Activation and usage instructions for your PHONE SIM CARD

These are the official instructions for your activating and using your UK & Europe Phone SIM Card.

It is a mandatory requirement that you read all of the information below. Failure to read all of the information below may cause your SIM Card to not work properly, or not work at all. Please read all of the information below before emailing or calling us with a question as it is most likely that your answer is found below.

Before we tell you how to activate your UK & Europe SIM Card, some preliminary information:

1) You have purchased a PHONE SIM card.  It can only be used in a mobile phone.  It simply won’t work in an iPad, Tablet or Hotspot device. Please email via our website if you have incorrectly purchased a phone SIM card for your iPad, Tablet or Hotspot.

2) Do NOT insert the SIM card into your phone until arrival in the UK/Europe. If you put the SIM Card into your phone that will start your 30 day plan. It cannot be reset nor can a free extension of the days be provided. 

3) Our SIM card is a multi-fit sim card, meaning it has all SIM types on one card and will fit any phone.  So whether you need a nano, micro or standard SIM, you can just pop out the one you need. 

4) Your mobile phone must be unlocked and technically compatible to use the UK SIM card:

An “unlocked” phone is a phone that has been unlocked by your network provider (sometimes this is called a “SIM Free phone”). If you’re unsure if your phone is unlocked, please contact your network carrier. If you’re using an iPhone, here are the official Apple instructions on how to unlock your iPhone. No refunds are provided under any circumstances whatsoever if your phone isn’t unlocked (and therefore the SIM Card doesn’t work). 

“technically compatible” phone is a phone that operates on 4G/LTE Band 20(800), 4G/LTE Band 3(1800) and 4G/LTE Band 7(2600) and/or 3G/UMTS Band 1( 2100). All iPhones are technically compatible (they must of course be also network unlocked). For other phones please check your phone’s specifications, or locate and check your phone make, model and variant at the GSM Arena website or visit the Will My Phone Work website (select “United Kingdom” as the country then select “3” from the carrier list). No refunds are provided under any circumstances whatsoever if your phone isn’t technically compatible (and therefore the SIM Card doesn’t work).

5) You can’t use the SIM Card in Europe after more than 60 days from when it was last used in the UK, otherwise the Three UK network will permanently cancel and block the SIM Card. 60 days includes any period of non-use. For example, if you use the SIM Card in the UK on 1 January and then go to Europe, you won’t be able to use it in Europe after the 60th day from 1 January (even if you didn’t use it for some, part or all of those 60 days). This information was already provided on our website order page.

6) It is a mandatory condition of your purchase from us that you read all of the information below as it explains how to activate your UK Phone SIM card as well as providing other important information about its use.  If you don’t read and understand the instructions below, your SIM card may not work properly, or at all, for you and we will not under any circumstances whatsoever provide a refund or credit if you fail to read and understand how to use your SIM Card.  We do not provide any post-sale support for questions that are already answered below.

7) Please take a moment to remember what is and what isn’t included with your UK SIM Card:

 

The activation of your SIM card is very simple and quick, and takes just minutes from when you land.  Please read, follow and understand all of the information set out below. Failure to read the information below may cause your SIM card to not work properly, or at all, and you won’t get a refund.

 

IMPORTANT: You must only activate your SIM Card upon arrival in the UK or Europe. As soon as you insert the SIM card into your phone the 30 days of your plan starts. Sorry but we cannot reset the 30 days nor can we provide a free extension.

Step 1: Pop out the correct size SIM card for your phone – our SIM card is a multi-fit sim card, meaning it has all SIM types on one card.  So whether you need a nano, micro or standard SIM, you can just pop out the one you need. It’s important that you choose the correct size SIM.  If you remove the smaller SIM first, the larger SIM will no longer work.  If you don’t know which SIM size to use, refer to your device owner’s manual or SEARCH online for your device SIM size.

During the activation of your SIM Card it’s important that you leave your phone turned on (unless told by text message to reboot your phone) and to leave the SIM Card in your phone until activation is completed.

