Three Feel Like Home - Guide to PAYG Data Usage (1 Viewer)

Addie

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It's great news that Three have added Spain as a 'Feel at Home' country from 1st April 2015 - I suspect this will be very popular with funsters this year.

However, we've been getting quite a few e-mails in the last few weeks from people who are a bit confused on how to setup and use their Three SIM cards or customers struggling to add credit from abroad. So I've tried a new approach with the usual war and peace blog post - but this time I've also included a video!

First attempt at such a video and learned quite a lot while doing it - will have to remember to put the MiFi in the next room next time to avoid interference. Let me know what you think.

We make very little on SIM cards and often people come to us for support for SIM cards they haven't purchased from us (we don't usually ask) and so I thought it was time we tried to clarify a few things specific to the Pay-As-You-Go SIM's since Three's own support has been a bit hit and miss.

So here is the full blog post and video:
http://www.motorhomewifi.com/blog/three-mobile-broadband-payg-sim-abroad/

As always, hope this is of use.

Adam
 

ebo

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Excellent, very helpful thank you. Video very informative.
 

DBK

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Thanks, will look at it later but I bought a payg 3 sim recently to check the coverage where I live as my O2 contract is expiring. Unfortunately reception at home very poor but I did try it it in a mifi on a campsite. After a couple of days a screen from 3 appeared telling me to put the sim in my phone! Apparently the sim was for mobile phones only and not tethering for which I needed a different sim. I wasn't impressed by 3, their mobile data sims might be cheaper for data and they can advise me of that but to prevent the payg sim working? It's my money I am wasting. Of course they have pocketed about £9 of unused credit which will expire in a couple of weeks if I don't use it - which I can't even if I wanted to.

But the experience does show 3 know if you are tethering, which I understand they don't allow even if you have the correct sim in Spain.

And don't trust 3's coverage maps. I should get good coverage where I live both indoors and out according to their map. I can just about get a signal for voice calls but no internet connection if I stand at the front gate!

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Addie

Addie

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Apparently the sim was for mobile phones only and not tethering for which I needed a different sim. I wasn't impressed by 3, their mobile data sims might be cheaper for data and they can advise me of that but to prevent the payg sim working? It's my money I am wasting. Of course they have pocketed about £9 of unused credit which will expire in a couple of weeks if I don't use it - which I can't even if I wanted to.

That's pretty standard across the board for all providers - if you want to use Mobile Broadband then you need a Mobile Broadband SIM card designed for that function because the phone packages are structured differently and often tethering is an add-on. More info here: http://tinyurl.com/3hotspot

I wouldn't choose a SIM for my MiFi based on coverage at home. That being said it makes good sense to carry a couple of PAYG SIM's for the UK (eg EE and Three) and if you arrive at a location its easy to swap between them and activate a package for that day. I've got a stack of old T-Mobile (EE) SIM's that offer data at £2/day for unlimited web browsing (limited streaming) and that have a 3 day option for £4. If anyone wants one FOC just come and find us at a show.
 

DBK

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That's pretty standard across the board for all providers - if you want to use Mobile Broadband then you need a Mobile Broadband SIM card designed for that function because the phone packages are structured differently and often tethering is an add-on. More info here: http://tinyurl.com/3hotspot

I wouldn't choose a SIM for my MiFi based on coverage at home. That being said it makes good sense to carry a couple of PAYG SIM's for the UK (eg EE and Three) and if you arrive at a location its easy to swap between them and activate a package for that day. I've got a stack of old T-Mobile (EE) SIM's that offer data at £2/day for unlimited web browsing (limited streaming) and that have a 3 day option for £4. If anyone wants one FOC just come and find us at a show.
Thanks for that. I will probably go with an O2 sim only for the phone and get a 3 mobile data sim for the mifi. They last 3 months I believe but cost an initial £20 which was why I didn't buy one for my recent little trial. However, not being able to tether the 3 sim in Spain is a major restriction for me so I will have to ensure I can use the O2 sim there. My current one does, as an add on but it may not for a sim only contract. I've learnt to read the fine print!

