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Prepaid SIM - UK/Great Britain/England/Scotland/Wales

Prepaid SIM - UK/Great Britain/England/Scotland/Wales

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Old Jul 26, 17, 10:07 pm   -   Wikipost
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This is a stub Wiki for this thread - the idea is that any member can edit it to keep it up to date as a distillation of the best info from the thread.

3 - 200MB Free data SIM
3 - 15 pounds for 300 minutes, 3000 texts, and unlimited 3G data for a month (http://store.three.co.uk/view/searchSimOnly?tariff=112) The deal might not be dead but to buy the addon you need to switch WiFi off (!!) and open http://three.co.uk/my3 on your device as this unlinked support page says. Three customer service and store both says this doesn't work with tablets -- however customer service are idiots and doesn't know what is a tablet only knows phones and iPads (both phone and chat -- this is apparently company level). Tread carefully. Anyways, this method still worked on January 13, 2015.

Note the GBP15 all you can eat deal has now been pulled(Note 8/3/16: All in one with All you can eat data is now GBP25): http://www.threemicrosites.co.uk/AIO20B

If you don't want to buy a bundle or a plan, Three's flat rate for calls is now 3p per minute. The expiry time of one month or three months for topups has now been removed. So you pay only 3p per call minute for what you use.

Three's data is only 1p per MB, and you can buy packages (eg 500MB for 5 pounds). The packages ("add-ons") may not save money directly, but those data packages are eligible for use in "Feel at Home" countries (Australia, Austria, Denmark, Hong Kong, Italy, Indonesia, Macau, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Sweden, USA) at no extra charge. See http://support.three.co.uk/SRVS/CGI-...se=EXT(EM11925)


EE: http://shop.ee.co.uk/price-plans/free-sim

Vodafone: https://freesim.vodafone.co.uk

O2: https://www.o2.co.uk/freesim/

giffgaff: www.giffgaff.com/orders/affiliate/nfh (£5 free credit) or www.giffgaff.com/orders/free-sim (no free credit)

Three: https://www.three.co.uk/Support/Free_SIM/Order

How do I top up with an overseas card, or can I use PayPal?

Strangely, some firms insist that you must use a UK issued credit card to topup. Some do take PayPal:

Giffgaff
Vodafone

But it is not as prevalent as it should bein this day and age admittedly. There is a firm that some people have reported success with and they are:

https://www.mobiletopup.co.uk/

What frequencies are used in the UK?

There are a total of 5 different frequencies used in the UK used by the mobile networks to deliver their 2G, 3G and 4G mobile services.

800MHz (Band 20)
900MHz (Band 8)
1800MHz (Band 3)
2100MHz (Band 1)
2600MHz (Band 7)

Here's a chart for iPhones and which bands each model can use. http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/

If you're not sure which model you have, look on the back of your iPhone or go into Settings-->General-->About-->Legal-->Regulatory

iphone 5 users note that: iPhone 5 cannot get 4G/LTE on the 800MHz or 2600MHz frequencies but it can on the 1800 frequency.

For other users there are a number of resources to check the frequency your phone supports including:

Global Certification Forum

As an example this is the data for a Samsung J1 Ace SM-J111F

GSMARENA

What frequencies do the different operators use?

Each operator in the UK utilises different frequencies to deliver their mobile networks with the core networks being EE, O2, Vodafone and Three. Then there are also operators, called mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), who utilise the backend of the core networks to offer their own services.

The frequencies used by the major UK networks are:

EE (2G) 1800MHz (3G) 2100MHz (4G LTE) 1800MHz & 2600MHz

O2 (2G) 900MHz & 1800MHz (3G) 900MHz & 2100MHz (4G LTE) 800MHz

Vodafone (2G) 900MHz & 1800MHz (3G) 900MHz & 2100MHz (4G LTE) 800MHz & 2600MHz

Three (2G) N/A (3G) 2100MHz (4G LTE) 800MHz & 1800MHZ



The frequencies used by UK’s MVNO’s are listed below:

