iPhone 4 on "3" in UK - Any good?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by craig1410, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. craig1410 macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #1
    Hi,
    I'm sure this has been asked before but searching for "3" isn't easy on the forum so apologies.

    I'm with O2 currently and my iPhone 3G 18mth contract is finished. I transferred to the £20pm simplicity 1 month rolling contract a few months ago. I'm now looking to but an iPhone 4 16GB and it seems clear that the deal with 3 mobile is the best value. (£99 + £30pm for 500 min, 5000 txt, 5000 3to3mins and 1GB data)

    However, poor customer service issues aside (I'm aware of 3's reputation for this), can anyone tell me from first hand experience how 3 compares to O2 in terms of real-world coverage and perhaps just as importantly performance whilst within coverage? O2 is pretty good generally (although not at my home...) and performance is good when in a 3G covered location but I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who was on O2 and is now on 3.

    Thanks,
    Craig.
     
  2. davidhawkins123 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Location:
    England
  3. robotica macrumors 6502a

    robotica

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #3
    I switched to 3 and I find them not as good as 02,

    check out tesco, for 235ish ( cant remember ) and £35 a month for 12 month contract.

    they run off 02 .. seems best deal.
     
  4. androiphone macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    #4
    well I am on 3 mobile and have never had any problem with coverage and I've been to several places across the country, and 3G speed has been better than when I was on ASDA mobile (vodafone 3G signal)

    as for the customer service I have only ever phoned them once when I transferred my number to them and they were 100% fine. all account details can be managed on my3 in their website so that's easy enough.
     
  5. craig1410 thread starter macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #5
    I didn't have a clue what you were talking about to begin with until I did a quick google. A bit too "out there" for me I think at the moment. I'd prefer to walk a well trodden path for something as important to me as my phone. Thanks anyway, I shall watch giffgaff with interest.

    Ironically that's what I've been telling other people - that Tesco is the best deal! :) It's always easier to give advice than take it eh??? Problem is that stock is hard to come by from what I've heard and there is still the issue of a lack of O2 reception at my own house. Also, my wife and two of my kids are on 3 so we can make use of the 3 to 3 minutes.

    What did you find that you didn't like with 3? Was it the network itself or was it more the customer service side of things? If it was the network, what sort of problem did you experience?

    Glad to hear you have had good service from 3. The scores are tied at 1 - 1 at the moment... ;) As for customer service, I am the owner of the two accounts for my two daughters and I have had some issues. Just the usual stuff - overseas call centres with staff who are difficult to communicate with and too much waiting around in call queues and getting transferred around. I also had a Nokia which failed in service (twice) and they refused to repair it due to water damage the second time even though it had nothing to do with water damage and was a design fault. It was exactly the same fault which they repaired the first time in fact! In the end I bought a new LCD for the phone myself and fixed it in 20 minutes but 3 still wouldn't admit they were in the wrong. Of course it might have been Nokia who were the problem on that occasion as it was a Nokia repair centre who 3 sent it to. I'm happier dealing with Apple for hardware issues than with 3 so this should be less of an issue with the iPhone 4.

    Thanks everyone for your comments. Hopefully we will get a few more responses to try to draw some conclusions with.

    Craig.
     
  6. Meatball macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    #6
    AVOID

    I signed up to 3 on iPhone 4 launch day and I really regret the decision. My signal is poor, I'm based in Uxbridge (West Greater London) I'm forever getting the "network lost" notification and the delay between switching from 3G and 2G is appalling. I'll also loose my 3G signal randomly despite the fact I can reactivate it by searching for cariers and selecting "3 (3G)" instead of just "3".

    3 also filter a lot of internet websites which they class as inappropriate (adult themed, feature violence etc.) You have to pay £5 a month to turn off the filtering. MADNESS.

    Customer service is VERY poor, I've given up already.

    AVOID
     
  7. craig1410 thread starter macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #7
    Wow, strong message indeed! :eek:

    Thanks for this, it certainly swings things strongly away from 3 and makes me think that Tesco isn't such a bad deal after all... I wasn't aware of the filtering and while on one hand I'm not bothered about losing access to "inappropriate" sites, I am a bit concerned that it is them who will decide what is appropriate and what isn't and I would have to pay extra to remove this protection. Mistakes can happen and I wouldn't want to be deprived from access to a required website just because they had decided it was inappropriate for some reason.

    Thanks, the scores are now something like 5 - 1 against 3 since your post probably counts as 4 points... ;)
     
  8. Sebby macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #8
    But that's O2, and their 3G network is poor. Three's 3G network is great.
     