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Addie

Addie

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However, not being able to tether the 3 sim in Spain is a major restriction for me so I will have to ensure I can use the O2 sim there. My current one does, as an add on but it may not for a sim only contract. I've learnt to read the fine print!

If you get a Mobile Broadband SIM for the MiFi then the 'no tethering' rule does not apply. If it did - we'd not be endorsing the Three SIM for use in Spain as we are (from 1st April). This is just for mobile phone SIM's.

You can use the O2 SIM tethered in a phone in Spain for a charge of £1.99 day for unlimited data (100MB, then slows) on Contract or £1.99 for 50MB on PAYG. That makes Three far, far cheaper.
 

DBK

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If you get a Mobile Broadband SIM for the MiFi then the 'no tethering' rule does not apply. If it did - we'd not be endorsing the Three SIM for use in Spain as we are (from 1st April). This is just for mobile phone SIM's.

You can use the O2 SIM tethered in a phone in Spain for a charge of £1.99 day for unlimited data (100MB, then slows) on Contract or £1.99 for 50MB on PAYG. That makes Three far, far cheaper.
Ah, thank you. I had heard the 3 feel at home didn't allow tethering in Spain though it does everywhere else. If reception where I live was better it would be all I need. Perhaps when/if 3 join with O2 all will be sorted.
 
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Addie

Addie

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Ah, thank you. I had heard the 3 feel at home didn't allow tethering in Spain though it does everywhere else. If reception where I live was better it would be all I need. Perhaps when/if 3 join with O2 all will be sorted.

Three do not allow tethering to a mobile phone when abroad in any country - officially - although some have reported a work around. It's not something I'd want to attempt on a contract.

Full T&C's here: http://motorhomewifi.com/img/three.png
 
Jan 31, 2013
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That was very good thanks. Just one thing, if I have a registered debit/credit card on my 3 PAYG sim does the restriction of not being able to top up abroad still apply?
 
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Addie

Addie

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That was very good thanks. Just one thing, if I have a registered debit/credit card on my 3 PAYG sim does the restriction of not being able to top up abroad still apply?

You should be able to top up with a pre-registered card - but because it is the payment gateway that doesn't work outside of the UK it might not accept your validation.

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callumwa

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Three do not allow tethering to a mobile phone when abroad in any country - officially - although some have reported a work around. It's not something I'd want to attempt on a contract.

Full T&C's here: http://motorhomewifi.com/img/three.png


You can Addie, it works and it is simple. It does not breach the contract in any way.

I have done it on my 3 contract without any problems since "Feel at Home" started. I travel for my job and I use it all the time.

If you try to tether a laptop or PC it will immediately disconnect your phone from the net. The phone net connection can be re-instated by simply rebooting.

Tethering your i Pad or larger tablet screen makes life much easier on the yes, especially if your eyes are telling you they are getting old.

However the tethering you can do is limited to devices such as an iPad, an Android tablet or other smartphone device, but if you open Safari or Chrome browsers to "surf" it will disconnect you. This though can be got around by using a particular very popular mainstream app which opens it's own browser. No disconnection then.

It does works and it is very simple and easy to do. :Smile:
 
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Addie

Addie

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You can Addie, it works and it is simple. It does not breach the contract in any way.This though can be got around by using a particular very popular mainstream app which opens it's own browser.

As I say, the official line by Three is tethering is not permitted while abroad and while there are "work arounds" I hope you appriciate that it would be foolish of me to promote those in my position in case it comes back to bite me on the bum!

Why don't you post the name of the "particular very popular mainstream app" for the benefit of other funsters if it does not breach the contract? Of course I'd have to emphasise Caveat emptor.

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Judge Mental

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Had long chat with three a few weeks back. They said while tethering fine in UK if on contract, not when roaming, this down to the attitude of their partners in those countries and not Three...make of that what you will.
 
