Data is so cheap it is being given away

by @edent | # # | 2 comments | Read ~121 times.

When I first started in the mobile industry, 3G had just launched. It was slow and expensive. Nowadays it is fast and free.

UK Network Three are giving away free SIMs which comes with 200MB per month of free data. Visit three.co.uk/datareward to register. My SIM was delivered a few days later.

Update – the SIM is now £10 but comes pre-loaded with 1GB for the first month. Then 200MB free for every subsequent month.

The first byte is always free

Obviously nothing in life is free. Three want you to use up your data and decide to pay for a bit more. Or pony up for some calls or texts. And, no doubt, Three will track your usage and location and sell it to advertising firms.

But, hey, you get a chunk of data out of it. So use with caution.

What can you use it for?

It appears to be a fully functional mobile broadband SIM. It works in phones and dongles. Three don’t have a 2G network, but it works on their 3G and 4G networks. I don’t have a 5G device to test it on.

200MB isn’t a lot these days. Which seems ridiculous, but there we are. It is perfectly adequate for sending emails and some infrequent browsing. Turning on your browser’s data saver mode might help. But WiFi is free and plentiful in most parts of the civilised world.

The best use, I think, is in automated systems and trackers which either don’t use much data or need a reliable backup. I’m going to spend part of the new year experimenting with that.

But Three are crap?!!?!?

I know Three’s coverage is rubbish. And they have a complete lack of a customer service ethos. And even if you could get online, the modern web is so bloated that you’ll use up 200MB with 5 minutes of TikTok.

It reminds me of the old Woody Allen story:

There’s an old joke… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.”

The SIM I got from them just didn’t work on their Data Reward plan. I contacted customer services several times, and each time they promised me it was working. But it never got the free data.

Your current SIM isn't eligible error message.

After wrangling with customer services for a bit, the free data did appear.

As I mentioned in an earlier post phone calls and texts are effectively free once you buy a small chunk of data. I’m now using VoIP / SIP for free calls, Signal for free messaging, and now Three for free data when I’m not on free WiFi.

Phone networks are now just a payment-plan vector for expensive mobile phones.

2 thoughts on “Data is so cheap it is being given away

  1. Thanks for the tip- I’m now having the same problem of it saying the sim they sent isn’t eligible 🙄


  2. Sam says:

    Might be good for a remote data logging project.

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