Poll: How much mobile data do you use a month?#Ramble: Is @ThreeUK the best for truly unlimited mobile data in the UK?

| August 15, 2013 | 23 Replies


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This topic was sparked by my current data bill on Orange UK. Just data not even the monthly plan. £20. How much mobile data do you use?

This means data coming from your carrier/network through your phone to be used either by your phone or through tethering.

If you want, you can add what network you’re on.

[polldaddy poll=7323388]

How much data?

Now that’s for going over and for overseas bundles that never actually worked properly so I had to latch onto WiFi from restaurants/airports/peeps tethering.

I have 1GB data. This month I went to 1.8GB apparently. In the grand scheme of data usage, that’s not a lot for a month. That’s barely three shows on BBC iPlayer. It would be significantly higher if it weren’t for the fact that I’ve got WiFi at home/uni and most of the internet use is done that way.

Internet life support

It’s amazing to consider how much of my life has shifted towards utter dependence on the internet. Not just blogging and wasting time on places like Reddit, Netflix and Spotify, but my university learning too (online lectures, forms to submit, time tables to obtain etc) and connecting with friends/family (facebook/emails/skype).

I only ever notice that when I’m at home and the internet goes down. The immediate thought is ‘what now!?!?!’ followed by exasperated clicking at bookmarks to pass the time until the internet returns, stupidly not accepting that they need the damn internet to work.

“The internet’s not working. I know I’ll check reddit….Noooo!!!”

Thankfully, that pain is short lived because I can whip out my phone and get ’emergency WiFi’. I dread to recall what I would have done without tethering, such as the perfectly timed downtimes right before online essay submission. I don’t think I could last a day totally devoid of an internet connection. When I was in NYC for the #ZoomReinvented event, I had the opposite case where due to the fears of overseas roaming prices, I disconnected all mobile data. Fortunately, we spent most of the time either at the event location (where WiFi was actually decent) or the hotel. Actually, one evening the WiFi at the hotel died. No mobile data, no nothing. I think I just went to bed.

The fuel and life of a smartphone is pretty much the battery and Internet connection. There’s not really much you can do without either on a modern smartphone. Take pictures, listed to onboard tracks (oh yeah, call and text, haha) and maybe play games. Everything else requires to get data of some sort. Emails, weather, social networks, online chat, getting apps, and so forth. Maps (Here) is advertised as working offline but I find it works best online, particularly when triangulating off cell towers to get faster GPS lock in moving vehicles.

Ideally, we’d have phones with superior battery lives and always on, unlimited internet connections. Until then, we can look at things like Data Sense to monitor data usage or make sure we choose the best options when getting a network service. I’m only really versed in the UK but from my findings on twitter and chatting to peeps, the best option for Data is ThreeUK. This isn’t some sponsored/paid mention, I’m going by the praises I hear with my ears or read with my eyes on twitter.

EE likes to boast on their adverts about being the ‘fastest overall network’ but they’re still capped at 1GB.

Three UK and other options

Three seems pretty fast.
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And also, I’m not sure they have or enforce a ‘fair usage’ policy (T-Mobile UK used to have unlimited data but with 1gb fair use).

Now when I wrote the poll originally, I was amazed to hear stories from peeps saying they know folks who have used 20-30GB on mobile data.

I was floored to read this tweet. 114GB. I think I read in the fine print that our BT-Infinity ‘fair usage’ unlimited cap is somewhere around the low hundred GB mark.

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You might as well NOT pay to have WiFi at home and just use Mobile internet all the time. Of course, that isn’t completely practical if there’s multiple household members that become devoid of precious internet when you leave the house and such, but perhaps those living on their own, it’s perfect.

From Monday onwards I’m going to be in a new placement location in BlackBurn hospital. From the horror stories I’ve heard from other students that have been there, there isn’t any WiFi at the rooms, there’s no WiFi in the library, and the library computers have blocked facebook. I’ve heard mixed information so I’m hoping it’s some of the better rumours (of at least some slow WiFi). If I didn’t trap myself on a 24 month contract with orange (in order to get my 920) I’d be on Three straight away. I didn’t think I’d be away from WiFi that much so 1GB was potentially enough but I guess situations change. I still might go on Three, depending on the internet situation and quite importantly, if there is decent coverage/signal. There’s no point getting unlimited all you can eat data if I can’t connect. So we shall wait and see. [Another lesson to learn of course is being stuck on a plan. Sometimes depending on your calculated usage, the ownership cost of a plan with a subsidized phone works better than a sim free version but not always so it’s worth firing up the calculator and totting up some sums]

Other options include O2 and Vodafone. Neither aren’t viable either. I’ve met folks who WORK at O2/Vodafone who use Three SIM for data. Haha. Apologies for sounding like an Evangelist for Three, but I thought I had to share something which I thought sounded amazing and I’m surprised to hear more people aren’t on it.

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Three UK one plan. They also have pay as you go unlimited internet but that ‘doesn’t’ include tethering. There’s also cheaper sim only plans with unlimited data ‘without’ tethering. It’s nice to see 12 month and monthly plans in place. I recall CJ using T-Mobile US’s $70 unlimited data SIM for one month. Relatively cheap considering. But this of course beats the pants off it (though it is in a different country).

Not everyone uses excessive amounts of data on their phones, so I guess, 1GB cap would be more than enough for those folks. But it seems for those in the UK who are always munching away at the GB, Three is the best option.



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Hey, thanks for reading my post. My name is Jay and I'm a medical student at the University of Manchester. When I can, I blog here at and tweet now and again @jaymontano. We also have a twitter and facebook accounts @mynokiablog and Check out the tips, guides and rules for commenting >>click<< Contact us at tips(@) or email me directly on jay[at]