Sponsored

Three home broadband suddenly misbehaving

rwmorris

Casual Member
Hi all.

I originally posted about the conundrum I had here, last year.

I really appreciated the advice I received, got some really helpful messages. So I'm back again, humbly, to ask for a little more advice.

My parents took out the no contract Three home 4G broadband service. It was amazing, for the first year. They consistently got 140mbps, faster than their old Virgin Media package, they could stream UHD. They decided at that point to sign a two year contract last June as Three had on a ridiculous offer at like £18p/m for two years. Everything was fine.

They very occasionally had drop outs but really, it was nothing too major.

About six weeks ago, it all went to pot. They can barely do anything on it. I've driven to see them to investigate this, and they can literally sometimes get 560kbps as a download and uploads are non-existent. The thing is, this is totally random, sometimes it can be fine, but often it's just a snail's pace now.

Cue a back and forth between me and Three on live chat, to be told that I should just "put it onto 3G because the 4G network is really congested". Well, frankly, there's a part of me that thinks if you're paying for 4G, you should get 4G speeds. It does ease it a bit, but they're still limited to around 8-9mbps. It isn't consistent, either.

I notice that the Three website, when you type in their postcode, now has any Home Broadband product as "we're coming to your area very soon", and the coverage map for 4G has gone from a dark pink to a light pink, implying only good coverage outdoors. At either end of their street it's dark pink, but something seems to have been knocked out in their area and the mast clearly isn't behaving properly. 5G is at the end of their road, but again, they can't sign up to that.

I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar experience and what they'd recommend. I know they are supposed to be rolling out 5G, so is it worth sticking with it for the time being, and hoping the congestion eases? Or is it worth ringing them up and harassing until they agree to release my parents from the contract?

I see VOXI has an insanely good sale on at the moment, £20 for 150GB and unlimited video streaming from lots of providers, this would easily cover their allowances (they're heavy iPlayer users, but the unlimited streaming on Netflix would balance this out), and it appears as long as you get the APN settings right in the router, Vodafone don't seem to care about their VOXI SIMs being used in this way. I know their coverage is good there, as they're both on VOXI as it is. Vodafone's signal checker for their area suggests a minimum of 7mbps, up to 50mbps. Even the minimum would be welcome following recent developments.

I'm also told that Three 4G routers are unlocked (they have a B535), so I assume there's no issue with this idea, if we can get Three to release them from the contract.

Any advice gratefully received, once again. Thanks in advance.
 

kommando828

ULTIMATE Member
Well it looks like Three have a local issue and as usual give no answer as to when a solution will be introduced. So in that case test other providers, my unlocked 4G routers will take any sim but you do need to play around with the APN settings to get it to work. I was with Voda for 2 years on a rural mast with Band 20 only giving 25Mbs day in day out, boring but adequate and much better than ADSL. Just watch out for the download speed limitations as not all are full speed, they also come in 2Mbs and 10Mbs flavours on Voda and this may carry across to Voxi.
 

rwmorris

Casual Member
Thanks very much!

This was my presumption. I’ll have to see if they can release us from the contract early.

Yeah, will try another SIM and see how we get on. I think VOXI will probably be our best bet on account of this amazing offer they currently have on until the end of the month. Let’s see.

Thanks again.
 

rocra

Casual Member
If the speed differ wildly regardless whether it's a peak time or not then it points to flicking between two masts. You can try force the better mast by limiting the band to use but not every modem will allow that.
 

rwmorris

Casual Member
I wondered this but I presume not? I'd say it's random during the day when it slows down, but generally pretty bad, but then it's consistently awful in the evening, at peak times.

I honestly think what's happened is that a mast has stopped working properly in their area (which is why the coverage map is now less strong on their street and you can no longer sign up to the home broadband service where they are), and it's just made the area really congested. 3G did work a bit for the first few days as a fix, but frankly that's now just as bad as I presume everyone has had the same idea.

Thanks again. I think I'll have a go with a first phone call, I'll report back with anything exciting.
 

clivejo

Top Member
Good luck, you'll need it talking to Three Network/Technical support!

Funny how if I suddenly don't/can't pay and have to end the contract they bill me for remainder of the contract! Yet when they don't/won't deliver they are all for making you cancel and go elsewhere!
 

rwmorris

Casual Member
I am an exceptionally persistent person with endless patience, they'll need luck dealing with me. My approach is always to kill customer service agents with kindness, works 95% of the time. Having said this, I've only ever dealt with Three customer service once, when things were a consistent 140mbps for a month and the parents decided to do the 24 month sign up contract, I'd imagine complaining is very different.

