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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 10, 15, 6:14 pm
  #256  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 152
UK Sim for Unlocked iPhone 6Plus

I have been using 3 for the last couple of years because it was the most compatible with my old Samsung Mega and they had great rates. However, the service wasn't the best, even in London.

I now have an unlocked iPhone 6 Plus that should work with just about any UK SIM. I'll be using my phone for data, local calls and calls back to the US. I was thinking of either EE International or O2 International but would welcome any suggestions.

Thanks.
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Old Dec 13, 15, 6:35 pm
  #257  
 
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Originally Posted by Nancy Colson View Post
I have been using 3 for the last couple of years because it was the most compatible with my old Samsung Mega and they had great rates. However, the service wasn't the best, even in London.

I now have an unlocked iPhone 6 Plus that should work with just about any UK SIM. I'll be using my phone for data, local calls and calls back to the US. I was thinking of either EE International or O2 International but would welcome any suggestions.

Thanks.
Don't pay for international plans, use Hangouts to call/text the US for free.

I use Three and I live in London. Yeah, the service is bad... but the others are only marginally better to be honest.
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Old Dec 23, 15, 8:50 am
  #258  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
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Originally Posted by osamede View Post
3:
- buy a SIM for 99p in a corner shop, phone shop etc
- at same place or a tesco Express etc buy a top up voucher with a value of at least 15 pounds
- insert SIM in device
- reboot
- call 444 from the phone to top up using the voucher number you bought
- enter the 16 digit voucher number when prompted
- when you get a confirmation that you have the credit on the account, wait on the line, dont hang up
- you get asked if you want to buy an add-on
- type 1, and then 1 again
- select the All-in-one 15 pound add on ( http://store.three.co.uk/view/searchSimOnly?tariff=1129
- you now have unlimited 4G data for the month, plus 300 minutes and 3000 texts ( http://www.three.co.uk/_standalone/P...=1220464365215)
- if you add on more money into your account before leaving the UK, you can also use the card while roaming in several other European countries for a flat rate per day
So I see that the 15gbp promo isn't working anymore and I think (from their website) it's 20 pounds, but does this otherwise work? Trying to decide if 3 or EE is best option for us.

Details - 7 day trip in London, will be buying sims upon arrival. Definitely want data, probably want to be able to call between 2 phones (though could text if necessary). We have two android phones from the US (we've successfully used PAYG sims in Costa Rica and Germany) We'll have wifi in our apartment so mainly want the data for maps & searching when we're out and about - for 7 days I can't imagine we'll need unlimited data, but probably more than 3 or 5?

Last edited by Hoyaheel; Dec 23, 15 at 12:53 pm
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Old Dec 23, 15, 9:44 am
  #259  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
So I see that the 15gbp promo isn't working anymore and I think (from their website) it's 20 pounds, but does this otherwise work? Trying to decide if 3 or EE is best option for us.
These are the current offers that may be the most use:

All in One 10
Now get 100 minutes, 3,000 texts and 500MB internet on your phone for just £10 (lasts 30 days).
£10.00
.
All in One 20
Now get 300 minutes, 3,000 texts and all-you-can-eat data for just £20 (lasts 30 days).
£20.00

Note that you also get 150MB of data free when you top up. Calls to the US are 3p/min if you use a code.
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Old Dec 23, 15, 11:28 am
  #260  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
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So if I do opt for a 3 sim & plan - do I need to go to a 3 store in London? Or, as described in the post I copied above - can I get a cheap sim anywhere and then buy a voucher to top up and do the rest over the phone?

(the three stores aren't really close to the apartment we're renting so that's not our ideal choice - but we can do it if it's the only way) Thanks!!
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Old Dec 23, 15, 12:26 pm
  #261  
 
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Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
So if I do opt for a 3 sim & plan - do I need to go to a 3 store in London? Or, as described in the post I copied above - can I get a cheap sim anywhere and then buy a voucher to top up and do the rest over the phone?

