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skins07 (Offline)
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Default Prepaid UK SIM - 18-03-2007, 19:53

This may have been asked and answered, but I'd like some suggestions. I'll be in the UK in May 2007. I have an unlocked quad-band phone and use T-Mobile (phone and data) in the US. Roaming in the UK is US $0.99/min and $0.015/KB for data.

What are my options for buying a prepaid UK SIM that offers less expensive calls to the U.S. and also offers GPRS? Should I buy the card before I go or when I am in the UK? And finally, how does one add money to these cards while traveling?

Thanks in advance for any help.
   
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powerlifter (Offline)
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Default 18-03-2007, 23:33

I have a vodaphone sim card. I have the passport option on the card. You can wait and buy in the UK, sometimes it is free. You can call CS and give them your U S credit card number, but you must give them a UK address. this all of 15 min. to complete. If you want to buy before hand use this company they maild to me here in the US. www.freedom-mobiles.co.uk/ They are very good and shipping is free.


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MATHA531 (Offline)
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Default 19-03-2007, 00:04

Well there are several plans that are very cheap to call to the USA but you'll have to get somebody more familiar with GPRS....

Vodafone is not a good option if calling from the UK to the US is one of your priorities...rates are very high.

As it stands now....there are 2 excellent plans for calling the USA. One is called Mobile World offered by Carphone Warehouse...sim card pack is free...you pay only for time...calls to the USA and Canada are 5p/minute (billed in 60 second intervals alas) with a brief period during the day when it becomes 7.5p/minute.....rates are good but undesirable feature is it becomes invalid after 90 days of non use and you can't get around that as it does not allow roaming but if you're not paying for the sim, I don't see that as a big deal...you can always buy another one next time you get to UK.

Currently T Mobile UK has a good deal too.....the sim card itself is not very expensive (comes with no air time) but for 2 you can buy 50 minutes of airtime to the USA and Canada which is apparently timed in 1 second intervals...this special expires after 60 days but so what...the sim card itself doe snot expire so you simply buy another 2 quid package and of course T Mobile UK allows roaming so you can send a sms to keep it active. It is a good deal.

Another okay deal, not as good as the ones mentioned, comes from Virgin Mobile.....sim card costs 10 quid but comes with quid worth of air time....calls to the USA and Canada are 20p/minute timed in 1 second intervals with a minimum of 5p per call...also if you are also making calls within the UK costs are 15p/minute for first 5 minutes of use each day and then it drops to 5p/minute and the calls to the USA and Canada count towards the determination of the 5 minute billing period....not too bad but right now I prefer the T Mobile UK plan...BTW since Virgin Mobile allows roaming and since it does not deactivate until 365 days have passed, it can be kept active by simply sending a sms message wherever you are (any billing period will do) or as I did, I downloaded a ring tone for 9p and kept the card active from outside the UK!
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skins07 (Offline)
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Default 19-03-2007, 00:59

Quote:
Originally Posted by powerlifter View Post
I have a vodaphone sim card. I have the passport option on the card. You can wait and buy in the UK, sometimes it is free. You can call CS and give them your U S credit card number, but you must give them a UK address. this all of 15 min. to complete. If you want to buy before hand use this company they maild to me here in the US. www.freedom-mobiles.co.uk/ They are very good and shipping is free.
Thanks for the suggestion. I looked at the www.freedom-mobiles.co.uk/ site. The lowest GPRS rate (4 per Mb) is available through Orange.

Does anyone know if a UK Orange Pay As You Go SIM Card can be activated and topped off while I am still in the US?
   
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Malkav (Offline)
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Default 19-03-2007, 01:12

Quote:
Originally Posted by MATHA531 View Post
Well there are several plans that are very cheap to call to the USA but you'll have to get somebody more familiar with GPRS....

Vodafone is not a good option if calling from the UK to the US is one of your priorities...rates are very high.

As it stands now....there are 2 excellent plans for calling the USA. One is called Mobile World offered by Carphone Warehouse...sim card pack is free...you pay only for time...calls to the USA and Canada are 5p/minute (billed in 60 second intervals alas) with a brief period during the day when it becomes 7.5p/minute.....rates are good but undesirable feature is it becomes invalid after 90 days of non use and you can't get around that as it does not allow roaming but if you're not paying for the sim, I don't see that as a big deal...you can always buy another one next time you get to UK.

Currently T Mobile UK has a good deal too.....the sim card itself is not very expensive (comes with no air time) but for 2 you can buy 50 minutes of airtime to the USA and Canada which is apparently timed in 1 second intervals...this special expires after 60 days but so what...the sim card itself doe snot expire so you simply buy another 2 quid package and of course T Mobile UK allows roaming so you can send a sms to keep it active. It is a good deal.

