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Three UK Net Neutrality update

Net Neutrality has been a big topic of discussion when it comes to data, and how it can be used one way or another by customers.

Here in the UK, Three and Vodafone were spoken to by regulator Ofcom on certain restrictions when it came to roaming, or how data was to be used. However, no action is to be taken, and there is some good news for Three customers moving forward.

Some of the changes have already happened, and others are to be completed before December 2018.

There is a lot of information below from Ofcom on what is being done with Three, the main highlights being:

  • No separate tethering allowances, if you get 100GB a month data allowance, you can tether up to the 100GB instead of the 30GB current limit.
  • When roaming in the EU, video can be streamed in HD, instead of being limited to SD quality
  • Essential customers can tether, or move to an Advanced Plan if they want more data
  • No more speed limitation of roaming data within the EU (still 3G roaming for now though)
  • Handset SIM cards can be used in Dongles/MiFi’s

Ofcom’s Statement on Three UK

Ofcom has … secured written assurances from Three that it has made changes to its tethering and traffic management practices to address our concerns with its compliance with net neutrality and roaming rules.

Since we opened our investigation in March 2018, Three has confirmed that it has already:

  • withdrawn restrictions which slowed down speeds of Peer-to-Peer and Virtual Private Network traffic for customers when roaming within the EU; and
  • withdrawn restrictions on the use of handset SIMs in dongles and mifis.

Three has also confirmed that, from December 2018 (or earlier), it will:

  • cease to restrict video quality to Standard Definition when its customers are roaming in the EU;
  • remove any specific tethering or hotspot allowance for new or upgrading customers, to allow for unrestricted tethering (within the UK or EU);
  • remove any requirements for customers to purchase a Data Passport to tether when roaming in the EU;
  • allow customers on all Advanced Plans to tether without restriction; and
  • allow customers on Essential Plans to tether on their current plan, or to migrate to the nearest equivalent Advanced Plan available at that time.

Based on the information gathered and the assurances received from Three, we are satisfied that there is no need for further action at this time and have decided to close the investigation.

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