3 is the cheapest, but is it best

MSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert Posts: 8,273
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edited 7 September 2012 at 10:46AM in Mobiles
Update 7 September 2012.

Please bear in mind this discussion was originally started in 2004 so earlier comments may be out of date.

To try and help others - please report your experiences with the mobile phone company 3. !We already know it is cheapest in many occasions, but is the coverage and connection so dire it's not worth it?

Please click reply to briefly detail the following


Most commonly used location:

Ease and reliability and connection:

Any other problems:

Overall service and rating (out of 10):
Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
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  • homeredbound
    homeredbound Forumite Posts: 24 Forumite
    Handset Motorola A925

    Location West Yorkshire

    Ease and reliability and connection Easy to use handset. Too bulky to carry around, so used at home as the main phone for outgoing calls. Reliability is very poor, constantly drops calls, that is if you have managed to get a signal to make a call. No chance of ever making a video call and 3 services are available on an ad hoc basis.

    When I first bought it I was put on the wrong tariff. Trying to speak to customer services to sort it out was a waste of time and effort. Tried writing to them, sent letters recorded delivery, but never got a response, sent faxes but still no response and telephoning them is a joke…going through their menu takes an eternity and you still end up in the wrong department and rather than the person trying to transfer you I have just been cut off on several occasions.
    So whilst the tariff is good value the overall experience is very poor and once the 12 months is up I am finished with them.
    Rating 1/10
  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,030
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    i have a motorola A920. by manually setting the network to O2 there is no additional charge and the network is more reliable. it does mean that you cant use the video call facility but i didnt really get the phone for that reason, more for the cheap calls.
  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,030
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    been on 3 since october last year had no problems with coverage and i travel all over uk on regular basis, havnt bothered with video but bought it for the minutes tarrif and you cant go wrong, had no problems with customer services yet and hopefully never will..husband signed up in november and had no problems either.
  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,030
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    I mainly use my Motorola A835 in South Somerset near Yeovil and up to Bristol.

    The coverage is good, but there is always a small dead area when the phone changes from 3g to 2.5g areas. i.e. when travelling in the car to Yeovil and back.
    When not in the 3g area the reception and transmission is also very good too.

    The coverage is good elsewhere, when I've travelled around too. The only snags are when right on the edge of a 3g area where the signal can break in and out.

    The A835 will give 3-4 days of standby with light to moderate voice calling, but alot less when using the video features. It looks a bit of a brick, but has some very good features and screen.

    Changing to 3 has saved me a small fortune!
  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,030
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    Motorola A920
    Used in Newcastle upon Tyne
    3 mobile is hopeless - it takes usually 2 or 3 calls to complete a short conversation & I often can't make a call at all.
    Customer services is a waste of time, they are clueless. Every person you speak to gives you different reasons for the lack of service - the only one I haven't had yet is fairies in the garden.
    The 3 signal here is very strong, if it wasn't I would be diverted to O2 which would give me a more reliable service. I haven't been able to switch it manually to O2 - any advice gratefully accepted.
    It is very cheap - if only I could make phone calls!
  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,030
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    Dont bother with 3, I've had my NEC 606 (well 3 of them) since last Septmber and the service is poor, yes its cheap but not worth the bother. The signal around Blackpool and the Fylde area is very patchy, customer services (India >:( ) are next to useless they fob you off wiyh try this try that to get the handset to work proprly but its no good. I had sent 4 corraspondences of to 3 to rty and resolve my problem, they have just got intouch with me now after 1 month.
    DON'T BOTHER I have had mobile for 6 years now and this is the worst...... :'(
  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,030
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    Three G is the worst network i have ever experienced.
    I have to keep an orange phone for incoming calls to ensure they don't get dropped. In fact I also need the orange phone to make sure the outgoing calls don't get dropped which is on assuming i can get a line.

    My phone worked better on desert islands in Thailand than it does in London. Surely London should have the best service?

    I have had 4 Nec 606e phones, they keep replacing them with broken phones, and never logged my insurance claim when i lost one, Causing me no end of trouble as I apparently hadn't reported in within 24 hours. In the end I Complained so much that I had an emergency phone was sent out and another one arrived a week later, so now I have two !!!!!! phones.

    I would not recomend 3G to anyone who would like to keep their sanity, they are truely frustraiting.

    You cannot even complain to customer services as the calls drop and they now refuse to call you back!
  • dunce_2
    dunce_2 Forumite Posts: 17 Forumite
    (my partner's phone since mid-Feb)

    Handset: A835

    Most commonly used location: M20 corridor from Swanley to Dover

    Ease and reliability and connection: Not too bad. Get a decent signal whenever used on the motorway. Only 2.5g around M25 area, but 3g all the way from Maidstone down, amazingly.

    Any other problems: Customer support ("support" should be removed as misleading advertising). Recently all the calls seem to have gone through to Glasgow and it is refreshing to only have to explain things once and have some initiative shown on the other end of the line. Initially the CS in Feb was awful, trying, timeconsuming and frustrating. But then, they have to get savings from somewhere :). In Feb we got into the habit of choosing option 6 when on the CS line to get put through to the disconnections dept - people who seemed more knowledgeable.

    Overall service and rating (out of 10): 5/10 and improving, but then we've not really had many problems. YMMV

  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,030
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    I would advise people to not be too quick to say that it is the network that was bad. I have been with 3 for about 9 months now, and until recently I would agree with everyone else that 3 are hopeless, but as a last ditch attempt I decided to change my handset. I had the infamous NEC e606 which had the following problems:
    Poor reception,
    Regularly drops calls,
    Regularly turned itself off,
    Often didn't actually ring when people phoned (even when it had reception).
    Some of which I put down to the handset, but others I put down to the network... Anyway, I recently bought a Nokia 7600 on 3 as a pay as you go phone for £150 and swith my contract sim into the new phone, on the assumption that I could always sell it on ebay if it was no better than the e606. The outcome shocked me: The phone, and the network now seem fine. After 2 weeks with one it has not dropped a call, and I'm told allways gets through on the first attempt when people call me. I have tested it in both the Manchester and Bedfordshire areas, and it seems fine in both... If it stays this way I will be staying with three after my first year is up.
  • System
    System Community Admin Posts: 178,030
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    I had real problems with my NEC606, and vowed to leave the company as soon as my 12 months were up.
    I complained to the chairman, emailed him direct etc etc etc...

    I now have a motorola A835 - which is fantastic. I have now had no problems at all with the network, and will be staying with them and saving much more money!!
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