Asda Mobile (2G) 1800MHz (3G) 2100MHz (4G LTE) N/A

BT Mobile (2G) 1800MHz (3G) 2100MHz (4G LTE) 800MHz, 1800MHz & 2100MHz

iD Mobile (2G) N/A (3G) 2100MHz (4G LTE) 1800MHz

Freedom Pop (2G) N/A (3G) 2100MHz (4G LTE) 800MHz & 1800MHz

GiffGaff (2G) 900MHz (3G) 900MHz & 2100MHz (4G LTE) 800MHz

Lebara Mobile (2G) 900MHz (3G) 900MHz & 2100MHz (4G LTE) N/A

LycaMobile (2G) 900MHz (3G) 900MHz & 2100MHz (4G LTE) 800MHz

TalkMobile (2G) 900MHz (3G) 900MHz & 2100MHz (4G LTE) N/A

TalkTalk (2G) 900MHz (3G) 900MHz & 2100MHz (4G LTE) 800MHz

Tesco Mobile (2G) 900MHz (3G) 900MHz & 2100MHz (4G LTE) 800MHz

The People’s Operator (2G) 1800MHz (3G) 2100MHz (4G LTE) 800MHz, 1800MHz & 2100MHz

Virgin Mobile (2G) 1800MHz (3G) 2100MHz (4G LTE) 800MHz, 1800MHz, & 2600MHz

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Old Dec 19, 13, 9:05 am
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Ok..Thanks for the heads up. I am in to rush to get the USA number to keep this thing going. Though I do need to get the Data Bundle renewal shutoff. Hopefully, I can get them to do that without setting up the USA number first.
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Old Dec 19, 13, 11:50 am
  #152  
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Originally Posted by aster View Post
Three can be hit and miss. Loads of people complain about their substandard coverage and even in London I had numerous issues with them.

But if they happen to let you roam for free wherever it is you're going (Voda an T might have something similar with some destinations) then that might tip the balance in your favour.
3's coverage in HK is good IME.
In the UK I can receive coverage >95% of the time in London (except for some parts of the tube and in some buildings.)
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Old Dec 20, 13, 12:44 pm
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Toggle mobile report

Like jsmeeker I used a toggle sim, but in the Netherlands, germany, austria, slovakia, hungary, and London. I had a local number for Netherlands and germany, and obviously London. I also got a US number. I could not pay for the sim on line so they sent me one. Topped up with 30, got my local numbers before we left, and put it in my phones. As I was testing, i had my old galaxy nexus, and a BLU dash 4.5 dual sim. The BLU worked great in the first slot, not so much on the nexus. I am not sure why. It registered after about 5 minutes at LHR and i checked emails. It very often would lose the APN so be sure to write it down or memorize it, as I had to put the APN 5 or 6 times on the trip. (google keep is your friend). After I put in the APN again in Amsterdam it worked fine for data and voice. Data speed ok for google maps. Germany was a bit of a problem as it didn't want to connect but after rebooting the phone and putting the APN in again it worked fine. It roamed nicely in Austria, Bratislava, and Budapest. Back in London I did not have too much trouble with data, as was mentioned upthread. Overall it worked ok for us and I plan to keep the sim alive for our trip to france in a few months.

Last edited by boerne; Jan 1, 14 at 3:28 pm Reason: spelling
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Old Jan 1, 14, 10:47 am
  #154  
 
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Originally Posted by rkv View Post
However, I have also used the same Three SIM when roaming in France and Italy for data which is unlimited for £5 per day.
I'm unable to find any info on a £5 top-up to allow unlimited international data in France. I did find this, which mentions their "Feel At Home" plan, which means that you use your phone just like you're in the UK (same package rates apply). That mentions Italy being included.

Did they drop this other international plan since your post, or am I just missing it?
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Old Jan 17, 14, 10:52 am
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Hi - will be in the UK (London, GB, Scotland) for two weeks next month.

Lots of info here... what I'm most concerned about is data quality (and not price) through GB and Scotland.

I'll have my unlocked iPhone 5S (VZW).

Who has the best coverages? Is there any chance of LTE?

I figure i'll use about 2GB of data in those two weeks.
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Old Jan 17, 14, 2:38 pm
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Originally Posted by bkafrick View Post
Hi - will be in the UK (London, GB, Scotland) for two weeks next month.

Lots of info here... what I'm most concerned about is data quality (and not price) through GB and Scotland.

I'll have my unlocked iPhone 5S (VZW).

Who has the best coverages? Is there any chance of LTE?

I figure i'll use about 2GB of data in those two weeks.
No chance of LTE as your iPhone lacks the correct bands for the UK.

As for data, it really depends on where you are and the network coverage. If you're in urban areas 3 is as good as anyone. Further out you may struggle to get 3G - even with O2 and Vodafone.
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Old Jan 17, 14, 2:49 pm
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Originally Posted by MAN Pax View Post
No chance of LTE as your iPhone lacks the correct bands for the UK.

As for data, it really depends on where you are and the network coverage. If you're in urban areas 3 is as good as anyone. Further out you may struggle to get 3G - even with O2 and Vodafone.
That's not necessilary true. The Verizon 5s should support LTE on 3 UK.

