Three offers Pay As You Go bundles from £10/month with 8GB of data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts.
In the UK, Three offers a Pay As You Go service with Data Pack bundles, starting from £10/month for 8GB of data. This is available with no contract and no credit check and you’ll get unlimited minutes and unlimited texts included in your Pay As You Go bundle. There’s also access to Three’s 5G network included if you’re in an area that has 5G coverage from Three.
As an alternative to Three’s Pay As You Go bundles, it’s also worth considering the bundles from SMARTY. SMARTY is a low-cost sub-brand of Three, giving you 12GB of data for £8 per month. Alternatively, you can get 30GB of data for £10 per month (five times more data than you’d get on Three for the same price). It’s also possible to get unlimited data on SMARTY for just £16 per month (compared to £35 per month on Three Pay As You Go).
In this article, we’ll review Three’s Pay As You Go service. We’ll start by looking at their Pay As You Go bundles and at the standard Pay As You Go rates for customers not buying a bundle. We’ll then look at some of the features and benefits of Three’s Pay As You Go service and the coverage that’s available on it. Finally, we’ll discuss how to keep your current phone number when moving to Three’s Pay As You Go service.
- 1 Bundles & Plans
- 2 Features & Benefits
- 3 321 Plan
- 4 Joining Three Pay As You Go
- 5 Coverage
- 6 Keeping Your Phone Number
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
- 8 More Information
Bundles & Plans
In the UK, Three offers Pay As You Go plans from £10/month as part of their ‘Supercharged’ Pay As You Go service. All of their Pay As You Go plans are available without the need for a credit check and include roaming in 71 destinations along with 5G at no extra cost.
For customers wanting a larger allowance of data at a lower monthly price, Three also offers Pay As You Go bundles through their SMARTY sub-brand. On SMARTY, you can get a one-month bundle for as little as £6 per month. Meanwhile, the most popular plan is 30GB of data for £10, giving you five times more data than you’d get on Three. You’ll get access to the exact same coverage as on Three’s Pay As You Go service, minus the access to 5G.
Data Pack Bundles
If you’re looking for a Pay As You Go plan on Three, you can currently choose from four Data Pack bundles. All of the Data Pack bundles include unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and an allowance of 5G data:
The allowances in your Data Pack bundle will last for one calendar month. Any unused allowances will then expire with the bundle.
If you’ve used up all of the data in your bundle, you’ll need to buy a data add-on to continue using the service. This will cost £5/month for an extra 1GB data, £7/month for an extra 3GB data or £8/month for an extra 6GB data. Alternatively, there’s a £5/day unlimited data add-on.
Pay As You Go Rates
If you’re using Three’s Pay As You Go service without a Data Pack bundle, you’ll pay 10p/minute, 10p/text and 5p/MB for using mobile data (equivalent to £50/GB).
The following table shows the standard Pay As You Go rates on Three:
|Voice Calls||10p/minute (any network, any time)|
|Calls to Voicemail||10p/minute|
|Calls to Special Rate Numbers||45p/minute access charge|
+ service charge from the company you’re calling
|Text Message (SMS)||10p|
|Picture Message (MMS)||40p|
The prices stated in this table are for UK-to-UK usage. If you’re travelling abroad outside Europe or making international phone calls, higher charges will normally apply. Source for pricing information: three.co.uk.
You’ll need to top-up your SIM card or make a chargeable activity at least once every six months to keep your SIM card active.
On Three, the minimum top-up is £5 each time when you top-up online through the My3 website. It’s £10 when you top-up elsewhere (e.g. in-store or over the phone).
For a lower-cost Pay As You Go plan with much larger allowances, Three also offers Pay As You Go bundles through their lower-cost SMARTY Mobile sub-brand.
On SMARTY, you’re currently able to get 12GB of data for £8 per month. Alternatively, there’s 30GB data for £10 (which is five times more data than you’d get on Three Pay As You Go). There’s also unlimited data for £16 per month (compared to £35 per month for the same allowances on Three’s Pay As You Go service):
Like the Three Pay As You Go bundles, SMARTY’s bundles are also available with no contract and no credit check. The main limitation is that you won’t have access to Three’s 5G coverage. In addition, you’ll only get inclusive roaming when travelling to other European destinations (whereas you’ll also get inclusive roaming in selected destinations outside Europe on Three Pay As You Go).
