Three launch iPad bundles

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

3UK have launched their Apple iPad bundles, which are now live on their 3Store website.  The 32GB iPad, for example, costs £249 upfront and £25 per month (24 month contract), which includes 15GB of data each month. Given the £300 subsidy that 3UK include, this is a good overall deal, and offers a lot of data for a fair monthly amount (15GB would normally cost £15 per month for a long contract, so £25 per month includes £10 per month towards that subsidy, and over 24 months that’s “only” £240 of that £300 subsidy).

So, if you don’t already have an iPad, and are looking for a good deal on both the device and the data bundle, then you should consider this deal.


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T-Mobile reduce Internet usage across all tariffs

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Although it’s not 100% clear, it looks like T-Mobile has decided to reduce the amount of Internet data allowance each handset has to quite a low level (in fact, one of the low levels available from the main networks).  Whereas before T-Mobile had a high fair usage limit (often 3-4GB before they got upset and warned users), or stated a limit around 1GB (but without enforcing it), they have just published this information (here) stating that the limit is now 500MB across all contracts (old and new) as from 1 Feb 2011.  When other networks have tried this in the past, they have often accepted that it warrants a change in the T&Cs, and allowed people to cancel contracts early, however, we are hearing that T-Mobile are not letting people out of contracts over this change.

Let’s be clear, for many users this simply won’t be a problem; 3UK recently told me that over two thirds of their users use some of the 150MB data allowance provided whenever you topup, but most did not exceed that limit, nor needed to buy any additional internet allowances, so it may well equally be that many T-Mobile users will never reach the new lower limits, however, there will be some who use devices such as Android phones, which are constantly syncing data (email, calendars etc.) and using online navigation solutions (such as Google Maps), and uploading photos or videos directly from the handset who will find the new lower limit a struggle.

Other networks seem to offer 500MB on their lower tariffs, moving up to 750MB and then 1GB for the higher tariffs (or specific tariffs, such as for the iPhone), so this does seem to be a rather low limit across all tariffs, and there are still statements on the T-Mobile website implying that there are a range of allowance for Apple iPhone devices.

In fact, if you head to the Fair Use Policy pages (here), these still list figures of up to 3GB as applying to new contracts, so it’s definitely not clear what rates will apply for someone taking out a contract today, but it’s fair to say that it looks like T-Mobile may be reducing everyone’s allowances from next month.

T-Mobile have privately let me know that even if you go through the 500MB limit (and they’ve said very few customers do use more than that on a monthly basis), you should still be able to browse the web and read email even at the limit.  It’s ironic that T-Mobile have introduced these new lower limits only a few weeks after 3UK started to remove limits from some of their high end iPhone tariffs…


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Pure announce new iPod / iPhone dock

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Pure are promoting this as an advanced Apple iPod / iPhone dock, but to be honest, they could have easily promoted it as a DAB radio or an Internet Radio with a dock.  It also features a smooth satin-touch finish, a full-function remote and backlit touch-sensitive controls.  The Pure Contour offers a whole range of features, including:

  • DAB, FM and Internet Radio options
  • iPod / iPhone dock
  • Digital end-to-end technology (Pure ClearSOUND)
  • 36W RMS of class-leading audio
  • Digital, FM and Internet radio
  • Flow technology for internet radio, on-demand content including podcasts, PURE Sounds and media streaming from a computer
  • 30 digital radio favourites, 10 FM favourites and unlimited internet favourites
  • Retractable dock with smooth damped movement
  • Component (YPbPr), S-Video and Composite video outputs for viewing iPod/iPhone video on your TV
  • Stereo headphone socket
  • Alarms and timers
  • Upgradeable via Wi-Fi, Ethernet or USB

All in all, a very nice, well specced unit.  However, it should be given the price; it will retail at £200!

No word on availability yet.


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3UK provide feedback on ‘All you can eat’

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

I’ve had some interesting feedback from 3UK on the ‘All you can eat’ data allowance that comes with the new Apple iPhone on The One Plan, and basically, it’s a genuine unlimited tariff. 3UK have said that people expect unlimited data, and this tariff will actually provide that.