Take a look at http://blog.three.co.uk/2013/02/20/s...-is-confirmed/

And
http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE

Other providers may not be fully supported since the VZW 5s doesn't have LTE 2600
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Old Jan 17, 14, 9:21 pm
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Originally Posted by IslesFan View Post
That's not necessilary true. The Verizon 5s should support LTE on 3 UK.
Well thats good news... Guess I'm willing to take a shot on the 3 UK network. I'll report back in late February!
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Old Jan 18, 14, 10:41 am
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Originally Posted by bkafrick View Post
Well thats good news... Guess I'm willing to take a shot on the 3 UK network. I'll report back in late February!
I should mention if you're used to Verizon/CDMA 3G(aka evdo) the UMTS/HSPA 3G is a heck of a lot faster. My friend in London E15 gets 10mbits on 3G on 3.
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Old Jan 18, 14, 12:05 pm
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Originally Posted by IslesFan View Post
That's not necessilary true. The Verizon 5s should support LTE on 3 UK.

Take a look at http://blog.three.co.uk/2013/02/20/s...-is-confirmed/

And
http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE

Other providers may not be fully supported since the VZW 5s doesn't have LTE 2600
3 Have only just started to trial 4G in London. The full rollout has yet to take place.
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Old Jan 19, 14, 7:55 am
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Originally Posted by MAN Pax View Post
3 Have only just started to trial 4G in London. The full rollout has yet to take place.
When I go to the 3 UK website, and look at coverage maps, it shows 4G in a bunch of places...

Pretty large rollout in London, followed by small rollout in Reading, Birmingham, and Manchester.

http://www.three.co.uk/support/Coverage?postcode=london

Has anyone actually used 4G/LTE on the 3 network?
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Old Jan 21, 14, 4:16 am
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Originally Posted by bkafrick View Post
When I go to the 3 UK website, and look at coverage maps, it shows 4G in a bunch of places...

Pretty large rollout in London, followed by small rollout in Reading, Birmingham, and Manchester.

http://www.three.co.uk/support/Coverage?postcode=london

Has anyone actually used 4G/LTE on the 3 network?
My coworker has a 5s on 3 and has never seen 4G/LTE service. We were just talking about this a few days ago. He thinks the data service he will see in the US next week will blow his mind.

Lives in EC1 and works in WC2 - very central.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 7:31 am
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Originally Posted by Consultette View Post
My coworker has a 5s on 3 and has never seen 4G/LTE service. We were just talking about this a few days ago. He thinks the data service he will see in the US next week will blow his mind.
It can be very impressive. I recently measured 24.66 Mbps download with 73 msec ping time on an LTE connection. This was at home, where my landline DSL is not so impressive -- 1.85 Mbps download. Landline broadband is generally not great in the States. I live at the far end of DSL service, in a spot where the local cable company hasn't extended its service, so I pay for two nominally 3 Mbps DSL lines and use a load-balancing router to make them as useful as possible.

Last edited by ajGoes; Jan 21, 14 at 7:45 am
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Old Jan 21, 14, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
It can be very impressive. I recently measured 24.66 Mbps download with 73 msec ping time on an LTE connection. This was at home, where my landline DSL is not so impressive -- 1.85 Mbps download
Oh wow - DSL?! You must have the patience of a saint. As for 4G/LTE, it's funny how we take things like that for granted here in the States where it is becoming pretty common. I thought my coworker was making up fairy tales until another coworker confirmed that the UK is a bit behind the US in that regard.
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Old Jan 21, 14, 1:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Consultette View Post
Oh wow - DSL?! You must have the patience of a saint. As for 4G/LTE, it's funny how we take things like that for granted here in the States where it is becoming pretty common. I thought my coworker was making up fairy tales until another coworker confirmed that the UK is a bit behind the US in that regard.
I dunno about patience -- we don't have an alternative, so we use what we can get. Our narrowband DSL was a huge improvement over what we had before: a 3G EVDO cell modem, with an external truckers' antenna, plugged into a CradlePoint router. That was before LTE appeared in our area, obviously. Now that we've got two DSL lines and a load balancer, it feels like the lap of luxury. And, if I'm in a rush, I can always use my phone's grandfathered "unlimited" LTE. (It isn't really unlimited, even though Verizon advertised it as such, but we've never gotten one of the dreaded cutoff notices they've been known to send.)

We can usually stream Netflix at HD resolution, and we just schedule big downloads to run when they don't hog too much bandwidth.
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