 GB of available data limit. yes… there IS a limit which many of you didn’t know. how this limit should be calculated is: if you have a given internet connection speed, you should be able to download as much data as you would by downloading 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 4 weeks a month at full speed. so, the math should be: given a random internet connection speed (in my case 30Mbps) times how many seconds there are in a month and the resulting number should be converted from Megabits to GigaBytes. You’ll get the resulting number and this number should be the GIGABYTE limit of your ISP data plan. (i’m still disappointed we measure the INTERNET data transfer rate in Megabits per second instead of MegaBytes per second… silly world.)

  13. Focusrite says:

    so, I said “what flat rate SHOULD mean” and that’s because many times ISP’s will advertise “FLAT” but there’s actually a limit which they set lower than it should be. for example, if your connection speed is 100Mbps with a FLAT rate, you should have 32.871825 TB (TeraBytes) at disposal. that’s a lot for someone who doesn’t use the internet as it should be used nowadays. The ISP will advertise the word “FLAT” but in reality they set it to let’s say 5GB or 10GB or 100GB… they either won’t tell you the actual limit or will state in very very small letters below the “FLAT rate” advertisement “100Mbps speed up to 5GB/10GB/100GB”. As I said that’s very often due to marketing, same as in 4k vs UHD which is NOT the same. Don’t let them fool you and do your research before making any deals or signing any contract.

  14. Tim says:

    I use about 150 gig a month through a fiber fixed line connection .
    Wish there was more choice on uncapped 4G
    I use relish in London last three years wire free 4G connection works well on sip and voip and video streaming
    They should roll out 4G , better up speeds than fiber on my connection

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