For the past 18 months i've been using the 3 mobile network here in the UK. The tariff i've been on is the One Plan at £15 per month. This tariff has the following features:
- 5000 text messages
- 2000 minutes to other UK networks
- 5000 minutes to other 3 mobiles
- Unlimited data (with tethering)
Sounds great, especially for a heavy user. The thing is, i'm not a heavy user. In fact, looking over the past 6 months i typically make less than 10 minutes worth of calls per month and at no point have i sent more than 15 texts in the course of a month.
Data is the largest part of my monthly usage, but because i'm usually in range of a Wifi access point even that doesn't usually exceed 1GB.
So i decided it is foolish to pay so much for something i use so little of. But where to go? The networks aren't as competitive as they used to be and i'd probably end up paying a similar amount for much less.
Thankfully i remembered an old SIM Zero contract that i never bothered to cancel. Before i took out the One Plan contract i wanted to see how well 3 covered my area. I could have gone with a pay as you go SIM but, thankfully, i instead signed up for a SIM Zero contract (3 discontinued this shortly after i signed up).
SIM Zero is a tariff that costs nothing per month but also includes no minutes, texts, or data. Instead you pay for what you use and are billed at the end of the monthly cycle. If you don't use data and never make calls or send texts it can be an incredibly cost effective way of maintaining a mobile (which is probably why it was withdrawn).
Making calls, sending texts or using data on a SIM Zero plan can quickly add-up, but after doing some calculations on my past 6 months usage even my most talky-texty month would still only amount to around £10 in charges.
The sticking point was data. Even a moderate usage on SIM Zero would end up breaking the bank. Fortunately 3 have an Internet Max add-on which can be added to the plan for £5.11 per month.
This Internet Max add-on adds 2GB of data allowance to a SIM Zero plan (although i actually received a 4GB allowance for some reason).
With this plan most months i will end up paying a grand total of £5.11. Since i also have a Localphone account for my home SIP phone and Android has a native (albeit well hidden) SIP client i've set up my phone to allow me to route outbound calls over the data connection to Localphone. It works well and lets me make calls for a fraction of the cost of my plan's standard charges.
All in all i'm pretty happy with my new setup and will shortly be saving an extra £10 per month.