If you’re a light user, consider one of SMARTY’s data discount plans, which are available from only £6/month. On these plans, you’ll get an unused data discount of £1 for every gigabyte of data that you don’t use (bringing it down to as little as £5 per month):
For more information, read our SMARTY mobile review. We’ve also got in-depth guides to unlimited data on SMARTY and the coverage on SMARTY Mobile.
Features & Benefits
For customers on Three’s Pay As You Go service, a key benefit is being able to use your mobile phone abroad in 71 destinations at no extra cost. The Go Roam Around The World offer covers your usage in most European countries, the USA, Australia and more.
In our opinion, Three’s Pay As You Go service is a really good option for customers who occasionally travel abroad. You can use the SIM card to stay in touch with friends and family whilst travelling, and continue using your favourite applications like social media, messaging and maps.
To get the best value when travelling abroad, we recommend buying either the £10 or £15 bundle. You can use up to 20GB of your data allowance abroad when travelling in Europe and up to 12GB when travelling to a Go Roam country outside of Europe.
If you choose a SMARTY bundle, you’ll also be able to use up to 20GB of data abroad in Europe each month. However, the full Go Roam offer isn’t available outside Europe so you’ll need to pay extra for this.
For more information, see our guide to the Go Roam offer. Alternatively, see Three’s official website.
It’s possible to get unlimited data for £35 per month on Three’s Pay As You Go service. This £30 Data Pack gives you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data at up to 5G speeds.
|No price plans could be found matching this criteria.|
There are no fair usage limits on Three’s Pay As You Go service – the only requirement is it needs to be for your own personal, non-commercial usage. The unlimited data allowance can be shared with other devices through the tethering or personal hotspot feature on your phone.
As a lower-cost alternative to unlimited data on Three Pay As You Go, you can get unlimited data for just £16 per month on SMARTY:
For more information, see our full guide to unlimited data on Three and unlimited data on SMARTY.
5G At No Extra Cost
A unique selling point of Three’s Pay As You Go service is the ability to access 5G at no extra cost.
The benefits of using 5G on Three include faster download speeds, more network capacity and a reduced amount of latency. According to Three, they’re building the UK’s fastest 5G mobile network with 140MHz of 5G spectrum (significantly more than any other network).
At present, Three’s 5G network is available in parts of 194 UK towns and cities. You’ll need a 5G-ready phone to access 5G coverage on Three. For more information, see our Three 5G coverage map.
5G coverage isn’t currently available to customers on SMARTY. However, they’ve announced that it’ll be coming soon to the network.
No Credit Check
There’s no need to undergo a credit check when joining Three’s Pay As You Go or SMARTY mobile service. This makes it an ideal option for people who don’t want to undergo a credit check or for people who aren’t normally able to pass one (e.g. under 18s and people who have recently moved to the UK).
If you’re happy to undergo a credit check, you can also consider a Pay Monthly SIM card from Three.
Most Pay As You Go customers who joined Three before the 12th March 2020 will currently be on an older plan known as 321. On this plan, you’ll currently be paying 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB.
On the 16th February 2021, Three will be closing the 321 plan. Customers will be migrated to the newer Pay As You Go plan where the standard Pay As You Go rates are 10p/minute, 10p/text and 5p/MB. You’ll get access to the new Data Pack bundles which can save you money if you’re a regular mobile user, but light users are likely to see a significant price increase from this.
You can consider one of the following alternatives instead:
- If you’d like a Pay As You Go plan where you don’t need to top-up every month, see our guide to Pay As You Go plans for light users. For instance, you can join 1pMobile where the charges are just 1p/minute, 1p/text and 1p/MB (but with a minimum required top-up of £10 every 120 days).
- If you’re making the jump to a Pay As You Go bundle, consider getting a SMARTY bundle instead. For instance, SMARTY offers 12GB data for £8 per month or 30GB data for £10 per month. This is a lot more data than you’d get for the same price on Three.
- At present, Pay As You Go rates of 3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB are still available on Three’s Data Reward SIM card (with the addition of 200MB of free data every month). It isn’t yet known whether the rates will also be changing on the Data Reward SIM card at some point.
