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FAQ

What payment cards do Three accept?

What is the returns policy?

You can return your device, but it must be in "as new" and "unused" condition, without any damage or marks. It must also be returned with all packaging, manuals, and accessories that came with it. 

When Three say: "Used"", this means making or receiving calls (both voice and video), or sending texts or browsing the internet from your device. If you’ve bought an Apple device, this includes removing the cellophane wrapping or registering your device to iTunes by connecting it to a computer. 

"As new" condition means that the device, packaging, manuals, and accessories that came with the device must be complete and free of any damage or marks.

What is a locked phone?

Since handsets are heavily subsidised and represent a significant portion of the value of the contract, as an industry standard they are typically locked to the network. Some phones can be unlocked and used with other networks. However, if you are in a contract this is usually considered a breach of contract. 

We recommend against doing this as the phone may not work as well without the original network settings, and you may find yourself liable for penalties according to the terms of your contract.

Do I need insurance?

Although mobile phones are often provided for free with a contract, if you have to replace your phone due to loss or damage it can cost between £150 and £500 depending on the model. If you believe you are likely to lose or damage your phone, and you cannot afford to replace it yourself, you may wish to consider insurance.

Are the prices on the website inclusive of VAT?

Yes, all prices on site except those in the business section are inclusive of VAT.

Can I cap a contract phone?

Yes, you can usually cap your phone. Once you have your new phone, you simply need to ring Three's customer services team and ask them to put a spending cap on your contract. This includes a zero spending cap, meaning that once you have used up your allowances you will be unable to make any more calls or send anymore texts. 

However, Three cannot guarantee that the spending cap will always work. For example, it may not work if you use your phone abroad or if important system maintenance is being carried out. There are also some numbers for which you will always be charged, regardless of whether you have used up your allowance. These include, and are not limited to, calls to Directory Enquiries, premium numbers, international numbers and free phone numbers that may not be free when called from a mobile.

Can I return my phone if coverage in my area is not as the Coverage Checker suggests?

Although the Coverage Checker aims to be as accurate as possible, it can only serve as a guide and not a guarantee for network service availability in a particular location. If you find that the phone does not have good coverage, then you may return the phone within 14 days of purchase as per Three's return policy.

What is Three network coverage like in my area?

In order to see whether there is good network coverage in your area, simply use our Coverage Checker. All you need to do is type in the post codes where you will be using the phone or Mobile Broadband device most to see the expected coverage on a map.

What is the delivery policy?

Details of delivery, including dates of delivery, delivery method and how to track an order can be found here.

What warranty do I get with a Refreshed/Refurbished phone and can I return it?

Three are so confident of the quality of their refurbished handsets, that they offer the same 12 month warranty on the refurbished handsets as they do on new handsets, and if you are dissatisfied with the phone then you can return it like any other customer within 14 days of purchase as per Three's return policy.

What is a Refreshed/Refurbished phone?

Refreshed and Refurbished phones are phones that have been returned to Three within 14 days of purchase. They are tested and restored to ensure that they both look and perform like new. 

Three are so confident of the quality of their refurbished handsets, that they offer the same 12 month warranty on the refurbished handsets as they do on new handsets, and if you are dissatisfied with the phone then you can return it like any other customer within 14 days of purchase as per Three's return policy.

Are Three SIM-Only Contracts compatible with BlackBerry phones?

Yes, Three SIM-Only contracts can be used with BlackBerry phones. However, in order to use the BlackBerry services - BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry Email, BlackBerry Internet and App World - you would need to purchase the "Add BlackBerry" Add-on which is charged at an additional £5/month. Add-ons can easily be purchased through your My3 account which you can register for once your new SIM has arrived.

Do BlackBerry tariffs come with BlackBerry Services?

Yes, all BlackBerry tariffs include "Add BlackBerry" which gives you access to all of the BlackBerry services: BlackBerry Messenger, BlackBerry Email, BlackBerry Internet and App World.

How much data do I need on my phone?

How much data do you need? Is 250MB enough for you, or would you be better off with the unlimited All-You-Can-Eat allowance? To give you an idea, 250MB approximately translates into:

  • 2500 Outlook/HTML Emails
  • Surf the internet for about 2 hours and 30 minutes
  • Download 1 four minute video
  • Download 8 four minute music tracks

If you're looking to use your mobile as your main way to connect to the internet and as a way of watching videos online, or if you just never want to worry about using up your allowance, then an All-You-Can-Eat tariff is the best option for you. If, however, you're a lighter user who just wants to check emails and do a bit of web-browsing, then 250MB should be plenty!

