Three UK has launched a new social tariff for mobile customers via Smarty in a response to the cost of living crisis.
Available through Smarty, the social tariff costs just £12 a month and includes unlimited data, calls and texts.
Eligible customers are those in receipt of certain means-tested benefits including Universal Credit, and the contract is just one month long, although customers can stay on the plan as long as they remain eligible.
The social tariff from Smarty offers customers unlimited minutes and texts, as well as unlimited data on Three's 4G network, with 5G connectivity where available.
The plan includes unrestricted tethering for anyone who uses their smartphone as a hotspot to get their tablet or laptop online, as well as no speed caps or speed restrictions.
Some EU roaming is also included with up to 12GB of data use abroad.
The social tariff costs just £12 per month, which is £4 per month cheaper than Smarty's standard unlimited SIM only deal.
To be eligible for the social tariff, customers need to be in receipt of one of the following means-tested benefits:
The tariff can be access by visiting Smarty.co.uk/social-tariff
While we've seen more mobile providers starting to offer social tariffs, including VOXI For Now from Vodafone, and EE Basics, it's questionable how needed these are in comparison to social broadband tariffs.
Ofcom, the industry regulator, have previously noted in their Affordability Reports the existing availability of cheap SIM only deals means social mobile tariffs aren't really required by the market.
For example, it's possible to get a SIM Only plan for less than £5 per month, including with unlimited calls and texts and a small data allowance, that's even 5G ready.
And even data hungry users can get a cheaper deal than this £12 social tariff with 60GB available on Smarty for £10 per month, or 30GB with Three UK for just £8.
VOXI For Now is a social mobile tariff which also offers unlimited data, calls and texts and is cheaper than the Smarty social plan at just £10 per month. In addition, network coverage is provided by Vodafone, which has wider availability than Three UK.
Overall, while it's pleasing to see more providers coming forward with social tariffs, the highest need remains in the broadband industry where social tariffs are still priced beyond the affordability of most people in receipt of Universal Credit, according to Ofcom research.
In addition to bringing a social mobile tariff to market, Three UK have also been actively helping people financially struggling in the cost of living crisis in many other ways.
Elaine Carey, Three's CCO said "With the cost-of-living crisis continuing to put financial pressure on many of our customers, Three is committed to playing its part in the solution. More than ever, people are in need of support and that should include access to affordable connectivity without restrictions.
"I am delighted that we are launching this tariff today, offering low-cost access to our network for the customers who need it most.".
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