Joining Three Pay As You Go
The easiest way to join Three’s Pay As You Go service is by ordering a free SIM card through their website. The SIM card will be sent to you through the post and can be inserted into any unlocked smartphone to take advantage of the Data Pack bundles.
If you’d like to buy a new phone at the same time as joining Three Pay As You Go, a selection of handsets are available to buy on the Three website. You’ll be given a SIM card on the 321 plan when you buy a Pay As You Go phone from Three.
3G & 4G Coverage
In the UK, Three offers 99.8% population coverage. This includes 98.3% population coverage on their 3G network and 99.8% population coverage on their 4G network.
Before joining Three’s Pay As You Go service, we’d strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area. You can do this by entering your postcode on Three’s online coverage map:
Check Three Coverage Map (three.co.uk) →
Unfortunately, Three doesn’t provide any 2G coverage. For this reason, if you’re using an older 2G-only phone, it won’t be possible to receive any coverage from Three. You may also experience some issues when using a Three Pay As You Go SIM card in a dual-SIM smartphone.
For more information, see our full guide to the coverage on Three.
Unlike most other mobile networks, Three’s Pay As You Go service includes access to 5G at no extra cost. To use it, you’ll need to make sure you have a 5G-ready smartphone and you’ll need to be in a 5G coverage area.
At present, 5G coverage is available in the following UK towns and cities:
|Now Live||194 towns and cities are live on Three 5G (December 2021)|
Aberdeen, Abingdon-on-Thames, Adlington, Aldershot, Aldridge, Ashford, Balloch, Barnsley, Barrow-in-Furness, Basildon, Bath, Bedford, Belfast, Belfast Airport, Billericay, Billingham, Birdwell, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Bishopthorpe, Blackburn, Blackpool, Borehamwood, Bournemouth, Bradford, Brentwood, Brighton, Brimington, Bristol, Bromsgrove, Brookmans Park, Broughton Astley, Burton upon Trent, Campton, Cannock, Cardiff, Carlisle, Castlereagh, Chatham, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Chesham, Chorley, Christleton, Clayton-le-Woods, Clifton, Coedkernew, Colchester, Copmanthorpe, Corringham, Coventry, Crawley, Crook, Cullingworth, Danderhall, Delph, Denholme, Derby, Dewsbury, Dinnington, Doncaster, Dundee, East Kilbride, East Midlands Airport, Edinburgh, Egginton, Ellesmere Port, Exmouth, Falkirk, Gateshead, Glasgow, Gorebridge, Grays, Greenock, Grimsby, Guildford, Hamilton, Hartley, Hatfield, Heanor, Heathcote, Hedge End, Hemel Hempstead, Hertford, Heswall, Heywood, Horley, Horwich, Huddersfield, Hull, Huntingdon, Inchinnan, Ingleby Barwick, Ipswich, Irlam, Isle of Grain, Iver, Kings Hill, Kings Langley, Kinmel Bay, Kirkheaton, Kirknewton, Knowl Wall, Leeds, Leicester, Leyland, Lincoln, Liverpool, London, Loughborough, Lower Stondon, Luton, Maidenhead, Maidstone, Manchester, Mansfield, Margate, Marlow Bottom, Marston Moretaine, Merthyr Tydfil, Middlesbrough, Milnrow, Milton Keynes, Motherwell, Neston, Newark-on-Trent, Newcastle, Newhall, Newport, Newquay, Newton Aycliffe, Newton-le-Willows, Newtownabbey, Normanton, Northampton, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Ottershaw, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Pontefract, Porthcawl, Portsmouth, Preston, Reading, Redcar, Redditch, Royston Yorkshire, Scunthorpe, Sheffield, Shelly Green, Shrewsbury, Slough, South Heighton, South Kirkby, South Normanton, South Ockendon, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Southport, St Albans, St Blazey, St Columb Road, Stafford, Stansted Airport, Stevenage, Stockton-on-Tees, Stoke-on-Trent, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sunderland, Sunninghill, Sutton-in-Ashfield, Swadlincote, Swindon, Swinton, Tamworth, Telford, Thornaby-on-Tees, Ullesthorpe, Wakefield, Wallingford, Walton-on-Thames, Warrington, Washington, Westhoughton, Weybridge, Wickford, Wigan, Winterbourne, Worcester, Worksop, Writtle, York
For more information, see our Three 5G coverage map.
