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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 Jan 29, 16, 4:05 pm
  #286  
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Originally Posted by manda99 View Post
That's what I'll be doing though. I'll have the sims activated for 6 months and used outside the uk before they are used in the uk.
I think (and do check) if you do that and fall foul of the 3 months stuff* they just kill off the Feel At Home Discount so that costs of everything will go up to the normal roaming prices i.e. expensive. Three have fairly good social media for answering questions like this.

*and to do so I think (but again do check) you would need to buy an add on every month and use the purchased minutes/texts/data.
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Old Feb 4, 16, 12:40 pm
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I purchased 3 sim cards from eBay and I am confused about what I need to add the £20 unlimited plan. When I login to my account I get this message when I try to look at my balance or click on the add-on section

There is a problem:
Sorry, this service is currently unavailable. Please try again later.

I am still in the states right now and we are traveling on Sunday and arriving in France first before traveling to the UK.

Do I need to insert the sim card here in the states and turn off wifi to add a topup voucher then convert it to the addon?
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Old Feb 4, 16, 3:42 pm
  #288  
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Originally Posted by dobosininja View Post
I purchased 3 sim cards from eBay and I am confused about what I need to add the £20 unlimited plan. When I login to my account I get this message when I try to look at my balance or click on the add-on section

There is a problem:
Sorry, this service is currently unavailable. Please try again later.

I am still in the states right now and we are traveling on Sunday and arriving in France first before traveling to the UK.

Do I need to insert the sim card here in the states and turn off wifi to add a topup voucher then convert it to the addon?
I would put the SIM in the phone as it sounds like they are not activated yet.
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Old Feb 4, 16, 4:03 pm
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post
I would put the SIM in the phone as it sounds like they are not activated yet.
The seller said they were already activated.

I put the sim card into my S6 and after switching the phone to gsm it found service (with an R over the bars) and I got two text about roaming charges suck, and a text about the roaming cost.
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Old Feb 5, 16, 12:52 am
  #290  
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Originally Posted by dobosininja View Post
The seller said they were already activated.

I put the sim card into my S6 and after switching the phone to gsm it found service (with an R over the bars) and I got two text about roaming charges suck, and a text about the roaming cost.
OK, so that's good, perhaps this is the issue then, topping up abroad. This gives more details on how to topup and I wonder if it is objecting as you are roaming, perhaps it wants you to register a debit/credit card first. These are the ways to contact them and I do not know if they have a "chat" function that is just not open yet. You seem to be able to tweet them if that is your thing. The phone numbers they give that begin +44 7...... or 07 are mobile phone numbers so if you do call then bear in mind it may be more expensive to ring a mobile. If you are ringing from a landline in the US I would try +44 333 300 3333 first.
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Old Feb 5, 16, 7:10 am
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post
OK, so that's good, perhaps this is the issue then, topping up abroad. This gives more details on how to topup and I wonder if it is objecting as you are roaming, perhaps it wants you to register a debit/credit card first. These are the ways to contact them and I do not know if they have a "chat" function that is just not open yet. You seem to be able to tweet them if that is your thing. The phone numbers they give that begin +44 7...... or 07 are mobile phone numbers so if you do call then bear in mind it may be more expensive to ring a mobile. If you are ringing from a landline in the US I would try +44 333 300 3333 first.
Three will not accept a credit/debit card unless it has a UK billing address. I haven't tried a voucher from abroad (they expire after 90 days) so I have resorted to having a relative top it up from a UK ATM before I travel.
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Old Feb 5, 16, 7:36 am
  #292  
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Originally Posted by MADPhil View Post
Three will not accept a credit/debit card unless it has a UK billing address. I haven't tried a voucher from abroad (they expire after 90 days) so I have resorted to having a relative top it up from a UK ATM before I travel.
I am not with three, but for giffgaff (whom I am with) I have a Danish friend who uses a Danish credit card number but uses my UK address and that goes through ok (well it did when I last asked him last year). Anyway, it doesn't help the poster I guess.
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Old Feb 5, 16, 8:15 am
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post
I am not with three, but for giffgaff (whom I am with) I have a Danish friend who uses a Danish credit card number but uses my UK address and that goes through ok (well it did when I last asked him last year). Anyway, it doesn't help the poster I guess.
Using my relative's UK address works in some cases but not with Three - even if I try to use my UK debit card.
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Old Feb 5, 16, 11:16 am
  #294  
 
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Originally Posted by dobosininja View Post
I purchased 3 sim cards from eBay and I am confused about what I need to add the £20 unlimited plan. When I login to my account I get this message when I try to look at my balance or click on the add-on section

There is a problem:
Sorry, this service is currently unavailable. Please try again later.

I am still in the states right now and we are traveling on Sunday and arriving in France first before traveling to the UK.

Do I need to insert the sim card here in the states and turn off wifi to add a topup voucher then convert it to the addon?
I found the solution to my problem and it was just as I expected.

I used mobiletopup.co.uk and purchased a £20 voucher. I then used that voucher on the three website and as soon as I did it gave me the option to convert it directly to the £20 addon.
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Old Feb 5, 16, 12:35 pm
  #295  
 
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You may want to try topping up using a electronic top-up purchased from Kwikpay (kwikpay.co.uk) as they will accept PayPal and USA credit cards.

I prefer using PayPal as my credit card company always seems to make me call and verify the charges whenever I'm billed by Kwikpay, which is a hassle. (I suspect Visa is very vigilant when it comes to small charges billed from overseas when I'm at home and have not notified them of overseas travel).