  9. dstart macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    #9
    When I initially got my phone I switched over to an o2 micro SIM in store from a normal o2 SIM.

    At work, I ran the speedtest app and got 1.7mbit/s down 0.6mbit/s up.

    Since then, I've switched to 3 on their £15 p/month SIM only deal.

    I ran the speedtest app again and I now get 4mbit/s down, 2mbit/s up and bare in mind this was inside a solid brick office inside a steel walled warehouse.
     
  10. craig1410 thread starter macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #10
    You guys aren't going to make this easy for me are you... :p

    Yeah, I tend to get speeds similar to your first set of figures on 3G with O2. The figures on the 3 network are very impressive.

    I don't think there is any doubt that 3 have a more widespread network with good coverage. I think my concern is that they are maybe using cheaper kit or less rigorous processes which might impact reliability and cause usage issues like Meatball described above. Then again, when it works it seems to work well.

    A couple of points for 3 I think, based on these speed tests.

    Thanks.
     
  11. robotica macrumors 6502a

    robotica

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #11
    there does seem to be a delay when switching from 3G to 2G and to be honest sometimes while on 2G i cant get internet access.

    This really annoys me as with 02 I would get internet access all the time even if it was really slow!! I still had access, with three they seem to give it to you sometimes and not others.

    I have come up against the filter once which was very annoying, I am an adult and am able to decide for myself what is appropriate and what is not.

    If I were to turn back time I would not choose 3, I was happy with 02 before although it was more expensive.
     
  12. craig1410 thread starter macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #12
    The thing is, O2's network has had 3 years+ of iPhone traffic which has meant lots of upgrades along the way and good experience of dealing with high data consumption. Other operators may be still in the early stages of that surge in data traffic so there may yet be growing pains in the coming months with the iPhone 4 and iPad especially putting pressure on all the networks' 3G networks.

    I've always found O2's 3G service to be solid if not spectacular.

    Thanks.
     
  13. RobNor macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    #13
    Three has better 3G coverage in North Bucks IME
     
  14. craig1410 thread starter macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #14
    Yeah my iPhone 3G is pretty seamless between WiFi, 3G and 2G and in my locality I do spend quite a bit of time on 2G so it is important that it works well.

    Thanks - that's interesting.
     
  15. robotica macrumors 6502a

    robotica

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    Edinburgh
    #15
    Yeah its a really problem here in scotland, I am all over the country and really need a 100% reliable service.

    Another thing about the 3 iPhone is that you cannot turn off 3G like you could with 02.

    3 lock it for 3G only when available, with 02 if you were in a dodgy 3G area, one where it would constantly jump between 3G and EDGE you could at least make it EDGE only.
     
  16. craig1410 thread starter macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #16
    It will be financially advantageous to 3 to use their own network as much as possible so they probably have the phones set to wait as long as possible to reestablish a 3G connection before they will drop to 2G. This might explain the delays which you and others have mentioned. With O2, because the network is theirs for 3G and 2G they probably don't care which is used so as soon as the 3G signal is below a certain level it will switch to 2G without any delay, just as you would expect it to!

    I don't like being forced to use 3G either, although I can understand why they are doing this given that 3 don't have any 2G cell towers. I sometimes switch off 3G if my battery is critically low and I can't get to a charger. I also sometimes switch it off when on holiday abroad to slow down the accrual of roaming charges. 3G can cost you a fortune very quickly whereas 2G takes a while longer and you have a chance to cut it off if you see it running up a large bill. Not so much of an issue now with O2 doing capped roaming charges but beware, the roaming cap is "per billing period" not per holiday so you can, like me, end up with two £40 charges on two separate bills... :( Still hopeful of getting that one refunded though...

    Thanks again,
    Craig.
     
  17. craig1410 thread starter macrumors 65816

    craig1410

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Location:
    Scotland
    #17
    Hi,

    Sorry for the double post but I was just wondering, do any of you know if any of the operators allow any form of tethering (WiFi or Bluetooth) which can be used with the iPad? I heard some rumours a while back about 3 allowing Bluetooth tethering but I don't know if it was confirmed.

    I think I'm down to two possible tariffs now with either Tesco or Three:

    Three - 500 any net mins, 5000 texts, 5000 3 to 3 mins, 1GB data = 24 mths at £30 plus £99 for 16GB iPhone 4.

    Or

    Tesco - 750 any net mins, unlimited texts, 1GB data = 12 mths at £35 plus £229 for 16GB iPhone 4. After the 12 month contract I would go to a rolling 1 month SIM only contract at £15 or £20.

