Three ZTE MF286D 4G router

Mobile Broadband used to be very expensive with limited usage data caps. Now you can get unlimited mobile data plans designed to replace traditional home broadband products from £14 per month with 4g speeds upto 300mbps and 5G upto 1Gbps but in reality is it any good?  

Three UK 4G Home Broadband Review:

After seeing a recent deal on UK mobile operator’s Three’s website for an unlimited 4G Home Broadband package for £14 per month on a 24 month plan i decided to give it a go and see if the marketing hype lived up in reality.

In order to get the official home broadband service you first have to see if you can get it in your area by visiting their website .

For my postcode it said 4G was available and that i had a ‘very good’ service both indoors and outdoor.

I am waiting to get FTTP (Full Fibre) installed by Fibre Heroes which latest i have been told is it will be ready in June 2022. 

As a stop gap as my current FTTC contract is ending I wanted to see if Three’s 4G Home Broadband would be any good for a stop gap and then as a backup connection once the FTTP is installed.

I have done a video review of this product which you can watch below:


If the video does not load you can watch it here

As you can see from the video the reality in my case was the service did not live up to the claims made about the service.

I would only recommended a service like this for people that can not get a decent broadband service using other methods.

You need to be in a really good signal area and use an external Ariel properly installed to get the most out of the service and the slightest change in conditions can effect the service.

If like me you need a static IP address and or port forward to say access a CCTV system remotely or run a website then this is no good.

I would like to add that the customer service I have had form Three has been very poor and as I write in my blog on how to choose the right internet provider customer service & support matters .

From being mis-sold the product after their website and two sales reps both said a static IP is an option they offer and support.

I was advised by their Twitter support to call them to discuss my options around my contract  despite the lack of static IP and speed issues i was happy to keep the service albeit either on a shorter contract or at a lower price to compensate for the lack of static IP and the hassle I’ve had. 

When calling though to the contracts team they did not fully understand the issues and would not budge on price though initially I was told by the first agent I could change to a different contract length when i was put though to another team that agent was rather blunt and gave no options really other than keep the current contract or cancel completely!  

Despite reaching out again via Twitter I have not had any further responses form Three I will update if I hear anything further.

At the time of writing I am in my 14 day cooling off period once this has passed i will not be able to cancel penalty free.

Update 22/3/2022

I bought an external antenna to see how much difference one would make and to try out the DIY satellite method that Rewind kindly signposted to in the comments.

It appears the external SMA antenna ports on the 3 ZTE MF286D do not seem to do a lot and there is no option in the GUI to turn off the internal ant in favour of the external one.

Doing some reading around it appears the external ports are permanently wired and the router will just use whichever antenna gives the best signal.

I have got a support case open with Three currently which I have done via the executive support team after getting no where via the normal channels in regards to being mis sold the contract and the speed issues.