(the three stores aren't really close to the apartment we're renting so that's not our ideal choice - but we can do it if it's the only way) Thanks!!
You should be able to buy one at Heathrow... either at a sim vending machine, or I think a boots store.
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Old Dec 23, 15, 12:54 pm
  #262  
 
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Originally Posted by IslesFan View Post
You should be able to buy one at Heathrow... either at a sim vending machine, or I think a boots store.
Thanks! (is that a generic cheap sim or a specific 3 brand?)
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Old Dec 23, 15, 1:01 pm
  #263  
 
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Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
Thanks! (is that a generic cheap sim or a specific 3 brand?)
When I did it last summer, it was a 3 sim with the(at the time) all in one 15 plan preloaded. It was £20 and was valid 30 days from first registration of the sim on the network(aka when I put the sim in my phone).
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Old Dec 23, 15, 1:05 pm
  #264  
 
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Originally Posted by IslesFan View Post
When I did it last summer, it was a 3 sim with the(at the time) all in one 15 plan preloaded. It was £20 and was valid 30 days from first registration of the sim on the network(aka when I put the sim in my phone).
That sounds ideal - we shall look for that! (presumably with the 10 or 20 plan at those prices)
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Old Dec 23, 15, 1:44 pm
  #265  
 
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Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
That sounds ideal - we shall look for that! (presumably with the 10 or 20 plan at those prices)
I should also mention I added £10 to the sim before I left the UK, and 18 months later it still has £9.90 on it(according to the three site my sim never expires).
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Old Dec 23, 15, 1:55 pm
  #266  
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
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Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
So if I do opt for a 3 sim & plan - do I need to go to a 3 store in London? Or, as described in the post I copied above - can I get a cheap sim anywhere and then buy a voucher to top up and do the rest over the phone?
I believe that the sim you can get out of a machine at the baggage claim comes preloaded. You can also buy them at W.H. Smith with no airtime and purchase a top-up at the register. In the UK top-ups are sold as a code on the register print out. There is also a store land side which sells phones and sims but I'm not sure what the options are. You then follow instructions on the phone or online to use your credit to buy an add-on.
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Old Dec 24, 15, 6:13 am
  #267  
 
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Good information! Confusing for us to try the first time, but at least it will be an improvement on trying to do this in Germany last year (as neither of us speak German ;-)
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Old Dec 28, 15, 11:37 am
  #268  
 
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Originally Posted by Hoyaheel View Post
Thanks! (is that a generic cheap sim or a specific 3 brand?)
You're not going to find anything for the cheapest price at heathrow, whether than be a SIM or a bottle of water. Once you get in london there are a million cheap corner shops and phone shops where you can do this. The more obscure the better.


Also dont bother going to the 3 shops in London - they are inefficient, so you will wait a long time and line and not very friendly either. You can do all of this without even meeting them.

Last edited by osamede; Dec 28, 15 at 11:50 am
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Old Jan 2, 16, 12:10 pm
  #269  
 
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Went to ee store in Victoria Station (closest to our rental in Pimlico and we did some grocery shopping nearby as well). Two 15 £ sim cards, 2g data, unlimited texts and some amount of phone minutes as well. Took about 10 minutes total and working great so far. Very happy - thanks for the recommendations and guidance!
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Old Jan 13, 16, 5:09 pm
  #270  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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I have a GiffGaff PAYG sim which I got about a week ago and I am leaving London tomorrow. Its still got three weeks left (package is 1GB data and 500 odd mins of calling, of which I've only used about 200MB of data and about 50 mins of calling). The card also has 5GBP of credit on it.

If anyone wants the sim card (its nano), can you PM me and I'll get my old man to pop it in the post on Friday (delivery only within the UK).

Just to add, heading to bed now, so will respond to PMs (if I get any) in the morning, first come first serve naturally.
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