Can I use my phone to tether?

Yes, if you are on the One Plan and your phone is able to tether. Most networks do not permit customers to use their phones as tethering devices, but Three do allow tethering for customers on the One Plan. And the best thing about it? There is no extra charge!

What is All-You-Can-Eat data?

All-You-Can-Eat data was introduced by Three in order that customers could surf the internet without the fear of running up a huge bill. All-You-Can-Eat data is exactly as it sounds - you can use as much internet as you like at no extra cost. Regardless of how much internet you use, you will not be charged for your data. No unexpected bills, no hassle! 

What's more, on the One Plan, including the One Plan on SIM-Only, you can even use this data to tether. That means that you can use your phone as a modem, if it has tethering capability, to connect your laptop to the internet using WiFi or a USB cable! And all this at no extra cost! Tethering is not, however, permitted on any other All-You-Can-Eat tariffs.

What are the out-of-tariff charges?

Details of all out-of-tariff charges for contract plans, Pay-as-You-Go, mobile broadband and business can be found in our Price Guide.

What are Three's roaming charges?

Details of all roaming charges can be found in our Price Guide.

Can I use my phone abroad?

There are usually two restrictions on using your phone abroad - one phone specific and one network specific. If your phone is quad-band that means you can use it anywhere in the world (almost!), if your phone is Tri-band then you can use it within Europe. We list whether each phone is quad-band or tri-band in its individual specifications list. 

As the allowances with your contract are usually only applicable within the UK, Three will usually charge roaming rates when you call to or from abroad. Details of roaming charges, including data charges, can be found in our Price Guide. You can check to see if your phone is enabled to roam by logging into your My3 account, which you can register for once you have a Three device. If you would like to turn off international roaming, you can also do this through your My3 account.

Can I read and send emails on my phone?

With most modern phones, the answer is usually yes. Many new mobile phones now come with a push email facility - this means emails are sent to your phone automatically. All you need to do is enter your email account settings (usually IMAP or POP3 settings) and then you can read and send emails as if you were on a PC. Check with your email provider for more details.

Most webmail services such as Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail are also usually compatible, and those which aren't are usually accessible through mobile internet in any case. When purchasing a handset it will usually be clear as to whether you will be able to use the internet, and therefore webmail.

How good is the Internet on mobile phones?

Long gone are the days when Internet browsing on phones was a slow and painful experience. The latest in 3G technology means that browsing is much slicker and faster than ever before. Not only are all Three phones 3G, but Three has the largest 3G network in the UK, providing great access to the internet throughout the country! 

Network infrastructure and handset technology has also improved greatly over the last few years making mobile browsing a pleasurable experience, plus the amount of websites with a dedicated mobile version designed for viewing on a small screen is growing by the day. 

Our recommendation is to get phone with a high resolution and a large screen (a 3-inch screen is usually more than adequate, but as a general rule the larger the screen the better the experience).

What is 3G?

3G is the third generation of mobile phone standards and technology. In essence it allows a network provider to offer better network services, including support for video calls and high-speed web browsing. 3G also allows networks to supply a greater number of customers at a lower incremental cost than 2G networks. 

More recently, the introduction of 3.5G networks (also known as HSDPA) means that 3 can offer data speeds even faster than standard 3G, and up to the speeds of mobile broadband.

Which handset?

Handsets are increasingly regarded as fashion statements, and whilst your choice may be driven by look or feel, don't forget the importance of reliability and ease of use. Fashion moves quickly of course, so we won't presume to offer fashion advice! 

Mobile phones are increasingly packed with features, particularly apps, cameras and music players. However, even the very best mobiles in these categories are unlikely to be as good as their dedicated digital camera and music player counterparts. The question you should ask yourself is whether or not the added convenience of one feature-rich device is worth the potential drop in audio or visual quality. 

Although most people get their handset free, this doesn't mean that all handsets cost the same. The more expensive and (usually) best handsets are often only free with more costly tariffs. One way around this is to choose a refurbished phone. These have been returned to Three within 14 days of purchase and have been tested to ensure that they both look and perform like new. Three are so confident of the quality of their refurbished phones that they offer the same 12 month warranty as a new phone and allow you, like any Three customer, to return it within 14 days of purchase if dissatisfied. To see all of the refurbished deals on offer, including the fantastic iPhone 4S take a look at our Clearance Phones page.

