Tuesday, March 28, 2017

4G Bulk Mobile Data Plans in the UK

Subtitle: Marcus and the Internet Paranoia

In 2017
There is an alternative to relatively slow copper line based DSL that is all that many non city dwellers of England can take advantage of, or can they ?

Most mobile phone operators in the UK are broadcasting using 4G i.e. LTE normally CAT3 which you can see could give upto 100Mbps down and 50 Mbps up

So we made a quick survey of UK internet providers who provide Data only Plans

Not Phone Plans
Don't confuse Data Plans with Mobile phone plans with data. The latter will certainly give you data to your Mobile. But almost without exception Mobile carriers will not let you use these mobile plans to enable a Data Hotspot.

In fact let's start with 3 UK. They used to allow Hotspot Data Tethering from a mobile phone, but as of 2017 (radical change in terms of conditions) its available in capped form only to subscription customers ....

Three 3 UK Data Only Plan


1 month rolling contract
23 GBP/month

All SIM plans  (20 GB per month is the maximum)

Dongle Plans  (20 GB per month maximum)

3 unlimited phone plans

Three used to do PAYG (Pay As You Go) phone plans with unlimited tethering.  This is now cancelled

As of 2107 all PAYG plans can have All-you-Can-Eat internet but no tethering.  Just to be clear: NO tethering at all

Note Unlimited Internet might not actually be unlimited.  Quote: If your plan includes an All-you-can-eat allowance, there are no hidden “fair use policies” within the UK – we just ask that you use these for your personal use only and not for any illegal, commercial or improper purposes. Some limits do apply in our Feel At Home destinations – see three.co.uk/feelathome to find out more.

For Subscription Phone Plans only
Only 30GB can be used as a Hotspot/ Tethering

To repeat:  In March 2017 Three allow you to tether from your Mobile phone at upto 30GB per month, but only if you have a contract, not pay as you go.

Still this is stll their best deal since the Data Only Sim is 23 GBP for 20GB monthly and the Phone plan is about 25 GBP monthly for 30 GB

(Jersey and Channel Islands only)

12/24 month contract

17 GBP/month
+100GB top-up  15GBP

Absolutely the best UK package but only available in Jersey!!

Vodafone UK

Data Only SIM
50GB per month, 
Monthly rolling contract
However note:  UK data charge if you've used up your allowance  £6.50 for 250MB
Includes 2GB roaming in Europe

EE 4G Home Broadband

EE double speed is upto 100 Mbps down
Some SIMS are single speed only and limited to 50 Mbps down

75 GBP/ month
includes huawei E5180s router
12 Month contract
can take SIM out and put into your own router
EE is a merge of old Orange and GiffGaff

Uses EE network

Virgin Data Only SIM
20 GBP/Month
30 day rolling contract
10GB/ Month Data Only
Plan can be changed between 2GB / 5GB/10GB every month

No PAYG SIM with large data or ability to have the 2 GBP unlimited data

Times are changing fast.  With luck in 12 months i.e. by the end of 2017 Mobile networks will have 100GB/month or even unlimited data plans based on 4G

But not today. 

 The biggest I could find was 100GB/month from EE . This comes in at about 80 GBP/month so lets call it 1K GBP per year. For Marcus and Agata even ignoring the mediocre speed compared to Swiss Fibre, we use over 1TB per month, so to us this would not be a solution, just a band-aid

For less demanding users however if you can live with 100 GB per month then EE 4G Home Broadband is the best that you can do.

Broadband choices
UK Tethering
Throttle Management UK Mobile Broadband
UK Christmas 2016 broadband deals