Another okay deal, not as good as the ones mentioned, comes from Virgin Mobile.....sim card costs 10 quid but comes with quid worth of air time....calls to the USA and Canada are 20p/minute timed in 1 second intervals with a minimum of 5p per call...also if you are also making calls within the UK costs are 15p/minute for first 5 minutes of use each day and then it drops to 5p/minute and the calls to the USA and Canada count towards the determination of the 5 minute billing period....not too bad but right now I prefer the T Mobile UK plan...BTW since Virgin Mobile allows roaming and since it does not deactivate until 365 days have passed, it can be kept active by simply sending a sms message wherever you are (any billing period will do) or as I did, I downloaded a ring tone for 9p and kept the card active from outside the UK!
if your interested i have some spare unused uk sim cards for trade, will swap ya 1 for 1 for US prepaid sim cards, say tmobile uk for tmobile us, or mobile world uk for cingualr/ boost etc?

pm for details


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PhotoJim (Offline)
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Default 19-03-2007, 03:16

O2 is pretty good too. Spend 5 pounds and henceforth, all calls to North America are 20p (while in the UK at least). O2 seems to have the largest coverage footprint in the UK, too.

It roams in Canada, and presumably most of the US, so you can send a text message or use a bit of GPRS data to keep it active. You also get a free call to the UK every week (one minute) so that might keep it active, too, without any expenditure. You only need to do something every 180 days to keep it running.

It doesn't roam on Alltel (USA 590) but it does work on Rogers here in Canada. I haven't taken it to Cingular or T-Mobile USA coverage.


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MATHA531 (Offline)
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Default 19-03-2007, 08:20

Most European sims have roaming agreements in the USA with T Mobile USA and Cingular....the problem could be, not saying it will be, is the phone. Up until now, quad band phones started out sort of as a Motorola thing and several other manufacturer's have done a bit of work with them but they haven't really caught on and therein lies the rub....tti band phones come in 2 varieties (well short of Heinz BTW)...850/1800/1900 which are made for North American consumption and are sort of usually not the latest...companies introduce their new tri bands with 900/1800/1900 where they get the most bang for the buck (or quid or whatever vernacular is used to describe euro) that is places where everybody has to buy GSM phones...a good portion of the USA market doesn't use GSM...

Result is Europeans or others coming to the shores of the USA will find large areas of the country lack 1900 GSM coverage (for the most part it isn't a big problem in the big cities and along most interstates) and their mobiles would be useless (unless they bought a US prepaid which might or might not be GSM)...

In a similar vein, Americans travelling to much of the rest of the world have to be careful about this...I read of one person doing her due diligence, buying an unlocked GSM phone on ebay and attempting to use it with a prepaid sim in Croatia and she couldn't get the doggone thing to register on the Croatian netowrk; some of the idiots at mobile phone stores there swore to her the phone was locked (of course it wasn't...if the phone was locked, one gets a message to that effect just as it is turned on and tries to boot up)...the phone she had as an American nokia tri band and one of the problems with Nokia tri bands is they use the same model number for their phones produced for the world market (tri band 900/1800/1900) and the ones modified to work in the USA and some other countries mostly in theAmericas (tri band 850/1800/1900)...lacking the 900 band she was unable to get reception in Croatia as the carriers there are almost all GSM 900.

Same thing might happen if one uses an unlocked American phone and buys a prepaid O2 UK sim....as I understand it, O2 UK is predominantly 900 and so there would be many areas of the UK where a person with an American GSM phone model might buy an O2 UK sim and swear he or she has little or no coverage lacking 900...it probably is not as big an issue when roaming as you can almost always register, in the UK, on some network that operates on 1800 (T Mobile UK is predominantly 1800 which means Virgin Mobile UK is also predominantly 1800 as VM uses TM UK towers; incidentally since Mobile World referred to above uses O2 towers, such a phone would be pretty darn useless if one desired Mobile World; of course one can buy a very cheap dual band (900/1800) at most UK phone stores.

Ah the trials and tribulations caused because the USA was unable to coordinate with the rest of the world (which I understand might have been impossible given the use of the spectrum by other types of communication devices) when this whole cellular explosion hit.
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andy (Offline)
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Default 19-03-2007, 15:05

Actually, Mobile World is also on T-mobile.

On O2, it might be worth signing up the International bolt-on, then using a calling card with an Irish access number (5p/min); I used to suggest Bizon as the calling card, but it went up from 2c to 5c; a bit more research to do ...

People coming here and also the rest of Europe might look most at Vodafone Passport and O2 My Europe and My Europe Extra, the latter costing 10 a month and having free incoming calls in over 30 countries, ideal with a callback service.

For now, the Finarea callback service ReturnCall still has 2p/min to UK landllines, quite a few countries' landlines at 5p, and Eu mobiles from 9p. There are work-arounds to get even cheaper than this, using other callthrough and call forward options, but it gets a bit complicated

Someone who intends loads of use might look at 3's option of 15 a month for up to 3000 minutes of international calls. You don't necessarily need a 3g phone now, as it will roam on Orange
   
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skins07 (Offline)
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Default 19-03-2007, 16:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by MATHA531 View Post
Currently T Mobile UK has a good deal too.....the sim card itself is not very expensive (comes with no air time) but for 2 you can buy 50 minutes of airtime to the USA and Canada which is apparently timed in 1 second intervals...this special expires after 60 days but so what...the sim card itself doe snot expire so you simply buy another 2 quid package and of course T Mobile UK allows roaming so you can send a sms to keep it active. It is a good deal.
Where can one find the 50 minutes for 2 offer from T-Mobile? I don't see it mentioned on their website.
   
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MATHA531 (Offline)
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Default 19-03-2007, 16:57

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Where can one find the 50 minutes for 2 offer from T-Mobile? I don't see it mentioned on their website.
Take a look at http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/personal/p...the-uk/bundles
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