Step 2:  Insert the SIM card into your phone ONLY upon arrival in the UK or Europe (or during the flight). As soon as you insert the SIM card into your phone the 30 days of your plan starts. Sorry but we cannot reset the 30 days nor can we provide a free extension.

Step 3: When your phone first connects to the network, you’ll get a text message saying that your SIM card is being set up (it should only take a few seconds to receive this text).  You must leave your phone on during this period. You won’t be able to call, text or use data during the set up period.

If you’re using an iPhone, you might also get a pop up telling you that there are new carrier settings.  You should say yes to accept the new carrier settings.

[Don’t worry if you don’t receive these text messages. If your SIM card is working normally (e.g. you can call, text and use data), then your SIM card has been successfully activated.  You don’t need to call us or email us to confirm that your SIM card has been activated]

Step 4:  Once your SIM card has been set up, you’ll get another text message within minutes asking you to turn your phone off and on again.  Once you’ve done this your sim card will be ready for immediate use.

[Don’t worry if you don’t receive these text messages. If your SIM card is working normally (e.g. you can call, text and use data), then your SIM card has been successfully activated.  You don’t need to call us or email us to confirm that your SIM card has been activated]

Step 5: If you’re not using an iPhone you may need to make an important setting change on your phone if the network doesn’t automatically make the appropriate setting change.  If you have a Samsung, Sony, HTC, Android (i.e. NOT an iPhone) you might also receive text messages to set up data and picture messaging – if you receive these text messages make sure to accept any settings.  If, after setting up your SIM card, data isn’t working on your phone, you’ll need to manually change your phone’s APN settings as set out below under the heading “Changing APN settings”.

Step 6: If you’re going to use your phone in any of the included 34 European countries, you must turn data roaming to ON in your phone’s settings.

Step 7: If you want to call or text Australian numbers, USA numbers or Canada numbers it will cost extra and you’ll need to recharge/refill on our website. Read more below about how to do this.

If you have any difficulties with the activation of your UK phone SIM card, please call Three UK as follows: call 333 from your phone, call 07782 333 333 from another phone (when in the UK), or call +447782 333 333 (when outside the UK – standard international direct dial rates apply).

After you’ve activated your SIM Card you might receive text messages from the network provider Three UK: these might be promotional texts, or texts asking you to refill/recharge your SIM Card. You can ignore the texts — your 30 day plan started when you activated the SIM Card. There is no need to call or email us to ask us about the texts.

Other important and mandatory information about using your SIM Card

(a) What’s my UK mobile number?

Your UK mobile number is on the reverse of the SIM card starting with 07 (where it says “Your Three number”).

How does someone from back home, or anyone else call me?

Let’s assume that your UK mobile number is 07123456789.

When people in the UK call or text you, there’s no pre-fixes or country codes. People in the UK calling or texting you will use 07123456789.  The correct way to say your UK mobile number to someone in the UK is in this format XXXXX-XXX-XXX, for example zero seven one two three, four five six, seven eight nine.

It’s a little different when people outside the UK call or text you. They way they dial your number will depend on whether they’re calling from their mobile/cell phone or from a landline phone (eg their home phone or office phone):

  • To call it from Australia, dial 0011447123456789 (from a landline) or +447123456789 (from a mobile phone)
  • To text it from Australia, text +447123456789
  • To call it from the USA and Canada, dial 011447123456789 (from a landline) or +447123456789 (from a mobile phone)
  • To text it from the USA and Canada texting you will text+447123456789.
It doesn’t matter if you are in the UK, Iceland, France, Germany or any of the other included European countries: anyone from outside of the UK calling you must dial in the manner shown above (they will always use the UK 44 country code).
When someone from back home calls or texts you they will pay the cost of an international call or text to you, because they are calling or texting a UK number.  It is free for you to receive calls and texts.

(b) In what countries can I use the UK phone SIM card?

