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New Three 4G Hub

smithbill17

Top Member
I'm done with Three.

As mentioned previously, they refused to waive the £36 'early upgrade' fee when I had just 1 month left on my 2year mobile broadband contract, in order that I could sign-up for another 2years with them and get their unlimited data + 4G Hub at £14/month. As they wouldn't waive the fee, I said "i'll just phone back in 1month and ask for the deal then".

1month later and the £14/month unlimited + 4G Hub deal was gone and it was now hiked by 57% to £22/month. I phoned them up anyway when my 2year contract was up and said I wanted the £14/month deal. They said "no, but we'll offer you £16/month & you keep your B535". I said "eh? you want to charge me £1/month more than the £15 I currently pay you and I have to keep using the useless B535, when a month ago I could've had a new 4G Hub and paid £14/month!? Forget it, i'll go elsewhere"

So I've now taken out a Vodafone phone SIM only deal for 100Gb/month at £16/month but through one of those dumb 'cashback by redemption' deals which should reduce it to just over £12/month.

Okay, i'm limited to 100Gb/month but I can cope with that. And having done some speedtests in my area, i've gone from Three's 5-25Mbps download rate, to Vodafones 10-200Mpbs! Admittedly it only hit 200Mbps download once, but it probably averages around 60-120Mbps.

Not that Vodaphone isn't without issues though. I've realised the CGNAT issue on their network means I cant do port-forwarding, but I've got around that using ZeroTier for what I wanted.

I also decided to resurrect my old B525 and stick that into BridgeMode (supported on my firmware as it came from LiveWire originally). However, i think i've realised that the firmware doesn't support CA (so no 4G+). I could use the B535 from Three which does support CA, but it has no bridge-mode.

Anyway, my Three contract ends in a couple of weeks. I'll see how I get on with Vodafone for the next 12months. At least I can tell you their Customer Service is WAY better than Threes (but then that wouldn't be difficult).

Oh - and to annoy me even more, 1month after they wouldn't give me the £14/month deal + 4G Hub, i now find they have re-introduced the said £14/month deal, allegedly for 'Black Friday'. I hate Three.
 

kommando828

ULTIMATE Member
The 525 does 4g+, but it depends on the band's on the mast as the combinations as not as comprehensive as the later routers.
 

smithbill17

Top Member
The 525 does 4g+, but it depends on the band's on the mast as the combinations as not as comprehensive as the later routers.
Yes, I did think it could be mast related, but I tried both my Three & Vodafone SIM in the B525, neither did 4G+. Then both SIMs in the B535 and they both did 4G+

Googling seemed to turn up some suggestions that some B525 firmware didn't support 4G+ (not clear if it is a fault or by design) and as my B525 came from LiveWire, not Three, I'm assuming they gave me non-4G+ firmware. Sometime ago I emailed LiveWire support & was just ignored. When I contacted the LiveWire sales guy, he was arrogant and unhelpful. I won't be buying anything from them again & recommend nobody else does (LiveWire now trades as modem.co.uk).

And it kinda seems pointless buying another 4G+ router just to stick it in BridgeMode and connect to my Mesh router. Unless anyone can recommend a cheap 4G+ modem?
 

twocats

Regular Member
Being a cheapskate, I'd do exactly the same.☺️
Three have just contacted me to say my price will now go up to £22/mnth as they no longer do the contract i was on for the last 24 Months.

So I have cancelled it and signed up for the £14/mnth deal, also has £55.25 cashback on Topcashback so works out at £11.70/mnth so not much different.
I also got the ZTE Modem which I wont use as I have a Netgear MR1100
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
Three have just contacted me to say my price will now go up to £22/mnth as they no longer do the contract i was on for the last 24 Months.

So I have cancelled it and signed up for the £14/mnth deal, also has £55.25 cashback on Topcashback so works out at £11.70/mnth so not much different.
I also got the ZTE Modem which I wont use as I have a Netgear MR1100
Tbh you might want to give the ZTE a go as it has better UK band support such as B32 and even B20 than the M1.

EDIT: see photo
 

twocats

Regular Member
Tbh you might want to give the ZTE a go as it has better UK band support such as B32 and even B20 than the M1.

