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Motel75 (Offline)
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Default Price increases all around for UK prepaid - 18-11-2010, 08:54

I was checking the current offers for the major UK operators and it seems all have increased their prepaid rates significantly over the last couple of years. The billing increment is now pretty much 60/1 for everyone, and the per-minute rate is 20-25p (T-Mobile has a 10p cpmmunity tariff but is otherwise 25p; Vodafone 21p, etc). The price cap for mobile internet is now generally one pound per day, up from 30-50p. On the plus side, all except Virgin offer cheap international calls as a bolt-on package. (Virgin now seems to be the least competitive prepaid provider - its international rates haven't changed since 1999.)

So gone are the days of 15p/min for the first 5 min per day and 5p after that with one-second billing.

Granted, the pound has lost a bit of value lately, but I wonder if the Orange-TMO merger, and the neglect of "Mobile by Virgin Media" aren't major factors here.


Current DE: Vodafone, Netzklub; PL: Klucz, Virgin; UK: Giffgaff; US: T-Mobile; IT: Vodafone; UA: Kyivstar; FR: Bouygues; GR: Vodafone
Former DE: Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2, Blauworld, 01051mobile, Solomo, Lycamobile, Simyo, Congstar, Fonic, Edeka Mobile, Lidl Mobile; PL: Heyah, Era, Virgin, Sami Swoi, Orange, POP, iPlus, Carrefour Mova, Telepin Mobi, Play, Lycamobile, T-Mobile; UK: Vodafone, T-Mobile, Virgin; US: T-Mobile, AT&T, Lycamobile; CZ: Vodafone, Oskar; ES: Lebara; GR: Vodafone, Wind; UA: Vodafone; IL: Orange; TR: Turkcell
   
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petkow (Offline)
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Default 18-11-2010, 16:16

Though they are no longer as good value as they have been in the past, there are all sorts of offers still available on prepaids in the UK. I believe the smart-step billing (x p/min for first so many minutes, and then y p/min thereafter) is still available on some networks. (perhaps o2). There is quite a useful comparison page listing all UK prepaid offers at the moment:
PAYG Tariffs

When discussing UK prepaid rates, it is important to look beyond just the price per minute as it is also worth noting that unlike prepaids in other parts of the world (where you basically get what you pay for), most UK prepaid SIMs also give users additional bonuses just for making a topup. These are nice, as the credit that you have topped up with still stays in place, as the bonus does not 'cost' up any credit. The bonuses can be used for several things such as free texts, free calls to landlines, and some which give you international calls. These ones are possibly of most interest to tourists and I have detailed them below:

1. O2 has a tariff called "Your Country" which provides 200 minutes of free international calls if a customer makes a £30 top-up during a single month. It also provides 10p international SMS. Fewer minutes are given away with smaller topups... see below).

Monthly top up,Credit given,Free minutes
£10 £10 50
£15 £15 100
£30 £30 200
See: http://www.o2.co.uk/yourcountry

2. T-Mobile has a tariff that gives you £10 of extra credit that can be used for making international calls only on weekends (upto 200mins depending on destination), if a customer top-ups with £10 during the previous week.
See: http://www.t-mobile.co.uk/shop/free-...nal-sim-cards/

3. Orange offers a tariff called Camel which provides 240 minutes of free international calls if a customer makes a £30 top-up in a month. (and 60 with a £10 topup, and 120 with a £20 topup)
See: http://www1.orange.co.uk/service_pla...mel_costs.html



Apart from other international calling packages provided by the networks themselves, I think one of the better offers is to use a shortcode from YourCallWorld (or some other company like that) and make international calls starting at 3p/min. These can also be used to make calls to the UK (via a foreign gateway) for cheaper than the rates offered by the network directly. Mind you, these short codes only work on Orange, 3 or T-Mobile prepaid SIM cards.