All of your SIM card inclusions (minutes, texts and data) can be used for no additional cost in the following countries:

United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands (Guernsey and Jersey), Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland  – make sure to read more information below under the heading “Using your UK phone SIM card in Europe“.

You can also use the SIM Card in Israel however calling and texting local Israel numbers is not included and will cost £1.40/minute and 2p/text.

(c) What’s not included with the UK phone SIM card?

 

Take a moment to remember what is not included with your UK phone SIM card.  Your UK phone SIM card does not include calling and texting to Australian numbers, USA numbers or Canada numbers.  This means:

  • It costs extra to call an Australian, USA or Canadian number; and
  • It costs extra to text an Australian, USA or Canadian number.
If you want to call or text an Australia, USA or Canada number, you’ll need to add extra credit. You can add extra credit via our website: if you purchased on our Australian website please click here, and if you purchased on our North America website please click here.

Finally, your UK phone SIM card does not include calling UK numbers starting with 084 and 087These are not UK landline or UK mobile numbers – they are premium rate numbers. Many businesses such as airlines, hotel chains, car hire companies etc advertise an 084/087 phone number. However, every 084/087 number has a corresponding UK landline number which can be dialed instead. Please click here to find out how to find the corresponding UK landline number.

(d) Do I have to unlock my phone?

The UK Phone SIM card only works in an unlocked phone.  It is solely your responsibility to unlock your phone and/or check it unlocked, and we do not provide refunds under any circumstances whatsoever if your UK phone SIM card doesn’t work because your phone is locked.  We cannot tell you if your phone is unlocked.  Unlocking an iPhone requires you to complete the unlock process by performing a full backup and restore of your iPhone in iTunes.  Please click here to read more about how to unlock your phone and/or how to check if it is unlocked.

(e) How do I get free Wi-Fi on the London Underground?

You get free WiFi in London Underground stations with the UK Phone SIM CardClick here to read about how to set this up.  It’s very handy to check Google Maps or Tube times using Wi-Fi because there will be no mobile service in the Tube stations because they are deep underground.

(f) How I check my usage and get the remaining balance of data, minutes and texts?

It’s easy to check the remaining balance of data, minutes and texts.

With the UK SIM card in your phone, turn off Wi-Fi and connect to the mobile network 3G or 4G and visit the following website:

https://www.three.co.uk/New_My3/My3_Home

Click “Check your balance” and you’ll see the remaining balance.

(g) Staying longer than 30 days?  Make calls and texts to Australian, USA or Canadian numbers?  Buy your recharge voucher/refill voucher now!

You’ll need to recharge your SIM card if you’re staying longer than 30 day or if you want to call or text Australian, American or Canadian numbers.

If you purchased your SIM card from our Australian website, you can purchase a recharge voucher on our website by clicking here.

If you purchased your SIM card from our American website, you can purchase a recharge voucher on our website by clicking here.

You can buy the recharge voucher now, and redeem it later.

IMPORTANT: You will NOT be able to buy a recharge via the Three UK website, as it requires a UK Credit Card.

(h) Want to access adult content on your phone? eg Tinder, Grindr etc?

The UK Government has very strict internet filtering laws for accessing content deemed to be “adult”. This adult content block applies to some of the most common dating apps such as Tinder and Grindr, but sometimes there are other apps and websites that are incorrectly listed as “adult”.

This applies to all mobile network who have implemented an “opt-in” process: adult content is blocked, unless you request the block be removed. There is nothing we can do to remove the adult content block as it is required by UK Law.

The only way to remove the adult content block is to visit a Three UK Store in the UK and provide photo identification to verify your age. You cannot visit a Three UK store when you’re in Europe as there are no Three UK stores in Europe. So make sure to visit a Three UK store in the UK if you want to have the adult content block removed.

Using your SIM Card in the included European countries

You can use the minutes, texts and data for no extra cost in these countriesAustria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands (Guernsey and Jersey), Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

You must turn data roaming to “ON” in your phone’s settings.