Tethering & Personal Hotspot
Tethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with other devices (e.g. with your laptop or tablet). It’s a great way to share a mobile broadband connection from your phone onto other devices.
From April 2018 onwards, it’s been possible to use tethering and personal hotspot both in the UK and Europe. Some limitations still apply to tethering when you’re travelling to a Go Roam country outside Europe.
Prior to April 2018, the use of tethering and personal hotspot was not permitted on Three Pay As You Go.
For more information, see our full guide to tethering on UK mobile networks.
On Three, international roaming is automatically enabled for all customers on Pay As You Go.
For customers visiting one of 71 destinations (including most of Europe, the USA and Australia), it’s possible to use your mobile phone abroad at no extra cost through the Go Roam offer. For more information, find out about the international coverage on Go Roam.
If you’re visiting a country that’s not covered by the Go Roam offer, additional charges may apply for your usage when abroad. Please see the Three website for full details about their international coverage.
Keeping Your Phone Number
If you’re joining Three’s Pay As You Go service from another mobile network, it’s a straightforward process to bring your phone number with you.
To start with, order your new Pay As You Go SIM card or Pay As You Go phone from Three’s website. Once you’ve done that, you can request a PAC Code from your old network. You can get this through your mobile network’s website or app, or by texting PAC to 65075. The PAC Code will authorise the transfer of your phone number to Three.
After your new phone or SIM card arrives from Three, fill out this number transfer form on their website. Once you’ve done that, your phone number transfer will be scheduled by Three (normally for the next working day but you can choose to delay this if you like).
For step-by-step instructions on how to transfer a phone number to Three, please select your current mobile network from the drop-down menu below:PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to Three
Select your current mobile network:
Your current mobile network…BT MobileEEgiffgaffO2Sky MobileThreeVirgin MobileVodafone1pMobileASDA MobileHonest MobileiD MobileLebara MobileLycamobileOrangePlusnet MobileSmartySuperdrug MobileTalkmobileTalkTalk MobileTesco MobileT-MobileVectone MobileVOXI
For more information on transferring a phone number between mobile networks, see our guide to using a PAC Code.
Frequently Asked Questions
|What bundles are available on Three Pay As You Go?||Customers on Three’s Pay As You Go service can choose from four different Data Pack bundles. You’ll currently get 6GB of data for £10, 20GB of data for £15, 50GB of data for £20 or unlimited data for £30 per month. All bundles include unlimited minutes and unlimited texts, as well 5G coverage in areas that support it (a 5G handset is required for this).Three also offers Pay As You Go bundles through their SMARTY sub-brand such as 30GB data for £10 per month or unlimited data for £16 per month.|
|What’s the minimum top-up on Three?||The minimum top-up is £5 if you’re topping up online through this link. If you’re topping up elsewhere (e.g. in store or by phone), the minimum top-up is £10.|
|What are the standard Pay As You Go rates on Three?||If you don’t have an active bundle on your account, you’ll pay 10p/minute, 10p/text and 5p/MB. Customers who joined Three before the 12th March 2020 may have access to 321 rates instead (3p/minute, 2p/text and 1p/MB). However, this will be ending from the 16th February 2021.|
|Is it possible to use Go Roam with Three Pay As You Go?||Yes. If you buy a Pay As You Go bundle on Three, you’ll be able to use your allowances abroad at no extra cost in 71 destinations. Three’s Go Roam offer covers most of Europe, the USA, Australia and more.|
|What type of coverage will I get on Three Pay As You Go?||You’ll get 3G, 4G and 5G coverage from Three. According to Three, they offer 99.8% population coverage – you can check the coverage in your area on their website. 5G coverage is also now available in parts of 194 UK towns and cities.|
|Can I keep an existing phone number?||Yes. It’s a straightforward process to keep your current phone number. Ask your current mobile network to provide you with a PAC Code. You can get one through your mobile network’s website or app, or by texting PAC to 65075. You can then provide the PAC Code to Three once you’ve ordered and activated your SIM card.|