3 launches ‘£0 a month’ tariff

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In a credit crunch-busting move, UK network 3 is launching a 0 a month' data plan.

The network says that customers on its Sim Zero' tariff will be able to make completely free calls for the life of the contract as long as they stick to Skype-to-Skype calls.

Instant messaging using either Skype or Windows Live Messenger is also free on the tariff, while free voicemail access is another perk.

Skype has been free on the 3 network since 2006, but only for customers on a contract with a minimum term or on a Pay-as-You-Go, with a minimum top-up amount.

However, it's not a free ride for non-Skype calls. Calls to standard landlines and mobiles will be charged at 20p per minute, text are 10p each and data is charged at 30p per megabyte, which are more costly rates than other standard tariffs.

3 said that there is no minimum monthly contract and only one month's notice is required to leave.

"For customers who are fearful of commitment, Sim Zero has minimal ties," said the company in a statement.

"Customers can try us out and if they don't love being with us, they can leave with just one month's notice."

3 supports Skype directly from handsets, such as the INQ1 and Skypephone S2 and recommends these as being the most suitable handsets, "to make the most of Skype on 3".