The only slight complication is that you MAY need to install the Kwikpay App on your smartphone or tablet. It is supposed to work through their web site directly but logging in there often doesn't work for me. Their iPad/iPhone apps has been trouble-free.

P.S. Just processed a 5-pound top-up for my Tmobile-UK SIM card. It worked correctly, using the Kwikpay app.

Last edited by BrentHutto; Feb 5, 16 at 12:52 pm
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Old Feb 6, 16, 12:17 pm
  #296  
 
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I see that the wiki has not been updated in a while (Since Aug 2015) so I apologize if my questions were answered elsewhere; I'd just like to make sure I receive up to date info.

I'm from the US an I'll be traveling to the UK in July. I'll be in the UK for about a week. The type of thing I'd like would be a generous amount of 4G data, a minimal amount of minutes (I'll need probably about 30 mins just to call friends to see where they are) and texting is optional since I will most likely be using iMessage. Poking around a bit on my own, it seems like EE might be the way to go. Which provider does FTers prefer?

After UK, I'll be going to Hamburg, Germany for a day, then to Amsterdam, Netherlands for two days, then to Frankfurt, Germany for a day, before returning home. Is it a good idea to use a UK SIM to roam in these countries, or should I get SIMs in Germany and the Netherlands when I arrive there?
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Old Feb 7, 16, 5:42 am
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Originally Posted by diburning View Post
I see that the wiki has not been updated in a while (Since Aug 2015) so I apologize if my questions were answered elsewhere; I'd just like to make sure I receive up to date info.

I'm from the US an I'll be traveling to the UK in July. I'll be in the UK for about a week. The type of thing I'd like would be a generous amount of 4G data, a minimal amount of minutes (I'll need probably about 30 mins just to call friends to see where they are) and texting is optional since I will most likely be using iMessage. Poking around a bit on my own, it seems like EE might be the way to go. Which provider does FTers prefer?

After UK, I'll be going to Hamburg, Germany for a day, then to Amsterdam, Netherlands for two days, then to Frankfurt, Germany for a day, before returning home. Is it a good idea to use a UK SIM to roam in these countries, or should I get SIMs in Germany and the Netherlands when I arrive there?
If you're only going to Hamburg for a day it would not be worth it to get a Germany specific PAYG SIM. You could just roam on your UK SIM. (Seems to me that I remember that UK SIMs roam internationally.) Seems to me that I remember that the EU mandated reasonable roaming rates in Europe so you might consider that. Even for two days in the Netherlands I'm not sure that it's worth it to get a NL SIM though there are often PAYG SIM starter packs that you can get for around €5 with some gratis air time thrown in at such places as carphone warehouse in the NL (and I imagine also in DE.) Just make sure that you have fresh "top up" credit for your account.

This site has information. I've found that they don't always keep it up-to-date but you'll find which operators there are.

http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/germany.html

http://www.prepaidgsm.net/en/netherlands.php

Looks like Vodafone roaming is relatively cheap and only 16p/minute to roam in Germany.

16p/minute to roam in the Netherlands as well on Voda.

Less for texts of course.

http://www.vodafone.co.uk/explore/co...road/index.htm

HTH

(Did you know that Vodafone is "VOice/DAta?)
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Old Feb 7, 16, 8:08 am
  #298  
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Originally Posted by diburning View Post
I see that the wiki has not been updated in a while....SNIP
Toggle mobile might be a good choice as you can setup local numbers for those other countries you are visting and enjoy local rates:

Toggle mobile

I use them instead of getting a local US SIM. Does what I want from it, but I am not a heavy user of data.
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Old Feb 7, 16, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post
Toggle mobile might be a good choice as you can setup local numbers for those other countries you are visting and enjoy local rates:

Toggle mobile

I use them instead of getting a local US SIM. Does what I want from it, but I am not a heavy user of data.
I have a couple of Toggle SIMs too. Toggle offers a terrific system but their customer service is beyond awful. Still, if you go in with your eyes open, it can be a good deal.

Toggle's instructions say the card will automatically respond when you enter a different country. I burned through £16 of credit in one call when this did not work for me on returning to the US. After much frustration I discovered that requesting a "deadlock letter" was the incantation that shook loose a refund.

I was concerned about the very high cost of data outside the UK (£0.15/MB in France), but I found that disabling sync and using data cautiously kept the cost quite reasonable.
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Old Feb 8, 16, 4:45 am
  #300  
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Originally Posted by ajGoes View Post
I have a couple of Toggle SIMs too. Toggle offers a terrific system but their customer service is beyond awful. Still, if you go in with your eyes open, it can be a good deal.

Toggle's instructions say the card will automatically respond when you enter a different country. I burned through £16 of credit in one call when this did not work for me on returning to the US. After much frustration I discovered that requesting a "deadlock letter" was the incantation that shook loose a refund.

I was concerned about the very high cost of data outside the UK (£0.15/MB in France), but I found that disabling sync and using data cautiously kept the cost quite reasonable.
I have got lucky with their customer service in the past judging by what I hear from other people I know. I get canned responses when I ask them to add NZ as a local country, and I do find that part a bit poor.

As for the "automatic" - nope, it will not work for me either. I find that if I am able to select the country from the list then it seems to want me to select it manually. Automatic seems to work if the country is not on the list of countries in the toolkit that I can select from (I don't have them all in there as it is an old SIM now).

I am not a heavy user of data at all and like you I either get my fix on free wifi, or turn it on momenarily to pick up an email or look for a football result. I have a dual SIM phone and was thinking of getting a 3 SIM and using their 12GB of data only SIM in Feel At Home locations for £30. Or just carrying on with what I am doing now which has not really caused me any issues so far.
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