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Three Announce New Monthly Plan Changes

18/03/2014

Three have been busy revising a number of their mobile phone plans and today have released the details.  Some of it is good, some may not be quite so good, it all really depends on how you have been using their service to date.

The changes only apply to new 24 month plans taken out as of now. Existing plans remain unchanged, so unless you renew or take out a new plan then you will largely be unaffected.  These changes also do not apply to 30-day Sim-Only One Plan contracts.

The good news is that numbers beginning 08 will be subject to charges that match those we enjoy on landline telephones, rather than the swingeing rates that we’re usually charged for using mobile.  This is excellent news and introduces a level of fair play into mobile use that has never existed.  Other mobile operators take note.

Three have also abolished their much disliked £15 unlocking charge.  Now you can have your contract device unlocked for free, although I’m sure certain terms and conditions apply. The precise detail is not yet available, but this is good news indeed.

Next up is information that Three will tell you by text message as you get close to using up your monthly allowance of calls, texts and data. This is in a bid to prevent the dreaded bill shock that some people encounter when unwittingly going over their limits.  For plans like The One Plan that is likely to be a rare event, but it is definitely a nice to have.

For avid mobile data users the changes may not be entirely to your liking.  First up, Tethering is now called “Personal Hotspot” by Three, which I will refer to as PH for brevity. Then Three have included PH in all of their mobile plans, and all of your monthly data allowance may be used as PH or on-phone or any mix of the two, up to your limit.  This is good.  However, for those with AYCE in their plans (and this includes The One Plan) there is a PH limit of 2GB per contract month.  And that may or may not be so good for new customers.

Clarity from Three
Already there has been a massive buzz on the social media with a lot of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) being expressed.  But Three’s Social Media team have been very quick and kind enough to respond to specific questions that I have posed to them in a bid to clear the FUD entirely.

1) Are any of these changes being applied to existing 24 month contracts? – Absolutely not.

2) Related, will existing customers of 24 month contracts enjoy the new 08xx charges? – No

3) What about other Three customers, will they benefit from the new 08xx charges (new deals as well as retrospectively to existing)? – No. Only new customers signing up to new phone 24 month contracts.

4) Personal Hotspot 2GB default limit for AYCE & One Plan – does that affect existing customers or only new as of today? – No. Only new customers on 24 month phone contracts

5) Does AYCE continue to be provided on other deals (ie. SIM Only, PAYG) ? – Yes, SIM plans remain unhchanged, as does PAYG

Here’s the full information release by Three.

Ofcom tell us that UK Mobile consumers spend over £600 million on 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers every year.

Yes, you read that right.

I think we’ve all experienced that sinking feeling you get when you first look at your phone bill, only to find it’s much higher than you imagined, and the culprit is very often those pesky out of bundle calls you forgot you’d even made.

You know, when you had to call the bank when you lost your debit card. Or when you had to call your energy provider to talk about your bill. We could go on…

47% of mobile users have experienced bill shock at one time or another and almost a third of these (31%) say it was down to out of bundle expensive calls.

Well we thought it was about time customers actually got the bill they were expecting, which is why, on all of our new Pay Monthly plans, 0800, 0808 and 0500 calls will now be free, when you sign up for 24 months. Not only that, but 084* and 087* numbers will be a mere 5 pence per minute.

Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director said:
“People are confused about the cost of calling 0800 numbers from mobiles, so we welcome Three making these calls free for new contract customers. We are also pleased to see cheaper calls to 084 and 087 numbers and Three’s commitment to not raising prices on fixed contracts. We call on other providers to follow its lead.”

Free 0800 numbers aren’t the only benefit of our new Pay Monthly plans. We want to really put you guys in control. You’ll be able to set caps to stop you going over your minute allowance and you’ll be able to block spending on expensive numbers, such as premium rate numbers.

You’ll also receive text alerts, letting you know when you’re close to using up your voice and data allowances. So you’ll know that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to watch those last few episodes of Game of Thrones just yet… And with All-You-Can-Eat text messages, you won’t need to worry about those at all!

Another little change we’ve recently put in place is free unlocking for our devices, something that previously cost at least £15.

There are also some changes to our tethering offering. You’ll hear us talking about Personal Hotspot rather than tethering from now on. With our old plans, using your phone as a Personal Hotspot was only included if you were on The One Plan. So we’re really pleased to let you know that all of our new plans will now include this functionality.

With our new plans you’ll be able to use all of your data allowance on your Personal Hotspot if you wish, unless you have All-You-Can-Eat data, in which case you can use up to 2GB of this on your Personal Hotspot.

We feel very strongly that All You Can Eat data is something we want to continue to be able to offer as many customers as possible. But when that data is used for Personal Hotspots, it can put a strain on our network. We need to protect the network experience for all customers and this is why we’ve taken a decision to put this limit in place.

To summarise our new Pay Monthly plans;
· Free 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers

· 084* and 087* numbers just 5p per minute

· Texts alerts when you’re nearing your limit

· The ability to place spending caps

· Personal Hotspot functionality for all, but limited to 2GB if your plan includes All-You-Can-Eat data

· All-You-Can-Eat text messages

· A range of data allowances up to All-You-Can-Eat

· A range of minute allowances up to All-You-Can-Eat

With all of the above as well as Feel at Home, 4G at no extra cost (when you have a 4G ready device) and free device unlocking, choosing Three seems like a darn good option!

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One Comment
  1. This is for u Gary …. You & your my 3 are being sued & this is what should have been done years ago

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