Apple Watch LTE support comes to UK's Three — 5 years late

Apple Watch Series 7
Apple Watch Series 7 (Image credit: Stephen Warwick / iMore)

What you need to know

  • Three is now allowing cellular Apple Watches to connect to its network.
  • The new Smartwatch Pairing Plan costs £7 per month.
  • Three customers will see their Apple Watch use data from their iPhone plan's data cap.

UK carrier Three has confirmed that its customers can now add their Apple Watch to their existing iPhone plan for the first time. Customers can set up a new eSIM 'Smartwatch Pairing' plan, the carrier has confirmed.

While Three hasn't officially confirmed the plan as such, users have just begun to report that they were able to to configure new Three eSIMs on their cellular Apple Watches. ISPReview reports that Three says the plan is currently part of a soft launch, but a full announcement will be made in due course.

As for the new eSIM, the connection will of course use customers' Apple Watch cellular connection but the data used will be taken from the iPhone plan's bucket. So those with unlimited data need not worry, while those with a data cap will soon have two devices working towards reaching it.

The most recent Apple Watch Series 7 already supports a cellular option and it's a safe bet that a cellular Apple Watch Series 8 will be released later this year, too. Cellular connections make those wearables the best Apple Watches for people who want to be able to be iPhone-free, particularly when exercising when dropping an iPhone might be catastrophic.

As for pricing, the new Smartwatch Pairing plan will cost £7 per month, and you'll need that iPhone plan before you can even get started — the eSIM plan is considered a bolt-on of sorts.

Three had previously said that eSIM support for Apple Watches was coming in the second quarter of 2022, but expectations were relatively low given the carrier's inability to hit deadlines before. Three is also late to the game, with other carriers like O2, Vodafone, and EE already offering plans for people who want to use their Apple Watches on their network.

Apple added cellular support to its Apple Watch in 2017 with its Apple Watch Series 3 — it's great to see Three customers finally able to join the cellular party.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.