3 UK puts limits on tethering as it focuses on LTE at no extra cost

New tariffs launched by 3 UK have for the first time explicitly included limits on tethering allowances, as the company also steps up its focus on LTE services included "at no extra cost" in its data bundles.

Unlimited tethering was previously implicit in the Hutchison Whampoa-owned company's all-you-can-eat data plans, but has now been limited to a maximum of 2 GB in the all-you-can-eat plans. If more tethering is required, consumers can buy a 1 GB Personal Hotspot plan for £5 (€5.97/$8.3) a month.

Tethering is also for the first time being extended to all other data plans, which come in tiers of 500 MB, 1 GB and 2 GB a month.

The move clearly marks the company's efforts to tame heavy users of mobile broadband services and focus on offering LTE without a premium charge to smartphone users. Rival operator T-Mobile UK dropped tethering from its unlimited The Full Monty plan in 2012.

3 UK's new monthly smartphone tariffs also include free access to 0800 numbers: 3 UK said YouGov research shows that Britons spend over £500 million on 08 calls per year. Three quarters of people surveyed said they have no idea how much their operator charges them for an 0800 call, and 10 per cent think the calls are free, as they would be from a landline.

The research also found that 47 per cent of mobile phone users have experienced bill shock, with almost a third (31 per cent) of people surveyed saying this was caused by out of bundle expensive calls such as 0800 or 0845 numbers.

Meanwhile as the European Parliament's Industry Committee voted to abolish roaming charges throughout the EU from next year, 3 UK further emphasised the benefits of its Free At Home service that already eliminates roaming charges across 11 markets.

"UK mobile users are still afraid to use their devices in many circumstances. That's why we've made it possible for our customers to use their home allowance abroad in 11 countries, including the USA," said 3 UK CEO David Dyson. "It's why we've launched 4G at no extra cost and why we've committed not to raise our monthly recurring charges during the minimum period of a contract."

For more:
- see this 3 UK release

Related Articles:
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3UK's 'All you can eat' data plans driving growth
3 Sweden to pull low-cost unlimited offer amid fears of price war
T-Mobile's unlimited 'Full Monty' plan fails to stir UK rivals
Operators dump unlimited data offerings; file sharing blamed

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