So this means when you’re in the included 34 European countries:

(1) Calls and texts to other people using our UK Phone SIM Card comes from your included minutes and texts – you will need to dial and/or text the number in international format, which is +44 then the UK number with the first 0 removed. You must actually enter the plus + symbol at the start.

(2) Calls and texts to UK landlines and UK mobiles comes from your included minutes and texts – you will need to dial and/or text the UK landline or UK mobile in international format, which is +44 then the UK number with the first 0 removed. You must actually enter the plus + symbol at the start.

(3) Calls and texts to local landlines and local mobiles (in the same country or in a different Europe country) comes from your included minutes and texts – you will need to dial and/or text the Europe number in international format, which is + then the country code then the local number (if the number starts with a 0 then usually you will remove this). For example, the country code for France is +33. To call a local French number, you would dial +33XXXXXXX. The country code for Italy is +39. To text a local Italy number, you would text +39XXXXXX. You must actually enter the plus + symbol at the start.

(4) If you want to call or text an Australian, American or Canadian number you will need to purchase additional £ credit on our website.

Changing APN settings

You only need to change APN settings if you are NOT using an iPhone. This means if you are using a Samsung, HTC, Android or any other non-iPhone smartphone, you may need to change APN settings.

Data/internet on your phone should automatically work, once your SIM card has been activate.  Sometimes though you need to manually change some settings if you’re not using an iPhone. We’ve set out below how to change the APN settings – it takes just a few minutes to do.  If you have any difficulties changing the APN settings on your phone, please call the Three UK Customer Support line by dialling 333 on your phone (or 07782 333 333 from a landline).

APN settings for Samsung Phones and for any other phone using the Android Operating System
 
  1. Tap the Menu button
  2. Tap Settings
  3. Tap Wireless and networks or More… (depending on your version of Android)
  4. Tap Mobile Networks
  5. Tap Access point names
  6. Tap the Menu button
  7. Tap New APN
  8. Enter the following data into the onscreen form, without changing any other settings;
    Name – 3 Internet
    APN – three.co.uk
    MMSC – http://mms.um.three.co.uk:10021/mmsc
    MMS Proxy – mms.three.co.uk
    MMS Port – 8799
    APN type – If given a choice, select internet+mms, if the keyboard appears enter *
  9. Tap the Menu button
  10. Tap Save
  11. Enable the newly-added APN by ensuring the line is ticked, or the radio button is lit by tapping on it
  12. Check the notification bar for 4GH3GE or with up and down arrows beside it, which will indicate your connection is working
APN settings for Blackberry
 

Internet APN

From the home screen:

  1. Swipe down from the top edge of the screen
  2. Tap Settings
  3. Tap Network Connections
  4. Tap Mobile Network
  5. Tap APN
  6. At the top of the screen, tap on the Mobile Plan selector to chooseContract or Prepay
  7. Enter the following information in the on screen form, without changing any other settings:
    Access Point Name – three.co.uk
  8. Tap Save in the top right corner
  9. You should now see 4G3GHor next to the signal bars at the top of the display. This indicates you are connected to the data network

MMS APN

From the home screen:

  1. Swipe left-to-right across the screen to access the Hub
  2. Tap Menu (3 dots)
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Tap Text Messages
  5. Tap Advanced
  6. Scroll down past the SMS Settings
  7. Enter the following settings into the on screen form, without changing any other settings:
    APN Settings:
    APN – three.co.uk
    MMSC Settings:
    MMSC URL – http://mms.um.three.co.uk:10021/mmsc
    Proxy URL – 217.171.129.2:8799
  8. Tap Save at the bottom of the screen

APN settings for Windows Phone

Windows Phone 8.1

From the home screen:

