How to activate your UK SIM Card and use it in a mobile broadband device

Want to activate your SIM card and use it in a mobile broadband device?

No problem, but first…


Do not open your new SIM card yet.

Read this whole article first!

It is a mandatory condition of your purchase that you read all of the information here.

This page explains how to use your UK Data SIM card in a mobile broadband device. If you don’t follow the instructions below, your SIM card might not work.

We do not provide post-sale support for questions answered on this page.

While we provide your SIM card, how it works is partly controlled by technical and network considerations beyond our control. Get the technical side wrong and the network could permanently and instantly void your SIM.

As this is totally outside our control, we cannot offer refunds or replacements related to technical and network issues.

Now that the worst-case warnings are out of the way, let’s get you set up.

Follow the advice in this article and you have nothing to worry about.

Activation instructions for using your data SIM in a mobile broadband device

  1. When you arrive in the UK, open your data SIM card pack and put the card into your mobile broadband device. Note: different devices behave slightly differently with our data SIM cards. There are literally hundreds of different kinds of hotspot devices, so we simply can’t give instructions for each one. The good news is that you can find instructions from the maker of your device online.
  2. Some mobile broadband devices just connect instantly, with nothing more for you to do. Other devices require you to adjust the APN settings through your device’s configuration page.

If you’ve had to create a new APN before you’ll know what to do: you need to log into the device through your web browser. If you don’t know how to do this, just do a quick Google search using your device model name plus the keywords “homepage” or “change APN”. For example: “Sierra Wireless MF810 homepage” or “Change APN on ZTE MF910”.

Creating a new APN on your mobile broadband device

Change your APN configuration options to match the following:

  • Name: Three UK
  • APN: (or, if that does not work, try 3internet)
  • Username: Leave blank
  • Password: Leave blank

Once you have set the APN, make sure to save it, and set it as the “default” APN (if such a setting exists). Then connect your laptop or tablet to the mobile broadband device and navigate to any website. You may be instantly connected, or you might see some set-up messages on your screen about the activation of your SIM card. If you see these messages, just follow the instructions.

Note: to use the data SIM card in Europe beyond the UK, you will always have to configure your device APN settings. This is the case even if your device connected in the UK without you having to change the APN settings.

Need more help?

We understand that a lot of this might be new to you. Most people don’t configure APNs every day.

So, if you have any issues with activation when you’re in the UK, please call Three UK Technical Support on 0333 300 0500.

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