A few months ago, the UK arm of 3 launched a new data-only pay-as-you-go plan offering 200mb/month free. In theory, you order the sim online for free for posting to a UK address, or pay £1 for one immediately in a store. Then, on the sim's own data connection, visit http://www.three.co.uk/freedata to register the sim, and you get 200mb/month free. That 200mb is valid in 3's feel-at-home countries, which has just been expanded to cover all of the EU countries (plus a few others)

For anyone visiting the UK, or anyone visiting Europe who'd be able to get hold of one, who need just a bit of data to tide them over between wifi, it seems a brilliant deal! If it works as advertised, you'd get 200mb free to use anywhere in the EU for the month, enough for the odd email or mapping. The 1p/mb pay-as-you-go rate in the UK (though I guess not elsewhere?) also looks pretty good for low-ish use.

Before I rush out and get one, and tell all friends visiting from abroad to consider one too... Are there any catches/gotchas with this?

  • 2
    While Three have announced new Feel at Home countries, they don't actually get included in Feel at Home until September and it doesn't say when in September either.
    – JenniP
    Aug 17 '16 at 10:17
  • Note...it can't be used in phones....
    – Paulie_D
    Aug 17 '16 at 11:33
  • From past experiance with 3 read the terms carefully to check for no-tethering rules. Aug 17 '16 at 12:29
  • @PeterGreen The website advertises it as ideal for the mifi personal hotspot, so I'd be surprised (but not completely surprised) if tethering wasn't allowed!
    – Gagravarr
    Aug 17 '16 at 12:37
  • 1
    @Paulie_D The one I picked up yesterday is (after a tiny bit extra work registering - needs the 3internet AP to do that) working just fine and happy in my phone, so I'm not sure it really is "no phones"
    – Gagravarr
    Aug 18 '16 at 21:50

TL;DR On the whole, the answer seems to largely be "No once you've registered it". Mine has worked fine for free data in the UK and in Sweden

Having got one, and had a play, the biggest problem I hit was when trying to register it. It didn't matter what I put the sim card into (Android phone, old Nokia phone, tablet etc), whenever I tried going to www.three.co.uk/freedata to register, it'd pop up an error page saying

First, make sure you're connected to our network. Then we can check that you've got a compatible SIM and get you online. Just turn off Wi-Fi in your device settings and then refresh this page.

Eventually, based on some hints on other forums and a bit of trial and error, I worked out what was going on. It seems that Three UK have two different APNs, and the sim only had the "normal" one baked into it three.co.uk . Manually adding the other one 3internet and connecting with that allowed me to get the www.three.co.uk/freedata page to load so I could register

Since then, it doesn't appear to matter which APN I connect to in terms of using the free data. It does matter for if you'll get an error about tethering (which is odd since it's officially marketed as being suitable for tethering via a USB stick or their MiFi wifi sharing device!) - needs to be on 3internet to avoid the problems.

Otherwise, the 3 Android app (normally used for seeing your remaining usage, topping up etc) doesn't seem to work, so you seem to need to do that using the normal website.

Oh, but one thing to make clear - this sim is data only. You can't use it for calls or texts. If you're after a cheap sim for calls+data, you either want to get a normal 3 UK PAYG sim (can get 120mb of data for 1-2 days for 50p, 1p/mb when in the UK, 150mb free every £5 topup), or get a free phone sim from FreedomPop which also has 200mb/month free plus cheap calls.

TODO: Things I still need to test out:

  • Does a £5 online topup get 150mb free (valid 30 days) like it does for normal PAYG 3 sims?
  • Is the "Internet Daily" add-on (50p/£0.50 for 120mb valid until about midnight the next day) available, or just the more expensive monthly ones?
  • Does tethering from a phone work when in a "feel at home" country, or do they block it?
  • Any updates since your last post?
    – David
    Dec 5 '18 at 1:14
  • @David Tethering from most Android phones seems blocked abroad, haven't tried with a mifi or similar, but thanks to EU wide roaming rules I don't use the sim nearly as much now!
    – Gagravarr
    Dec 6 '18 at 7:21

Yes, there's a gotcha: 3 UK "Feel at home" countries will only make you feel at home if you have dial-up at home (I actually remember browsing the Internet when the whole country had 64 kbit/s to abroad and I had a 14.4 kbps modem). That's maybe an exaggeration but it's very severely throttled. There are various blog posts corroborating this but I just had first hand experience with this in Italy, France, Switzerland and Ireland.


calls and texts on this data sim are ALLOWED - priced as per 3's regular payg 321 plan, just no voicemail - hello Hullomail

Just buy a 'international credit' on the full desktop My3 version not the mobile browser, instead of a £/GB add on.

This is easy to do as using 3internet as the APN as it will send you there instead of the My3 mobile site, go to My 3/account, login (and you already will be)

Mobile Broadband Price Guide - page 5 onwards states add ons & then call charges as 3p calls, 2p texts and 1p per MB http://www.three.co.uk/Three_price_guide

The free Data & add on data bundles can be used roaming in 42 Three Feel @ Home countries http://www.three.co.uk/Discover/Phones/Feel_At_Home

  • Not sure this directly answers the OP's question
    – blackbird
    Oct 7 '16 at 15:59

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