Three’s new tariffs; Free 0800 calls, cheap 0845/0870 access, unlimited texts, plus a tethering cap

After weeks, if not months, of speculation, Three has finally unveiled its new tariffs that are available from today.

Calls to 0800 will now be free (and not use up your existing allowance), well ahead of Ofcom’s requirement for all operators to make freephone numbers free to call, plus calls to 0845 and 0870 numbers will be available for just 5p per minute.

Users on tariffs available before today will need to change to one of the new tariffs to benefit.

The new range of pay-monthly tariffs also includes the ability to add more calls and data for one month or longer, controllable via the My3 service. Text messaging will now be unlimited.

Customers will receive text alerts to warn whenever an allowance is about to be exceeded.

The only disappointment from what has been announced today is that the unlimited tethering option, that was previously offered on some tariffs as an add-on, or as standard on The One Plan, now appears to be history – replaced instead with a fixed ‘personal hotspot’ allowance that maxes out at 2GB.

It’s been talked about for some time, but is now confirmed as 100% true.

More data can be purchased at £5 per gigabyte, and in case you’re thinking of being able to trick Three, think again. It’s thought that Three has now improved its ability to detect tethering (as it does when roaming abroad), so the ‘all you can eat’ data allowance that remains available will be strictly limited to data used on your phone.

More news on the horizon

There’s still more to be announced in the future, such as Wi-Fi access on the underground (the last main operator to offer free access), Wi-Fi voice calling (like the TU Go app available for O2 users), plus new 4G dongles and portable hotspots for mobile broadband users.

New mobile broadband tariffs are also expected to be announced, hopefully offering larger allowances than the current 15GB maximum.

Three will also add new countries to its Feel At Home service.

The following tariff data published below is as provided by Three. Please check the Three website for additional information and the full terms and conditions.

Available allowances

New contract customers can choose from a set of allowances within the range.

500MB 50 mins All you can eat texts 0800 = free / Other 084 and 087 = 5ppm
100 mins
300 mins
600 mins
AYCE mins
1GB 50 mins
100 mins
300 mins
600 mins
AYCE mins
2GB 50 mins
100 mins
300 mins
600 mins
AYCE mins
All-you-can-eat data 100 mins
300 mins
600 mins
AYCE mins

Indicative pricing

Below is a range of available allowances and corresponding pricing on a spread of devices. Full allowance options and pricing can be seen on our website.

Device Allowance Monthly Charge Upfront Cost
iPhone 5S 1GB / 600 mins / AYCE texts £35 £29
2GB / AYCE mins / AYCE texts £41 £29
AYCE data / AYCE mins / AYCE texts £44 £29
Samsung S4 Mini 1GB / 600 mins / AYCE texts £26 £29
2GB / AYCE mins / AYCE texts £32 £29
AYCE data / AYCE mins / AYCE texts £35 £29
Nokia Lumia 520 500MB / 100 mins / AYCE texts £15 No upfront cost
1GB / 100 mins / AYCE texts £18 No upfront cost

Spending controls and alerts

Customers can opt to block spending on calls outside of their allowance and/or spending on chargeable events that sit outside of their allowance – like chargeable calls and texts and competition lines.

These blocks can be changed up to eight times per month through My3 – Three’s online account management system. Customers can make further changes by contacting the Contact Centre.

Customers will receive alerts when they have used by 80% and 100% of their data allowance and when they have 20 voice minutes remaining in their allowance. These alerts will also prompt customers to manage their usage or purchase additional voice minutes or data.


Customers will be given the option to buy more data or voice minutes during the lifetime of their contract.

Customers can buy additional data to take them to the end of their billing month or on a longer-term basis.

Customers can also buy additional voice minutes.

Customers can remove these additional voice minutes and data when they want but cannot go below their contracted allowance. For example, if a customer signs a 24 month contract with 1GB of data and 600 minutes, they can buy additional minutes or data but cannot go below this baseline.

The available add-ons and their costs are set out below:

Data Voice
Short Term Long Term Long Term
250MB= £2.50 Next data tier = £3 Next Min Tier = £3
Next data tier = £5 500MB > 1GB 50mins > 100mins
500MB  > 1GB 1GB > 2GB 100mins > 300mins
1GB > 2GB 2GB > AYCE 300mins > 600mins
2GB > AYCE 600mins > AYCE

Personal Hotspot (aka Tethering)

All data allowances will allow customers to use Personal Hotspot. With 500MB, 1GB and 2GB data allowances, the entire allowance is available for Personal Hotspot use. With all-you-can-eat data, a maximum of 2GB can be used for Personal Hotspot. If AYCE data customers want to use more data when their allowance has run out they can choose to buy a 1G Personal Hotspot.

Customers will receive an alert when they hit 80% and 100% of their 2GB Personal Hotspot allowance within AYCE.

Press release in full:

Brits shell out over half a billion pounds on 08 calls each year

Three responds by making all 0800 numbers free on its new pay monthly plans

  • 0800, 0845 and 0870 calls cost UK mobile consumers £600 million a year
  • Bill shock affects nearly half (47%) of mobile phone users
  • Three’s new plans make calling 0800 free and 084 and 087 calls 5p per minute

New research – conducted by YouGov – has found that mobile phone users are in the dark when it comes to the cost of making calls to 0800 numbers from their mobile phone.

Three quarters of people surveyed have no idea how much their operator charges them for an 0800 call and 10% think these are free, as they would be from a landline. Research also highlights that calls to 0800, 0845 and 0870 numbers cost UK mobile consumers an estimated £600 million a year.

The research also found that 47% of mobile phone users have experienced bill shock, with almost a third (31%) of these users saying this was caused by out of bundle expensive calls such as 0800 or 0845 numbers.

From today, customers who sign up to Three’s new plans can call 0800, 0808 and 0500 numbers for free, while all other 08 numbers, like 084 and 087, will cost 5p per minute. These charges typically range from 14p to 40p. Existing customers can swap over from their existing plan without paying a fee and can keep their existing contract end date.

Dave Dyson, Chief Executive at Three, said: “We asked people what frustrated them most about their mobile bills and confusion around the cost of calling 08 numbers came out top by a big margin.  These charges are often buried in the small print and they’re expensive enough to make most customers fear calling them from their mobiles. 

“We want UK mobile users to get the most enjoyment from their smartphones or data device – the cost of calling 08 numbers is something we want to address for our customers.”

“UK mobile users are still afraid to use their devices in many circumstances.  That’s why we’ve made it possible for our customers to use their home allowance abroad in 11 countries, including the USA.  It’s why we’ve launched 4G at no extra cost and why we’ve committed not to raise our monthly recurring charges during the minimum period of a contract. ”

Under the new plans, customers will also be able to set limits to stop them going over their minutes allowance and limit spending on expensive numbers.

They will also receive text alerts to help them understand when they are close to using up their voice and data allowances.

To celebrate that 0800 numbers are now free, Three is launching a selection of fun and pointless 0800 numbers on 17 March for people to call and enjoy, including a Singing Dictionary line, a compliments line and a 24 hours lullaby line.


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