Second only to Orange in our speed tables 3 mobile broadband delivers a healthy average speed of 1.7Mbs which is more than enough for most broadband users. Whilst this may still be someway short of the advertised top speed no home broadband or mobile broadband service consistently delivers close to the maximum quoted speed. 3 fairs less well on upload speed (the speed data is transmitted back across the internet) with an average of 0.34 (upload speeds are always much less than download speeds) and whilst this shouldn’t present problems for most types of internet use it could be problematic for online gaming. With download speeds being more important for most 3 scores a respectable 4 out of 5 for speed.
Whilst they may offer decent speeds, cheap prices, good data allowances and improved coverage, customer and technical support still seem to be the biggest issue for 3’s customers. Whilst many people tend only to write a review about customer service after a bad experience 3 does consistently under perform in this area compared to its competitors hence our score of a lowly 2 out of 5.
Reliability and Coverage
Of all the mobile broadband providers 3 had the most teething problems with coverage and was the cause for many complaints. However 3 have invested heavily in this area resulting in much improved reliability and coverage. However some customers, particular those in more rural areas or outside of cities and major towns do still experience issues with coverage. With plans to keep improving their network 3 is now approaching a level playing field with its competitors when it comes to coverage and reliability scoring a mid table 3 out of 5.
Choice of plans and value
With an aggressive pricing policy 3 have some of the best value mobile broadband deals and free laptop offers. With a wide range plans for all types of usage from 1GB per month for most medium broadband users (1GB is enough for emailing, browsing the web, downloading music etc) through to a 15GB package for those that need a heavy usage plan for activities such as downloading or watching movies online.
3 can’t be faulted for price and range of choice, speeds are decent without being exceptional and coverage and reliability are average but on the up however this provider has the lowest score for customer service. If you are in a major town or city 3 is likely to perform as well or better than most other providers for a lower cost. If customer service and technical support are important you’ll be happier elsewhere. If you do have problems with 3 they do offer a 14 day money back guarantee. Like all providers installation and set up is pretty straight forward.