The world’s cheapest unlimited 5G plan changed my (work) life, can it change yours?

SIM Card
(Image credit: Future)

“You’re right on the money”, Rebekah quipped to me when I asked her whether a brand new deal from Three UK, one of the UK’s 5G providers, was very, very popular. 

Rebekah is one of the many online business advisors that have been selling what is arguably the best (and cheapest) unlimited 5G plan to date, globally, over the last couple of weeks. We've looked around, in the US and in Australia and haven't found anything better.

Three's Simply Business Unlimited SIM Plan costs only £3 per month (about $4, AU$5.50) with a 24-month contract. £72 for two years of unlimited super fast wireless 5G internet is an offer we couldn’t refuse.

How to get it

Jump on Three’s business page, scroll down and click on the big button towards the end of the page that says “Chat now”. Lines are open, six days a week, from 9am to 6pm (UK time). I’ve chatted with the team a couple of times and they know that this deal is very, very popular.

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We didn't find anything remotely comparable in the US or in Australia but if you do know of such an offer where you are, do get in touch with us and we will amend this article. TechRadar's best US unlimited plan buying guide lists a $80 per month offer from Verizon at the top spot, one which gives only 15GB data on 5G.

What’s the catch?

There’s a number of strings attached to this deal, but even then, there are ways of circumventing restrictions for those who are willing to go the extra mile.

First of all, this offer is only available in the United Kingdom although if you have Three in your country (e.g. Australia or Hong Kong), you may want to approach them to double check if such an offer is available. 

Secondly, this is a business offer which means that they may ask you a number of questions to which you can reply in a creative way. As for all contracts in the UK, there’s a credit check and the success of your offer is subject to status. 

Thirdly, you can no longer buy it alone; Three wised up shortly after launching the deal as customers were snapping the SIM plan by using a loophole that allowed two unlimited 5G SIM plans to be bought for £6 per month.

You can either by a Simply Business 3GB SIM Plan for £6 per month which gives you unlimited text or data (so you end up paying £9 per month for unlimited everything once you combine two SIM cards) or you can transfer your existing Three account to a business one and save a bunch - their top of the range unlimited everything SIM contract saves you a third off the consumer equivalent. 

That’s what I did, and so could millions of others. What’s more, there’s no limit on the number of unlimited SIM plans you can buy (remember, they cost only £3) and this is where it becomes seriously interesting.

 No more wires

Imagine you had an unmetered electrical socket or a water tap with a stuck meter reader; the possibilities are endless. 

The same applies to SIM cards with no usage caps. It suddenly opens a whole new world of opportunities especially if you use it with a dedicated 5G mobile hotspot (like the Netgear Nighthawk 5G hotspot) or a 5G mesh router. Just pop in the SIM card and voilà. Wireless internet that you can take with you when you want, where you want, especially if you live in rented accommodation or embrace a nomadic lifestyle. The ability to move it closer to where you operate or work and run immediately can be priceless.

For businesses, whatever the size, being able to buy one or more SIM cards and not worry about extra expenses (as long as no calls are made on the card and no data is used abroad) is a massive, massive gain. They can also set up a 4G/5G backup network for their existing business broadband to take over if their main internet access shuts down.

Alternatively, one can envisage having two SIM cards running in tandem (so-called Link aggregation) which combines the data properties of the two cards. Solutions such as Portabella’s octa-SIM 4G LTE multi network bonding appliances exist but they are expensive. For something a bit more affordable, the Comms365 C365-5G-H900 dual 5G SIM router with Wi-Fi should fit the bill.

Other than smartphones and tablets, a growing number of laptops come with an integrated 5G modem for seamless productivity and Qualcomm’s perseverance over the last few years (see our hot-off-the-press hands-on of the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s which runs Windows on Arm and has a 5mmWave modem). 

Even if you can’t get 5G due to coverage or lack of compatible hardware, switching to 4G/LTE is still a win. For example, 4G wire-free security cameras are now a reality and combined with solar panels/PV make a great security system.

What could go wrong? 

Well, a lot: Three can stop the offer at any time (although they’d still need to honor the contract) and you’d be in a right pickle if you’re with one. 

They can also jack up the price at any time - and at the end of the contract - although that applies to everyone else. Coverage is not guaranteed so you may want to get a free SIM first to check whether Three’s network is a solid one in your neck of the woods. 

Bear in mind as well that congestion can occur depending on time of day and an endless list of variables. 

One of the key features, a 12GB monthly roaming allowance for Europe and countries where Three operate, is expected to go soon as well.

Three however is ready for the onslaught of no-limit 5G customers. After all, why would they sell packs of 10 unlimited SIMs (for £75 per month, whoever is interested) and offer unlimited data plans as default on most of its high-end smartphones if they didn’t have the capacity to handle byte-gobbling customers? Perhaps the biggest issue of them all is that this deal is limited to UK residents only. 

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.