How do contract minutes and texts work?

Most contracts with Three come with a specified allowance of any-network anytime minutes, a number of texts and a certain amount of internet data; these are free as part of the contract. If you exceed your allowances, there is typically an additional charge for the extra usage which will be applied to your monthly bill. Details of these extra charges can be found in our Price Guide

Allowances reset at the beginning of each month, so minutes and texts cannot usually be carried over from month to month. However, any extra usage outside of your allowance from the previous month will not be deducted from the next month, so you don't need to worry about restricting yourself if you need to use a bit more one month. 

Three offer three different kinds of tariff: Essential Internet, Ultimate Internet and the One Plan. All Essential Internet tariffs come with 5000 texts, a certain number of anytime, any network minutes and 250MB data. All Ultimate Internet tariffs come with 5000 texts, a certain number of anytime, any network minutes and All-You-Can-Eat data. Three's All-You-Can-Eat data allowance lets you use as much internet as you like at no extra cost - no surprises in your bill and no hassle. 

The One Plan is the innovative plan from Three that gives you more than enough of everything so that you don't ever have to worry about running up a huge bill! The One Plan comes with 2000 anytime, any network minutes, 5000 texts, 5000 Three-to-Three minutes (calls to another Three mobile) and All-You-Can-Eat data. On The One Plan, and only on The One Plan, this also includes tethering - you can use your phone (if it is capable of doing so) as a modem to connect your laptop to the internet at no extra cost! 

Occasionally tariffs also come with bonuses like free landline calls, unlimited texts, or additional data roaming. These are worth looking out for if they have what you want, because they add a lot of value to the contract.

Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) versus Contract?

What's best for you really depends on how much you use your mobile phone. Traditionally, infrequent users have been recommended to get PAYG. However, given that Three offer some of the lowest contract prices available, even light users might find that a contract deal offers them better value for money. Pay Monthly contracts are now available at very cheap prices, allowing you to take out a contract with plenty of minutes and texts plus a free mobile phone, which on PAYG you would have had to purchase separately. 

Contracts with Three last 1, 12 or 24 months depending on what kind of contract you're looking for. Currently, all phone contracts are only available on 24 month contracts, but SIM-Only contracts are available on a one month rolling basis and 12 month contracts. 

Contract phones always involve a credit check. If your credit score is marginal you may be asked to pay a deposit. Provided you're sure you'll be able to keep up the monthly payments, paying a deposit is worthwhile since you'll both get the benefits of a contract phone and improve your credit score all at the same time. 

If you're under 18 you won't be able to buy a contract phone in your own name, so PAYG is your only option unless a parent is happy to buy a contract phone on your behalf. 

PAYG is also ideal for the user who only uses the phone in extreme circumstances (e.g. for emergencies) or for someone who doesn't want to enter into a contract (e.g. may be in the country for a short period). Three offer PAYG customers the choice of converting their top-up into add-ons. So instead of being charged for individual calls and texts, you can turn your £10 top-up, for example, into 100 minutes, 3000 texts and 500MB of internet data. For details of available add-ons, check out the Price Guide

Can I keep my phone number if I change network?

Yes, usually. Ofcom regulations require all providers to provide number portability to subscribers who request it. 

If you are changing mobile phone network then you will need two things: a PAC code (Porting Authorisation Code) from your old network - which you can usually get by calling their customer service team - and your new phone or SIM card. 

All you need to do when you have both your new phone and the PAC code is call Three's customer services team within 30 days of issue. They will take your details and sort out the transfer process for you. The whole process shouldn't take more than a couple of days (in the meantime you can use the temporary number assigned to your new SIM) and you'll be ready to go in no time! 

Note that if you are on a fixed term contract and you transfer network or cancel your contract before it ends, then you may be liable for further costs as laid out in your existing agreement. Make sure you check so you can avoid any unexpected costs!

Why are mobile phones free?

Mobile phones can be quite expensive, with some top-end smartphone handsets running over £500 each if you were to buy them on their own. However, when you take out certain contracts with Three the handset is provided free! 

The reason that phones can be given to you for free is because the network subsidises them - absorbing part of the cost, and spreading the rest across the lifetime of the contract. On other contracts, the subsidy may not cover the entire cost of the phone, which is why some contracts also have an up-front cost. 

The fact that Three subsidise their handsets allows you to get a decent phone for very little or even nothing when you take out your contract!