I'm kind of hopeful though, as the site doesn't allow new sign-ups, there's a line of attack from that angle, complaining that the network is clearly congested and overutilised, etc. etc. etc. Let's see.
 

rwmorris

Casual Member
Hi all,

Just an update on this. Thanks all so much for your advice before. I've had a number of calls with Three over the past three months. They kept assuring me it was a temporary problem with the network, and every time I was put around in circles. "Oh, you've had problems with our network? Let us do some more network tests" etc etc. all the while, the connection got worse and worse. Last night they achieved speeds of a whopping 700kbps and for the last two nights they've had literally zero service, their iPhones literally just said "Safari cannot find the server" on everything.

Last night I decided that enough was enough, and called them up. I'm never rude with customer service staff, but basically when the customer service assistant took me through the steps to "make sure 4G mode was on" I basically said, look, I used to get 140mbps through your service, I now get, at maximum, 7mbps and it frequently drops to nothing. I'm paying for a service you're not providing. And I said every time I call we go in circles, over and over. I explained it all from start to finish, how this had been going on for three months, how there was no explanation. How they said last time there was an issue with the local mast but engineers were fixing it, I said we're not progressing anywhere.

At that point, he paused, and, went away for a few seconds, then said "well, the issue with your local mast still isn't resolved and isn't going to be resolved any time soon, we don't have an estimated date. I am prepared to offer you to walk away from your contract, we won't charge you any exit fees, we'll just write it off, and we're very sorry". Can you imagine my joy?

The only problem with all this is that they literally process cancellations immediately, you can't give them a future date. So I've now got to get a Virgin Media line set up at the parents before I can call them back and cancel the Three service. He said he's made a note on the account that Three accept a cancellation with no exit fees, I got the case number etc. etc. and his name, so I should be all covered in that case. Once the Virgin Media hub arrives, I'll call them straight back.

So, it is possible to leave Three while still under a Home Broadband contract, but you have to be extremely persistent (I've had about 6 calls over the past three months and each one was over half an hour, but worth it for the cost saving of cancelling the contract myself), and very patient.

Just thought I'd post this here in case anyone else needs advice on dealing with them in the future!
 

Lucian

ULTIMATE Member
@rwmorris I was getting quite curious what kind of service you'd get over 3G.
Glad you're sorting the problem though and a bit sad you're going to Virgin.. :))
 

rwmorris

Casual Member
The service over 3G was no better, fluctuated between 0.5mbps and a maximum of about 8/9mbps.

I'm sad about them going back to Virgin, or Liberty Global/Telefonica as they really are, but frankly there's no other option. They got a letter recently to say BT is relaying cables in their street. I called BT (and emailed Openreach) to ask if this was FTTC/FTTP broadband and I've been informed that BT are literally just relaying the standard copper cables as they're in bad shape. They basically only have a choice in their road between Virgin Media/ADSL/4G/5G broadband. It's odd.
 

JitteryPinger

ULTIMATE Member
I've been informed that BT are literally just relaying the standard copper cables as they're in bad shape.
Errrrm.... OK... Interesting!

My assumption on this is the money or permission to lay fibres into the street and do the digs to each property isn't there.

Living in an area completely dominated by VM myself and also having directly buried BT lines (albeit only acheiving upto 1Mb/s), my whole exchnage area has had FTTP upgrades but my era of the area is all in DUNNO phase.
 
Top
Promotion
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £17.99
    Speed 33Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Promo code: BIGBANG
  • Shell Energy £20.99
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • NOW £22.00
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £22.00
    Speed 38Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £22.99
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £75 Reward Card
Large Availability | View All
Cheapest Ultrafast ISPs
  • Gigaclear £17.00
    Speed: 200Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Community Fibre £20.00
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £25.00
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Hyperoptic £25.00
    Speed: 158Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: Promo code: BIGBANG
  • Virgin Media £27.00
    Speed: 108Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Promotion
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. FTTP (4204)
  2. BT (3181)
  3. Politics (2149)
  4. Building Digital UK (2042)
  5. Openreach (1995)
  6. FTTC (1931)
  7. Business (1866)
  8. Mobile Broadband (1629)
  9. Statistics (1525)
  10. 4G (1397)
  11. FTTH (1372)
  12. Virgin Media (1301)
  13. Ofcom Regulation (1251)
  14. Fibre Optic (1246)
  15. Wireless Internet (1244)
  16. Vodafone (940)
  17. 5G (923)
  18. EE (920)
  19. TalkTalk (832)
  20. Sky Broadband (795)
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms  ,  Privacy and Cookie Policy  ,  Links  ,  Website Rules