If you are interested in a dedicated package for higher levels of international calling then o2 easily tops the list. I do not know if I have mentioned it before here yet, but "o2 International Favourites" gives its users (including prepaid users) a full 50hours (3000 minutes) to three chosen international landline numbers. This option costs just £10 and is valid for one month at a time. (It can be paid for out of prepaid credit). In addition for £20 per month, customers will get 3,000 landline minutes and 200 mobile minutes to five international numbers. However, it is worth noting that calls to mobiles in some countries are classed as landlines. (e.g. USA, Canada, India, China, Hong Kong)

The deal covers calls to 60 countries. Also nice is that they provide you with an incoming number in your country of choice (45 countries covered I believe). This is good for your contacts to be able to call you at local rates.

Last edited by petkow; 18-11-2010 at 16:54..
   
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babble (Offline)
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Default O2 "Pay & Go" Tariffs and "Bolt Ons" - 18-11-2010, 21:06

Great summary, Petkow. I would just like to add a little more information about the O2 "Pay & Go" Tariffs and the "Pay & Go Bolt Ons".

Some of the o2 "Pay & GO" Tariffs include "unlimited" access to the "BT-Openzone" and "The Cloud" wifi networks. For example, check the "Simplicity Tariff" and "Text and Web for Blackberry" tariffs.
O2 - Pay & Go tariffs. Get 10% of top-ups back and surprises


Alternatively, a "Blackberry Bolt On" can add wifi access to some of the other o2 "Pay & Go" Tariffs for only 5 pounds!
O2 - Get a Pay & Go Bolt On for extra minutes, texts or internet


This is how to set up Wi-Fi on an O2 sim:
O2 | iPhone Wi-fi | How to set up Wi-fi on your phone
   
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Default 19-11-2010, 10:52

Speaking for myself, it seems either Vodafone or T-Mobile is the best offer, probably Vodafone - mainly because of the free 60 international minutes with a 10 pound topup, and the fact that web browsing costs 50p a day (not GBP 1 with TMO) and the ubiquitous 0845 numbers, which many companies now use and I am forced to call a lot, are 25p with VF and 40p with TMO.

Unless Virgin suddenly starts to compete on price again, I do plan to switch from Virgin when I'm back in the UK in a couple of months (I'm on Virgin Direct Debit, which costs 35p to other networks - not good). Couple things I'm not clear about:

Can you port a number to an existing SIM? Or do you have to go to the official Vf/TMO shop with PAC code and get one there?

As far as expiration goes, Virgin claims you need a billable action every 180 days, but experience suggests it's really 365 or more (this has been a major reason for me to stick with VM). VF and TMO both require billable actions every 180 days. Is this correct, or is there more leeway?


Current DE: Vodafone, Netzklub; PL: Klucz, Virgin; UK: Giffgaff; US: T-Mobile; IT: Vodafone; UA: Kyivstar; FR: Bouygues; GR: Vodafone
Former DE: Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2, Blauworld, 01051mobile, Solomo, Lycamobile, Simyo, Congstar, Fonic, Edeka Mobile, Lidl Mobile; PL: Heyah, Era, Virgin, Sami Swoi, Orange, POP, iPlus, Carrefour Mova, Telepin Mobi, Play, Lycamobile, T-Mobile; UK: Vodafone, T-Mobile, Virgin; US: T-Mobile, AT&T, Lycamobile; CZ: Vodafone, Oskar; ES: Lebara; GR: Vodafone, Wind; UA: Vodafone; IL: Orange; TR: Turkcell
   
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Default 19-11-2010, 11:14

Sorry, I forgot to mention the Vodafone bonus in my post above. As for web access, I think it is best to get a GiffGaff SIM that have recently again extended their free web access offer to the end of Feb 2011.

For 0845 numbers, I am sure you are aware of the site called saynoto0870.com that list geographic alternatives to many 0845 numbers. Also, if you are likely to be calling UK non geographic numbers, it is worth saving this number in your mobile: 0330 377 37 37. This is a normal geographic gateway that works for several such numbers. It is database driven and new numbers are constantly being added to it. If you try using it for a number that is not supported, it automatically logs the number and chances are it may be added in future.
   
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Default 19-11-2010, 11:43

Brilliant tips, thanks!


