Focus on: Three extends 'all-you-can-eat' data offer

Published:
29 September 2011
Topic:
News,Mobile Phones,Product review

Smart phone sales continue to surge and, with the launch of the iPhone 5 just around the corner, Three this week threw down the gauntlet to other networks by offering 'all you can eat' data to all its customers for an extra £3 a month.

Previously, 'all you can eat' data was only offered on Three's The One Plan contract, launched in December last year, and as part of a £15 bundle deal for pay as you go customers which was introduced in March 2011.

According to research by Three, the amount of data customers are using each month is continuing to grow rapidly.

For example, the average quantity of Three's iPhone 4 customers were using in February this year was around 488MBs per month. By August that number had increased to 1.2GBs.

Thomas Malleschitz, marketing director at Three UK said; "Our customers tell us that their use of data goes up significantly over the lifetime of their contracts, as they do more and more with their handset.

All you can eat data means that they can have that peace of mind for the long term on a contract of their choice."

Here, we take a look at what the new offer means in more detail...

What's the deal?

From October 7, all of Three's new and existing contract smart phone customers will be able to enjoy all-you-can-eat data for just an extra £3 per month.

This means that whether they are downloading apps, browsing the web or checking out YouTube clips, they don't have to worry about out of bundle data charges.

The network's tariffs start from £15 per month, so those going for the unlimited data bundle will see this increase to £18 per month.

Mike Wilson, MoneySupermarket said: "This is great news for Three's customers.

The explosion of smart phones onto the market in recent years has seen the way we use our mobiles change dramatically. As a result we have become more and more dependent on data, whether it be for the latest apps or for streaming media clips.

"Yet as we've been encouraged to use more and more data networks have been moving to restrict our usage with caps and fair usage policies. Hopefully this move from Three will encourage other networks to look at their terms around data."

Any catches?

As data consumption soars, there is a possibility that Three could face difficulties in future if the date for auctions for available airwaves is delayed.

Auctions to free up space for next generation mobile services are timetabled for the middle of next year and there are concerns that Three could run out of capacity in urban areas if these don't go ahead as planned.

Until we know more about whether or not the auctions will be delayed, this shouldn't be too much of a concern, but if you are considering switching to Three, you should still check coverage in your area to see how strong it is.

Verdict

Three's unlimited broadband offer looks great value for money and gives customers much more flexibility. However, before opting for any mobile deal, think carefully about exactly what you need.

If you only tend to use limited data each month, for example, then it may not be worth paying for a tariff offering unlimited data, and you may be able to find a cheaper deal elsewhere.

Top tip

If you are with a provider that doesn't offer unlimited data, always ask them direct about about early warning systems that they may have in place to let you know if you are reaching your limit.

 Data usage limits on smartphones can cost upwards of 10p per MB, which amounts to an eye-watering £100 per GB, so it's vital to do everything you can to protect yourself against any nasty bills shocks. 

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing.

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