Sunday, June 5, 2011

Three UK Pay As You Go: All You Can Eat review

I have been in possession of a Pay as you Go sim card loaded with All You Can Eat (AYCE) data plan from Three UK for a number of weeks now, and have been testing it in a HSDPA-enabled Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play and Motorola Milestone 2.

AYCE on PAYG is available as two add-ons: All in One 15 and All in One 25. All in One 15 will cost £15 and comes with 30-day access to unlimited data, 300 any network minutes and 3000 texts. On the other hand All in One 25 will offer 500 any network minutes, 3000 texts as well as 30-day access to unlimited data for £25. I should add that tethering is not supported with either All in One plan. Tethering is only available with Three's The One Plan on both 12 month and rolling contract.

There were fears that Three's network would not be able to cope with the increase in bandwidth demands. But Three UK's Sales and Marketing Director, Marc Allera, has stressed during the launch of the add-ons that unlike other networks, Three's was built for data - which was why they can introduce deals like this.

Despite weeks of downloading new apps and games, steaming YouTube videos and making Skype phone calls, I've not hit an artificial limit. Speed remained unthrottled whenever possible in areas and times when the cell towers weren't congested. Even in London, where my T-Mobile sim card struggles to even reach 2G-level speed, my Three sim card was able to handle the demand easily.

I did random speed test on the network at different places and days, and found that for most of the time, 3Mbps download speed was normal with upload speed around 1Mbps. I once watched a 2.5 hour video on YouTube in HQ, encountering no issues or even the dreaded buffering screen during the entire screening.

Three UK, a network well known for disrupting the UK mobile network industry, has done it again. While not exactly the only network to offer a truly unlimited data plan on PAYG (GiffGaff offers unlimited web when you top up £10), Three UK has demonstrated that they have the necessary network infrastructure to deliver true unlimited internet with the speed that one should expect to properly make use of it.

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