Current DE: Vodafone, Netzklub; PL: Klucz, Virgin; UK: Giffgaff; US: T-Mobile; IT: Vodafone; UA: Kyivstar; FR: Bouygues; GR: Vodafone
Former DE: Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2, Blauworld, 01051mobile, Solomo, Lycamobile, Simyo, Congstar, Fonic, Edeka Mobile, Lidl Mobile; PL: Heyah, Era, Virgin, Sami Swoi, Orange, POP, iPlus, Carrefour Mova, Telepin Mobi, Play, Lycamobile, T-Mobile; UK: Vodafone, T-Mobile, Virgin; US: T-Mobile, AT&T, Lycamobile; CZ: Vodafone, Oskar; ES: Lebara; GR: Vodafone, Wind; UA: Vodafone; IL: Orange; TR: Turkcell
   
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Default 19-11-2010, 14:44

How about roaming within the eu for data?

Also one other thing should be noted.....UK sim cards are for the most part FREE (or have been unless recently changed) and with the exception of O2, can be topped up for as little as £5. Also most do not require a top up every 6 months or so to remain active....any paid event will do the trick and with Orange, it's a full 12 months.
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Default 19-11-2010, 15:00

Check my math on this...I'm thinking of the vodafone plan (and I'm referring here about calls to the USA and Canada where all calls are considered landlines. £10 top up for 60 minutes...sounds fantastic but that means £1 for 6 minutes or between 16p and 17p per minute. The vodafone international plan (as well as the T Mobile International plan) is 5p/minute to North America and nothing up front.......is my math correct and so at least if you're not calling mobile within Europe, you do better without the add on (or have I messed up my math)...Orange camel is 6p/minute to North America.

None of which compares to YCW which is 3p/minute to North America timed to the second BTW.
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Default 19-11-2010, 15:40

Yep, YCW is a big factor in favor of T-Mobile. Voda dropping the roaming fees last year was a big factor in favor of them. (etc. etc.)

So: Orange and Virgin are 1 year between billable events to stay alive. Are the others really only 180 days, or is it a bit longer in reality?


Current DE: Vodafone, Netzklub; PL: Klucz, Virgin; UK: Giffgaff; US: T-Mobile; IT: Vodafone; UA: Kyivstar; FR: Bouygues; GR: Vodafone
Former DE: Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2, Blauworld, 01051mobile, Solomo, Lycamobile, Simyo, Congstar, Fonic, Edeka Mobile, Lidl Mobile; PL: Heyah, Era, Virgin, Sami Swoi, Orange, POP, iPlus, Carrefour Mova, Telepin Mobi, Play, Lycamobile, T-Mobile; UK: Vodafone, T-Mobile, Virgin; US: T-Mobile, AT&T, Lycamobile; CZ: Vodafone, Oskar; ES: Lebara; GR: Vodafone, Wind; UA: Vodafone; IL: Orange; TR: Turkcell
   
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petkow (Offline)
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Default 20-11-2010, 11:06

Quote:
Originally Posted by MATHA531 View Post
Check my math on this...I'm thinking of the vodafone plan (and I'm referring here about calls to the USA and Canada where all calls are considered landlines. £10 top up for 60 minutes...sounds fantastic but that means £1 for 6 minutes or between 16p and 17p per minute. The vodafone international plan (as well as the T Mobile International plan) is 5p/minute to North America and nothing up front.......is my math correct and so at least if you're not calling mobile within Europe, you do better without the add on (or have I messed up my math)...Orange camel is 6p/minute to North America.

None of which compares to YCW which is 3p/minute to North America timed to the second BTW.
I don“t think the Math is correct, but will admit I don“t know much about the Vodafone deal. Doesn“t it give you the 60 free mins as a bonus for a 10 quid topup, AND you still have the 10 pounds as credit? Of course that credit could be used to make more calls to the USA and Canada via the 5p/min deal. At the end of the day the combined price per minute is quite good indeed.

I suppose another efficient way of doing so would be to call a a Betamax local access number (at normal UK landline rates). Betamax/Finarea/Dellmont effectively gives you the USA and Canada for free. If you are planning on making long calls to the USA this way, it would be worth adding Vodafone Stop the clock which gives you 1 hours calling to UK landlines but just charges you for 3mins.
   
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