It’s nice to see a UK network stand up and say ‘we know you like surfing and using apps on your phone, so go ahead without worrying’. 3UK also hinted that this change would in time apply to all phones on The One Plan. But we’ve not yet seen that on the website.


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Are 3UK offering new unlimited iPhone tariffs?

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Yesterday, 3UK made some changes to their Apple iPhone tariffs.  In summary, the main information is:

  • iPhone 3GS 8GB – The One Plan – £35 a month – £19 upfront charge – “All you can eat” data allowance
  • iPhone 4 16GB – The One Plan – £35 a month – £69 upfront charge – “All you can eat” data allowance 
  • iPhone 4 16GB – Internet Texter 500 – £30 a month – £149 upfront charge – 500Mb data allowance
  • iPhone 4 32GB – The One Plan – £30 a month – £239 upfront charge – “All you can eat” data allowance
  • iPhone 4 32GB – Internet Texter 500 – £35 a month – £159 upfront charge – 500Mb data allowance

Now, generally, these are minor updates to the tariffs, but I note that instead of the “1GB data allowance”, The One Plan is now being labelled with “All you can eat”.  Going back last year, 3UK were one of the first to stop using the term “unlimited” as they had a limit (either 1GB or 2GB).  Does this now mean that 3UK are offering truely unlimited tariffs with the iPhone?

I tried to find out more from 3UK, but they are yet to update some of their help documents to reflect this new term, and to provide the detail behind what it actually means.  In fact, if you try to buy such a plan, you are still told it comes with 1GB of data, and extra internet will cost 10p per Mb.

At this stage, this change to the One Plan is only available on the iPhone, although I would expect 3UK to broaden this to other smartphones in the New Year.  When we find out more information about what “All you can eat” actually means, we’ll provide an update.


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3UK expand their PAYG handset range

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

I noticed whilst browsing the 3Store website the other day that 3UK have expanded their PAYG handset range.  Probably the most interesting is that you can now get the Apple iPhone 3GS on PAYG (£399.99).  Okay, it’s only a small discount on buying direct from Apple, but it is a discount!

They’ve also expanded their Android range further by now having the Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro (so with a QWERTY keyboard) for £169.99.  That’s cheaper than the HTC Wildfire (£189.99), and it’s nice to see 3UK offering more Android devices.

As always, head to the 3Store for more information.


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3UK reveal iPad plans

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Although 3UK have sold SIM only data plans for the Apple iPad for some while now, last week they revealed their new plans which can now also include the iPad as well.

For £25 per month (24 month contract), you will get a massive 15GB of internet data allowance each month.  There is a charge for the iPad itself, although it’s less than buying direct from Apple.  For example:

  • £199 will get you an Apple iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G 16GB
  • £249 will get you an Apple iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G 32GB
  • £349 will get you an Apple iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G 64GB

Given that these models usually cost £529, £599 and £699 respectively, it’s nice to see 3UK being able to offer a decent discount, and although you’re tied to a 2 year contract, with 15GB of data each month, that’s probably an acceptable price to pay!

As always, head to the 3Store for more information, although in the short term you can only buy the iPad in a retail store, so you’ll need to head out to the shops if you actually want one (on the plus side, you’ll be able to walk away with the device there and then).

Although other networks have also launched similar deals, the 3UK (as is often the case) seems to offer better value.  Orange, for example, will charge you the same upfront cost, the same monthly amount (24 month contract); although they’ll charge you £2 per month extra if you are not already an Orange customer, but won’t offer you 15GB of data per month (they offer 1GB anytime plus an extra 1GB for use between midnight and 4pm and “unlimited” 3GB BT OpenZone WiFi).

At first glance (by virtue of being virtually the same company), the T-Mobile iPad deals seem to be pretty much identical, but there’s no mention of BT OpenZone Wi-Fi support, and the additional 1GB “quiet time” is only from midnight to 10am, not 4pm as on Orange, so it might actually be even less worthwhile.