EDIT: see photo
Only band 3 and 20 on my mast at the moment, so just locked to band 3 for the speed, didn't even realise that the M1 didn't support band 20.

Was using a B310 before but speed has always stayed the same at about 100Mbps no matter waht modem I used, the M1 has bridge mode so just used it instead, managed to get it free !!

Thanks for the info, I just switched on the ZTE and realise it has bridge mode so will give it a go.

edit** I tried the ZTE but it ran about half the speed (50Mbps/14Mbs ) of the M1 100Mbps/42Mbps
 
Last edited:

twocats

Regular Member
I tried the ZTE again this morning with the same result, even the B310 is faster and it's only CAT4.
I can only assume the ZTE is connecting to band 20 but I can't find a stats page.

I will try again later as seemingly an internet connection is required for my wife to work at home :p
 

Rdmcdowell

Member
I’m interested to know if anyone with poor service with 3 mobile broadband found a difference changing from the old HUAWEI cat6 router to the Zte cat 12? The service I had from three was originally great but over the past 18 months speeds slow down as the day goes on so that by the evenings it’s only 0.5-2. Three have offered the new router but I’m unconvinced it will make a difference. Interestingly I tried out a tp-link 4g+ archer router v1 and got slower speeds than the HUAWEI, the 4g+ icon didn’t light up on the tp-link when using the three sim. ultimately I expect to change network but it’s always interesting to hear of other experiences.
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
If speeds are high during the night/early hours and deteriorate through the day and evening then that just sounds like congestion on your mast/area.

The Archer V1 doesn't support B3+B1 aggregation, so assuming that's what you normally aggregate then its no wonder you didn't get 4G+ showing up. It does aggregate B3+B20 and B1+B20, but B20 wont provide much throughput uplift anyway.

Assuming you mean the B535 as the 'old Huawei cat 6 router' and if you're in an area with B32 deployed, you might actually find forcing B20+B32 on it gives more consistent/higher download speeds than B3+B1 - though upload speeds will be low.
 

Rdmcdowell

Member
If speeds are high during the night/early hours and deteriorate through the day and evening then that just sounds like congestion on your mast/area.

The Archer V1 doesn't support B3+B1 aggregation, so assuming that's what you normally aggregate then its no wonder you didn't get 4G+ showing up. It does aggregate B3+B20 and B1+B20, but B20 wont provide much throughput uplift anyway.

Assuming you mean the B535 as the 'old Huawei cat 6 router' and if you're in an area with B32 deployed, you might actually find forcing B20+B32 on it gives more consistent/higher download speeds than B3+B1 - though upload speeds will be low.
Thank you, that is very helpful. I think congestion is the biggest factor.

As one who is new to thinking about this technologically, how can I out which bands are deployed on the transmitters on my area? I tried the Archer v1 with my ee sim, for which there is better coverage/less congestion, and found that although 4g+ Did light up on the router, the download speeds were slightly lower than with the ee sim in the B535 suprisingly. A neighbour has an Archer v2 which he raves about, I wondered if there could be much difference between the v1 and v2?
 

GavinAshford

ULTIMATE Member
The MR600 archer V2 is not much different to the B535, in that it can aggregate B3+1, but possibly more crucially it lacks B32 support. What network provider is your neighbour using?

The variation you found on EE between both routers could be due to the bands each one aggregates, but it could also just be the Huawei being more sensitive and connecting with better signal metrics.

Take a look at my old post here how to find out which site you're connected to:
FYI I think only the Huawei UI shows the cellID, I don't believe it's shown in the TP-links.

And also this one, assuming you have and Android phone (to install huactrl) or a Windows PC for LTE-Hmanager to lock bands (again Huawei router only) to test out individual bands


Are you able to share a nearby postcode without giving your exact location away - of a pub/shop or something close by? Being able to look up roughly where you are would allow us to get a better idea of what is around (from the cellmapper map).

Also, what provider are you intending/wishing to use? Or does it not matter - whichever gives highest speeds and/or consistency? (The more providers you're considering the more testing and investigation you'll need to do)
 
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