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You should be able to top up with a pre-registered card - but because it is the payment gateway that doesn't work outside of the UK it might not accept your validation.
It doesn't even work within the UK if you have a card that requires a 'Verified by Visa' or similar authentication & you have already run out of either time or data.

In those circumstances you can only connect to Three's own servers. It seems ok at first - the payment system works absolutely fine up to the point at which payment gateway tries to connect outside Three's server to get the authorisation. That fails, so the payment is refused. You then have to ring them so they can take the credit manually from the same card.

If you just want the one day/500Mb £2.99 deal, they won't be making much money on it by the time you have extracted the Vat, the credit card charges & several minutes worth of staff telephone time.
 

andeb

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We were experiencing problems "topping up" with 3 usiing our pre registered debit card (this is our emergency means of contact if all else fails), when we arrived in Morocco a couple of weeks ago. We made contact with 3 via Skype and got them to manually "top up" our account, a call which took in excess of 20mins (glad we weren't paying mobile call charges). This worked perfectly well, despite the pain of having to sit in a call queue.

As a result of this thread we tried to top up our 3 PAYG account last night using a UK Proxy log in that we have. It was successful. A UK Proxy log in maybe the route to take.

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John & Joan

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Thanks for the info Addie. We are with Vodafone on contract (2 x phones (non data type) and a data only SIM card in a MiFi) and were considering transferring to 3 to be able to use our UK data while in Spain.
At present we use a Carrefour data solo PAYG card in the MiFi which give 100Mb a day for 1 Euro at 3G speed then it drops to 128bits while in Spain. This is on the Orange Network and works fine for us. We spend 6 months in Spain so we are losing 3Gb a month on our Vodafone data only contract. The phones work fine here but its £3 every day we use it, with data from our contract allowance in the UK.

These deals all seem only to apply to phones with data (Smart Phones) and exclude data only SIMs. Vodafone told us we could get access a £3 per day on our data only card, then charged us £8 per megabit. Good job I didn't go mad and kept a check on the bill. When I complained it took quite a while to get through to the person on the other end, that I was using a data only card and they kept on repeating the sales spiel about we could use our UK data on our phone when abroad for £3 per day. Looks like 3 are using the same spiel.
 
Oct 7, 2013
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Our biggest problem is with the "at home" charging rate.

As you cannot use it abroad for more than one continuous month, even in an "at home" Country, without it reverting to normal charges, it is of little use for extended travel. You are required to use it from your own country once a month.

As we travel for three months at a time we revert to normal roaming charges. We got caught out by this last year and incurred higher roaming charges than we expected.

Also we find 3 coverage in France very variable.

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callumwa

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Our biggest problem is with the "at home" charging rate.

As you cannot use it abroad for more than one continuous month, even in an "at home" Country, without it reverting to normal charges, it is of little use for extended travel. You are required to use it from your own country once a month.

As we travel for three months at a time we revert to normal roaming charges. We got caught out by this last year and incurred higher roaming charges than we expected.

Also we find 3 coverage in France very variable.


I work away for up to 3 months at a time all over Europe without returning to UK. I have never had a problem, or been charged extra outside the "Feel at Home" package.
  • Feel At Home is intended for our UK customers who are visiting one of the destinations for short trips, like holidays or business trips. If you only use your plan in a Feel At Home destination for a complete month, and this happens three times within a year, we may have to suspend international roaming on your account, which would mean you wouldn't be able to use your phone or device abroad anymore. We’d let you know if this were likely to happen. If you spend a full month abroad but some of that time is spent in a destination that isn’t included in Feel At Home, the restriction won’t apply.

As for 3 coverage in France, the phone is roaming as 3 do not have a network but use "partners".

I find the phone/mifi usually tries to "lock on" first to one of the networks which 3 have partner deals with. Sometimes this results in a weak or poor signal. If that is the case I just do a manual network search, and choose another available network which I find normally improves the signal.

Not all french networks are available but I have always found a usable signal by switching networks.
 

John & Joan

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Thanks for the info. The EU gave a date when roaming charges had to end. It looks like the phone companies are working out ways of getting around the restriction.
 