  1. Swipe your finger from right to left across the screen to access the Apps list.
  2. Find and tap on the Settings icon.
  3. Scroll down this list until you find cellular + SIM or Mobile + SIM, then press on it to continue.
  4. Make sure your Data connection is set to On, then scroll down and tap on SIM settings.
  5. At the bottom of the SIM settings page are options to edit internet APN and edit MMS APN. Tap on edit Internet APN to modify your internet connection settings. (Please note: On some handsets these buttons are not in the SIM settings page. If this is the case, go back to the main settings menu and tap on access point which will then allow you to edit the APN settings as described in the Windows Phone 8 section below).
  6. Enter the following settings into the onscreen form, without changing any other settings:
    APN – three.co.uk
  7. Press the Save button to save and quit this screen. The save icon looks like a floppy disk, for those of us who remember them!
  8. Now select edit MMS APN.
  9. Enter the following settings into the onscreen form, without changing any other settings:
    APN – three.co.uk
    WAP gateway (URL) – mms.three.co.uk
    WAP gateway port – 8799
    MMSC (URL) – http://mms.um.three.co.uk:10021/mmsc
  10. Press the Save button at the bottom of the page to save and quit this screen.
  11. You should now see 4G3GHE or G on the top line of the display, next to the signal bars. This indicates you are connected to the data network

Windows Phone 8

From the home screen:

  1. Swipe across the screen to bring up the apps list
  2. Open the Settings app
  3. Tap Mobile network and ensure the data connection is switched on
  4. Go back to the apps list, scroll down and tap on Settings
  5. Tap on Access point
  6. If your network name is showing in the list, tap it to make it active, otherwise tap add
  7. Enter the following settings into the on screen form, without changing any other settings:
    Connection name – 3 Internet
    Internet APN:
    Access point name – three.co.uk
    MMS APN:
    Access point name – three.co.uk
    Proxy address – mms.three.co.uk
    Proxy port – 8799
    MMSC address – http://mms.um.three.co.uk:10021/mmsc
  8. Tap the tick at the bottom to save
  9. You should now see 4G3GHor on the top line of the display. This indicates you are connected to the data network

Windows Phone 7/7.5/7.8

From the home screen:

  1. Tap the right arrow or swipe across the screen to access the apps list
  2. Tap Settings
  3. Tap Mobile network
  4. Tap Add apn
  5. Enter the following settings into the onscreen form, without changing any other settings;
    Name – 3 Internet
    Tick the box to make this the default apn (if option exists)
    Internet APN:
    APN – three.co.uk
    MMS APN:
    MMS Access Point Name – three.co.uk
    Proxy address – mms.three.co.uk
    Proxy port – 8799
    MMSC address – http://mms.um.three.co.uk:10021/mmsc
  6. Tap the tick or disk icon to save
  7. Confirm the APN change
  8. You should now see 3GHor on the top line of the display. This indicates you are connected to the data network

Changing email settings

If you have an ISP email on your phone (eg @bigpond, @comcast etc) or you’re using a work email on your phone (eg @xyzinsurance.com or @johnsplumbing.com), you might need to change some email settings. You won’t need to change any settings if you use GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail or other free internet based email addresses.  You do NOT need to email us or call us to ask if you need to change settings if you use GMail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail or other free internet based email addresses.

In order to protect the Three UK network from spammers, access to email Port 25 is blocked.

If you can’t send email, you will need to change the outgoing email port from 25 to 587. It is possible that your email provider does not support port 587 – in which case you should try port 465 as an alternative.

With some email providers you may also have to send email using a secure SSL connection.

Alternatively, you can log-in via your webmail (this is a website based version of your email, where you log in with your username and password, via your web browser).  Every ISP and work email is different, so you might have to go through some trial and error.

Changing email port on an iPhone

Go to Settings.

Tap “Mail, Contacts, Calendars”

Tap on the account you’re having problems sending mail from

Tap on the name of the account again

Tap on “Advanced”

Tap “Server Port”

Change the port to 587

Additional information

If you’re still having issues, you can try using the Three UK outgoing mail server smtp.three.co.uk, using port 587.

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