    Free iPad tethering could swing me towards 3 again but it would need to work with the iPad and not just with a laptop via ad-hoc networking.

    Anyone?

    Thanks,
    Craig.
     
  18. biohead macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Location:
    West Drayton, UK
    #18
    Only tested on 3 PAYG, but tethering is enabled in their carrier file as standard. No extra charges, just uses your normal allowance. You can't tether an iPad to an iPhone I don't think at all using Apples methods, bluetooth or not.

    3G coverage wise - 3 hands down beat O2. They were a fresh network (Starting 3/3/03 funnily enough!) with 3G masts only. I think they're at around 99% 3G coverage now. Personally waiting till Im back at Uni to try them out as a nice trek to Leeds and back should see how much coverage they have whilst I'm on the train.

    I'm with O2 right now and their 3G coverage is appalling. It really really is. Unless you're in a built up place you'll be struggling on GPRS (I used to get EDGE quite often, but now I rarely see the icon. I'll have the dot burnt into the screen soon :p). I'm on an older iPhone simplicity tariff with the unlimted data, and it really is the only thing keeping me with them right now. Not so much the prices but how lacking the network itself is.

    I've never encountered 3's CS, but I've heard the stories. It's something I could probably put up with for a £15 a month tariff (and triple internet allowance from 1Gb to 3Gb for an extra £5 a month whenever you need it).
     
  19. TheBritishBloke macrumors 68030

    TheBritishBloke

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #19
    Tesco FTW! They have O2's network so decent coverage. You pay £349 upfront for the phone, and then a 12 month £20/Month contract with 250 Mins, Unlimited (12,000 texts) and 1GB Data. Bargain!
     
  20. sleyeu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    #20
    Giffgaff

    Add up how much you spend with o2 or Three after 2 months on a £30 a month. About the same in the £900 right?

    Giffgaff will be £200 cheaper if you are on £10 top up which is equivalent to the £30 imo... Unlimited texts... Proper unlimited texts... No cap, no filtering no lag from 3G to 2G and solid GPRS for emergency calls :D

    Oh and did I mention the iPhone is unlocked if you happen to have the desire of doing a sim only with someone else?
     
  21. chrispholt macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    Cheddar, UK. Yes where the cheese comes from..
    #21
    So if your not in a 3g area will you get signal? Do they use o2s network or something?

    Thanks
     
  22. biohead macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Location:
    West Drayton, UK
    #22
    They use to backup onto O2s, but now I think they use Orange's network as a backup.

    Unfortunately there isn't a seamless integration going from 3G>2G network, it will result in a dropped call I think due to this setup. I think it's ok when going 2G>3G though.
     
  23. emkwan macrumors regular

    emkwan

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    #23
    I must add my experiences here too :) I'm based in Leicester And after doing much research I decides in theory 3 to be offering the best in iPhone deal. Along side there rumoured improved service. I even deal directly with their PR company for my YouTube and blogging.

    I was continually encouraged by them to try three.

    The crunch of my experience was the poor reception followed by overcapping of web use. I.e. Blocking of material deemed pornographic. Which routinaly included medical items. (does not help when you are a medical student lol)

    Anyway a day later I returned te phone and ended up going with vodafone. They had a solid and I mean solid reception. I personal believe I had a faulty fone also so that did not elp the three mobile issue. Must admittho. When I had good signal three mobile speeds were great. Tho as a business user I need network coverage.

    Hope that helps and il be making a video review on this experience on my YouTube channel sometime this week :)
     
  24. Meatball macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2006
    #24
    Some of the websites they deem inappropriate is amusing. I don't like a mobile network telling me which websites I can and cannot browse on my phone. We're adults, we're more than capable of deciding what websites we should and shouldn't look at. Why 3 choose to nanny us I don't know. So much for the "best web experience".

    Stick with Tesco mobile. As others have said 3 use their own 3G network and revert to Orange's 2G network where needed. The transition is slow and will result in a loss of internet/dropped call. I've had a delay of up to 5 minutes before I got my internet connection back. This can be quite annoying as mine seems to want to switch to 2G a lot of the time, even when in central London. It's particularly noticeable when travelling on the tube or in a car.

    Again, my results speak differently.

    At home (Ran 5 tests, this was the best):
    [​IMG]
     
  25. psxguru macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 19, 2006
    #25
    Only downside to Tesco mobile is no call forwarding so no hullomail (there's also patchy customer service as well but everyone has bad stories about CS for every carrier!)
     

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