Judge Mental

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Our biggest problem is with the "at home" charging rate.

As you cannot use it abroad for more than one continuous month, even in an "at home" Country, without it reverting to normal charges, it is of little use for extended travel. You are required to use it from your own country once a month.

As we travel for three months at a time we revert to normal roaming charges. We got caught out by this last year and incurred higher roaming charges than we expected.

Also we find 3 coverage in France very variable.

Are you sure on that? First I have heard of it :( bit of a contradiction from their advertising.....

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Addie

Addie

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Our biggest problem is with the "at home" charging rate.

As you cannot use it abroad for more than one continuous month, even in an "at home" Country, without it reverting to normal charges, it is of little use for extended travel. You are required to use it from your own country once a month.

As we travel for three months at a time we revert to normal roaming charges. We got caught out by this last year and incurred higher roaming charges than we expected.

Also we find 3 coverage in France very variable.

Some misinformation there I'm afraid.

There is no requirement to use the Three SIM in your own country once per month - there are companies that sell these Three SIM cards to foreign customers for European use and the SIM never sees the UK network at all. Indeed we have a handful of customers just the same - one who has been using it in France since September!

There was a terms and conditions clause earlier last year which stated 60 days was the maximum which has been relaxed now to 3 months - however if at any time the SIM is registered on either a UK nor non 'Feel at Home' network (eg Germany) then that month does not count as one of the three.

Either way - if you are using a Pay As You Go SIM - simply carry a spare if you are long term touring and not able to meet that condition.

With regards to coverage in France, do remember that with Three in France you can use either the Orange or Free Mobile networks. So if you find automatic coverage poor, turn on manual network selection and you can connect to any of those two networks. The full list of roaming partners for Europe is in my blog post.

Thanks for the info. The EU gave a date when roaming charges had to end. It looks like the phone companies are working out ways of getting around the restriction.

Actually - nothing has been passed. The European Parliament proposed a date of 15th December however the European Parliament (a bit like our house of Lords) who need to approve the bill in order to pass it into law said back in December that they needed more time to decide. They don't reconvene for another 5 months.

More info on that here: http://www.motorhomewifi.com/blog/eu-roaming-roadblock-to-2015-end-to-roaming-charges/
 
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Addie

Addie

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Here is a full list of roaming partners for Three.

roaming-compact3.png
 

Judge Mental

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Thanks for the clarification Addie well done! :)

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Thanks for the info.

The information I posted was given to me by 3 last July when we queried a much larger data bill than usual. We were told that as we had been out of UK for over one month continuously we could not qualify for "at home" rates. Perhaps we came up against a "customer services rep" w ho couldn't be bothered.

Anyway, thanks for the correction.
 
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Addie

Addie

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Thanks for the info.

The information I posted was given to me by 3 last July when we queried a much larger data bill than usual. We were told that as we had been out of UK for over one month continuously we could not qualify for "at home" rates. Perhaps we came up against a "customer services rep" w ho couldn't be bothered.

Anyway, thanks for the correction.

Prior to 1st July last year means that 'Feel At Home' was only valid in Australia, Italy, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, Hong Kong and the Republic of Ireland. If you was outside of these countries then either standard EU roaming charges or a £5 daily charge (called Euro Traveler - valid only on a phone) would apply.

France France, Switzerland, Israel, Finland and Norway were added on 1st July 2014.

If its any help, I've never had the same answer twice from any of the mobile companies - especially on the subject of roaming charges! I'd rather read the small print as the letter of the law and then take personal experience to back that up.
 

loujohn

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Thanks for that. I will probably go with an O2 sim only for the phone and get a 3 mobile data sim for the mifi. They last 3 months I believe but cost an initial £20 which was why I didn't buy one for my recent little trial. However, not being able to tether the 3 sim in Spain is a major restriction for me so I will have to ensure I can use the O2 sim there. My current one does, as an add on but it may not for a sim only contract. I've learnt to read the fine print!

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