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jjerusso (Offline)
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Default Data and voice options for England/Ireland/Northern Ireland - 06-08-2013, 20:59

Hello - I will be traveling to England, N Ireland and Ireland for two weeks and am trying to figure out the best options for data and voice service. I have an iPhone 5 on AT&T and it is not eligible to be unlocked, so the way I see it my options are:

- rent a mifi device from xcom or Telecom Square - unlimited data from $13-15/day; seems expensive as I don't really need unlimited.
- rent a mifi from Tep Wireless - cheaper but the online reviews are ATROCIOUS!!
- buy an unlocked mifi device and add SIM cards as needed - not sure if this is worth the hassle. Would I need different cards in each location?

- I could add Skype to any of these options and use that for voice calls.

- I could also get a pay as you go phone but I don't know if I would be able to tether my ipad and phone to it.

AT&T's rates - voice ranges from about $0.50-$1.00 a minute if you prepay a certain number of minutes (how could you possibly know how many minutes you would need?). Otherwise rate is $1.50. Egregious.
Data starts at $30/120mb and goes up to $120/800mb if you prepay (again - how can you predict??). Otherwise rate is $19.97/mb. Crazy!!

I would appreciate any suggestions, ideally balancing convenience and cost. Thank you.
   
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andy (Offline)
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Default 10-08-2013, 17:25

I think buying a mifi would probably be better than renting at those sort of prices. And local SIMs would work out much cheaper than any of the roaming options you mention.

For data in England and Northern Ireland, you might a 3 data SIM with a gigabyte for a month for about 10, or a bit cheaper on eBay or Amazon UK

I think I read of Meteor being recommended recently here for data in Ireland.

Or yes, a phone instead of the router. Some monthly option bundles here allow tethering, some not. There are also cheap international call options on most networks.

Last edited by andy; 10-08-2013 at 17:31..
   
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rfranzq (Offline)
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Default Have you asked AT&T and said you were going to Europe? - 10-08-2013, 18:25

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjerusso View Post
I have an iPhone 5 on AT&T and it is not eligible to be unlocked...
Have you asked AT&T and said you were going to Europe?
My observations of various forums is that if you ask nicely,
they tend to unlock if you are going 'abroad'.
If the first agent says no, call again---try up to three times.
Please report back results.
   
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drama queen (Offline)
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Default 11-08-2013, 13:30

Quote:
Originally Posted by jjerusso View Post
Hello - I will be traveling to England, N Ireland and Ireland for two weeks and am trying to figure out the best options for data and voice service. I have an iPhone 5 on AT&T and it is not eligible to be unlocked, so the way I see it my options are:

- rent a mifi device from xcom or Telecom Square - unlimited data from $13-15/day; seems expensive as I don't really need unlimited.
- rent a mifi from Tep Wireless - cheaper but the online reviews are ATROCIOUS!!
- buy an unlocked mifi device and add SIM cards as needed - not sure if this is worth the hassle. Would I need different cards in each location?

- I could add Skype to any of these options and use that for voice calls.

- I could also get a pay as you go phone but I don't know if I would be able to tether my ipad and phone to it.

AT&T's rates - voice ranges from about $0.50-$1.00 a minute if you prepay a certain number of minutes (how could you possibly know how many minutes you would need?). Otherwise rate is $1.50. Egregious.
Data starts at $30/120mb and goes up to $120/800mb if you prepay (again - how can you predict??). Otherwise rate is $19.97/mb. Crazy!!

I would appreciate any suggestions, ideally balancing convenience and cost. Thank you.
If you can't get your phone unlocked, you should buy an unlocked MiFi device, and use separate SIMs in Republic of Ireland and UK. You only need two SIMs.

In the Republic of Ireland get a Meteor SIM card - 5 for 1GB
In England/Northern Ireland get a GiffGaff SIM card - 10 for 1GB

Both SIM cards are free - you just need to pay for the top-ups. On Meteor, you will need to send a freetext message to activate the 1GB data plan.

In most cities and towns, 3G speeds will be sufficient to support Skype/Viber/VOIP. In some rural areas you may not be able to make VOIP calls.

You will need to ensure that you are able to send configuration text messages from your MiFi device - using either a laptop or tethered phone. Alternatively, bring a cheap unlocked basic phone to set up the SIMs, before transferring to your MiFi device.

On Meteor, follow the following procedure,
  • Get free SIM card (they deliver free to ROI addresses)
  • Freetext 'Internet' to 50104 - (this selects the basic tariff)
  • Top-up by 5
  • Freetext 'sub internet 1GB' to 50104 (this selects the 1GB data add-on)

On GiffGaff
  • Get free SIM card (they deliver free to UK addresses)
  • Top-up by 10 (minimum)
  • login to myGiffGaff, and purchase a 1GB Goodybag (7.50)
  • (you will have 2.50 credit left - but this can't be avoided)
   
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Bossman (Offline)
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Default 11-08-2013, 14:41

This basic phone can serve both of your needs - as a phone and hotspot device. Mine as served me well in both regards.

Amazon.com: Samsung Galaxy Y Duos S6102 Android Dual SIM Quadband Unlocked: Cell Phones & Accessories

specs here - Samsung Galaxy Y Duos S6102 - Full phone specifications


Phones: ASUS zenfone 3, Nexus 4, Lumia 650 dual sim
Sim cards: AT&T (Contract), 3 UK, Piranha Mobile
   
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dubrovnik4 (Offline)
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Default 22-09-2013, 01:22

Be careful because on GiffGaff you can't use giftbags with MiFi, they detect it and shut you off. You can buy gigabag and ebay item 300941986809 and that does the trick for UK. As for Ireland, Meteor is really the cheapest, but I don't know if they also have problems with tethering.
   
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drama queen (Offline)
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Default 23-09-2013, 22:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by dubrovnik4 View Post
Be careful because on GiffGaff you can't use giftbags with MiFi, they detect it and shut you off. You can buy gigabag and ebay item 300941986809 and that does the trick for UK. As for Ireland, Meteor is really the cheapest, but I don't know if they also have problems with tethering.
Good point Dubrovnik4. Apologies - I made a mistake and referred to a Goodybag in my post. It was actually a 1GB Gigagbag that I purchased. I had no problems with tethering - but I was using my Android phone rather than a MiFi device.

Regarding Meteor in Ireland - I am not aware of any restrictions on tethering - I do it all the time - again with Android.
   
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