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petkow (Offline)
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Default Prepaid DATA in the UK - 12-05-2010, 11:12

Judging by recent questions, I realise this forum really lacks a thread with updated information on this topic. It's a good idea to start one and hopefully people will add to it. I am not that up to date but I know of the following offers:

Most UK prepaid SIMs are completely free if you can get them posted to you. Otherwise they can be bought very cheaply in most shops, usually only at the cost of the credit on them. Some are even being given away at airports and important tourist areas.

Some UK prepaid plans will give you a free bundle of data just for topping up with 10 (or in some cases less). Offers vary all the time, and sometimes you get other freebies (like SMS) for topping up with prepaid credit.

o2 give you a fee SIM and a 10 topup entitles you to free SMS and internet (I believe up to 500MB) to spend within the first month. O2 Free SIM.

T-Mobile also will give you a free SIM but instead of data give you free SMS for topping up. With them, data on the handset is charged at 1 per day. I believe there are still some older deals that give you free data for topping up. T-Mobile free SIM card

Three will give you a free SIM, and used to give you some data for that but not anymore. See: Three free SIM
The biggest advantage with three is that they give you free Skype access which does not count towards your data allowance. Data is charged as follows:


GiffGaff will give you a free SIM too, and until the end of this month will get you completely free data. Thereafter, it will be charged at a cap of 50p/day for up 30MB. It will be charged at 20p/MB up to the cap, and after 30 MB/day.
To get a SIM see: GiffGaff Free SIM

Hopefully someone else can add in some info about other providers. I seem to have run out of time.

A very useful reference for all things to do with mobile data (including coverage) in the UK is this: Mobile Broadband ? reghardware

Last edited by petkow; 12-05-2010 at 11:18..
   
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vegemite (Offline)
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Default 17-05-2010, 08:12

That's it, for the UK I'm going Three pre-paid even though we already use Three in Australia, it makes sense just to get a UK pre-paid SIM. We'll only be in the UK for a week, so do we just pop in to a Three store and pick up a data SIM? Do you need ID or anything to get it?


HTC Desire (unlocked UK version) / Nokia E71 (Wife's phone) / 3 Australia Post Paid SIM (both)

Looking for data / voice SIMS for Europe in August 2010 - UK, France, Italy, Austria, Croatia and Bosnia
   
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petkow (Offline)
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Default 17-05-2010, 09:48

No I do not think you'll need any ID or anything. It should all be pretty straight forward.
   
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siskiou (Offline)
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Default 23-05-2010, 19:44

I picked up an unlocked usb stick (Novatel MC950D) and a couple of sim cards for the UK so far.
Have not received the modem yet, but wonder what kind of connection manager I should use, and how to go about activating the sim cards.
Do I activate via cell phone (I have an old, unlocked one I'll be taking along), or can it be done via the netbook and software.
Same with adding more credit to the cards, if needed. Can that be done via software and credit card (US cc card)? Do I need to register with the company the cards are from?

And what kind of a sim for t-mobile would I need to get the "buy your first day for two pounds, get 30 days of unlimited internet" payg deals.

Thanks in advance for any info and I hope I posted in the appropriate thread!
   
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inquisitor (Offline)
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Default 24-05-2010, 12:20

Quote:
Originally Posted by siskiou View Post
I picked up an unlocked usb stick (Novatel MC950D) and a couple of sim cards for the UK so far.
Have not received the modem yet, but wonder what kind of connection manager I should use, and how to go about activating the sim cards.
Your 3G stick has an integrated flashmemory, on which there's a dashboard software and drivers, that will start installation automatically after plugging in. There's a guide at Downloads: Novatel Wireless Ovation MC950D/MC930D USB Modem - HSHPA/HSDPA/UTMS

Quote:
Do I activate via cell phone (I have an old, unlocked one I'll be taking along), or can it be done via the netbook and software.
I think both SIMs from T-Mobile UK and 3UK should come activated right out of the box. At least I can't remember having activated my SIMs from these two and also the 2 years old user guide from T-Mobile, I have in front me, doesn't mention any activation procedure.

Just remember to configure the correct access points (APN) in Novatel's dashboard "Mobilink-Lite" before you try to connect: three.co.uk and general.t-mobile.uk

Even registration, which can be done online for both SIMs, seems to be voluntary. T-Mobile just wanted my name, birthday and a postal code, which I took from a bag of chips, while my 3UK SIM is still unregistered.

Quote:
Same with adding more credit to the cards, if needed. Can that be done via software and credit card (US cc card)? Do I need to register with the company the cards are from?
You can top up credit with both companies online through their websites, but both seem to do not accept foreign credit cards (except for T-Mobile, who accepted my German AmEx).
Check http://www.prepaidgsm.net/forum/euro...html#post32582 for details on topping up UK SIMs, where I mentioned an online shop selling top up vouchers for all major UK operators even to foreigners.