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Apple iPad and 3UK

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

It’s not a lot of information to start with, but 3UK have just released the following statement:

Three UK today announced it will offer new purchase options for iPad users, including more affordable prices when purchased with a data service plan, for iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models in the coming months. iPad allows users to connect with their apps and content in a more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before. Users can browse the web, read and send email, enjoy and share photos, watch HD videos, listen to music, play games, read ebooks and much more, all using iPad’s revolutionary Multi-Touch user interface. For more information about iPad please visit www.apple.com/ipad/

Although you’ve been able to get iPad data SIM contracts for some while, it’s nice to see 3UK being able to sell the hardware too.  I’m hearing rumours that it’s likely the iPad will be available from other networks too (Orange and T-Mobile have been mentioned), and that it will be a subsidised price (similar to most phone contracts), which may bring the Apple iPad into the reach of many more people as a special Christmas present…


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Parrot announce new portable car Handsfree kit

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Parrot, well known for producing a range of useful handsfree kits, have announced a new unit.  This will attach to the windscreen, and hold the phone (it can be positioned vertically or horizontally to match the phone; especially useful for using the SatNav feature of many phones), and then connects to the phone via Bluetooth to provide the Handsfree kit.  Most phones should fit (it adjusts between 56 and 70mm wide), and it has a 2W amplified speaker system for both the Handsfree and the SatNav information.

As well as being able to be plugged into the car, it has a secondary socket which allows you to plug in a charging cable to charge the phone directly from the unit (it comes with mini-USB, micro-USB and Apple cables); if the Handsfree is just running itself, the battery should support up to 10 hours talk time (and about a week on standby).

Many of these kits benefit from a microphone positioned closer to the driver, and the Parrot Minikit Smart has a built in retractable microphone.  As with many previous Parrot kits, it will store up to 2000 contacts per smartphone in it’s own addressbook, and can store the records of 10 phones (although this is not a multipoint car kit, so it can only be connected to one phone at a time); it can use these records to allow (with no training) to hit the green button and say the name, and it will attempt to work out who to call, without needing voice activated dialling enabled within the phone either.

I would like to see Parrot adopting multipoint technology, as it does seem the one area where other manufacturers are starting to have a lead over Parrot, but in all other respects, this is a nice looking car kit, and especially good that it can charge the phone too.

This new unit should be available from good Parrot stockists this month (ie in time for Christmas) at £99.


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3UK continuing to innovate

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Although 3UK have always made their account management available through the My3 website, they have now released a My3 Apple iPhone (and Apple iPad) application.  Although it’s only the first step, they are looking to add more features over time, and have already announced plans to release an Android application as well (hopefully by the end of the month).  At the moment you can check your bills or balance, buy Top-Up or Addons or amend your personal information.

They’ve also released some new SIM only plans, which may appeal to people.  The following shows all the SIM Only plans now available from 3UK:

12 Month Contracts

  • The One Plan SIM > 2000 mins + 5000 texts + 1GB internet > £25 per month
  • *new* SIM 600 > 600 mins + 3000 texts + 1GB internet > £15 per month
  • *new* SIM 300 > 300 mins + 3000 texts + 1GB internet > £10 per month

1 Month Rolling Contracts

  • *new* SIM 600 > 600 mins + 3000 texts + 1GB internet > £20 per month
  • SIM 15 > 300 mins + 3000 texts + 1GB internet > £15 per month
  • SIM 10 > 100 mins + 3000 texts + 1GB internet > £10 per month

The SIM Texter / Internet / Landline & International are still available as well.

The SIM15 has always been a popular option, but if you are happy to commit to 12 months, then you can now get even more voice minutes for that same £15 per month.

I know that iPhone account management apps aren’t new, but equivalent Android apps are, and it’s nice to see 3UK making everything that is web accessible directly accessible within an application.


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