Those top up vouchers can be redeemed online under Pay as you go - Topping up online - T-Mobile and https://my3.three.co.uk/myaccount/activateVoucher.done

Probably there's also an USSD-based method of submitting top up vouchers, but I don't know if Novatel's dashboard supports USSD and it's also unclear if MDMA, a practical tool for data devices, will submit USSD commands properly, as it doesn't support your stick fully. At least you won't get any feedback from MDMA.

Quote:
And what kind of a sim for t-mobile would I need to get the "buy your first day for two pounds, get 30 days of unlimited internet" payg deals.
I think you just have to start using mobile broadband on the 2 tariff (which should be preactivated according to the following quote from T-Mobile's website) and you'll get those 30 days automatically.

"Choose from 2 a day, 7 a week (roughly 1 a day) or 15 a month (roughly 50p a day) pricing options. Your USB modem stick will be set up to 2 a day when it arrives, but it's easy to change to one of the other pricing options. Simply log in to My T-Mobile and follow the simple steps."

But perhaps this promo is online valid for SIMs sold with 3G sticks, but not for regular voice SIMs.


terminals: Samsung: Galaxy S5 DuoS (G900FD); BLU: Win HD LTE; Nokia: 1200; Asus: Fonepad 7 ME372CG; Huawei data: E3372, Vodafone R201, K3765, E1762;
postpaid: O2 on Business XL; prepaid: DE: Aldi Talk, Lidl; UK: 3; BG: MTel, vivacom; RU: MTS; RS: MTS; UAE: du Tourist SIM; INT'L: toggle mobile
VoIP: sipgate.de (German DID); sipgate.co.uk (British DID); ukddi.com (British DID); sipcall.ch (Swiss DID); megafon.bg (Bulgarian DID); InterVoip.com

Last edited by inquisitor; 24-05-2010 at 12:33..
   
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siskiou (Offline)
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Default 01-06-2010, 04:27

Thanks for all the excellent info! I'll report back about how it goes, once I'm over there.
   
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vegemite (Offline)
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Default 12-06-2010, 13:40

Is pre-paid Three data any good? my wife and I are on Three in Australia, but we want to get UK SIMS when we're there for a few days to get cheaper data and calls to each other.


HTC Desire (unlocked UK version) / Nokia E71 (Wife's phone) / 3 Australia Post Paid SIM (both)

Looking for data / voice SIMS for Europe in August 2010 - UK, France, Italy, Austria, Croatia and Bosnia
   
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siskiou (Offline)
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Default 01-11-2010, 22:34

I'm back from my trip and reporting in:
in the UK, I used a three (3) data card, with three months internet access included. It was fast enough for email and surfing, which was all I needed, and I never came close to the data limit (3Gig for three months).
It worked without doing anything extra, while the T-mobile sim I had was pretty much useless. I never did get to a T-mobile webpage to sign up for a plan and the people at a couple of T-mobile stores could not help, either.
   
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1040Berlin (Offline)
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Default 03-05-2011, 10:50

Update:

Do not make too much effort to get a "free SIM card". 1-Pound-Shops sell the starter card for 99p (0,99 GB). Look for a 99p Store to pick a Three SIM card or for Poundstretcher to pick (nearly) any Payg SIM card.

And there are more of these, help yourself at Wikipedia.

Once you picked the starter card you need a voucher to top up. This is easy too. Look for the green top up symbol (pointer in a mobile phone). You can even buy a voucher at the airport in a Superdrug store.

The cheapest way to get internet access is to use T-mobile:
1.) Get a starter SIM card (0.99 GBP)
2.) Get a 5 GBP voucher (minimum) and activate it (call 150)
3.) Send a text message WEB to 150 to book a "booster" for five days of data access (2.50 GBP) (More boosters here). Be aware the subnote: "*Subject to a fair use limit of 500MB a month".
4.) Use the APN general.t-mobile.uk as explained earlier in this thread.

(T-Mobile coverage-checker)

Some notes about the Three network:
There are three different Payg price plans initially used with the starter SIM card. If you did not pick the right one (Poundstretcher has all the three) call the hotline (AFAIR 333, free of charge) and ask them to change the plan (free of charge).

For the purposes discussed here two options are useful:
- All-in-one 15: You get "all-you-can-eat" data usage for 15 GBP
- Broadband Lite: You get an allowance of 1GB data for 10 GBP

If you use the Three internet access with your notebook the APN is "3internet" (in your settings without quotation marks).

Look up Tariff details (PDF) and Coverage map

To register as a user you need to give them "your UK residential post code". Use any
   
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nic (Offline)
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Default 24-05-2011, 10:38

Also on the 3UK network they include skype calling, so useful for skype to skype back home without worrying about data charges.


On the GiffGaff (prepaid MVNO using O2) network they offer "truly unlimited" data on their 10 and above goody bags

Last edited by nic; 24-05-2011 at 10:45..
   
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