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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 Feb 22, 16, 11:36 am
  #316  
 
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Originally Posted by bobert24 View Post
Was this the W.H Smith at LHR? They didn't require an overpriced top up or anything?
It was at LHR and I had to ask for a top up in addition. You get the full top up value that you pay for.

I don't know what other SIMs they carry but there were several.
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Old Feb 22, 16, 12:58 pm
  #317  
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Originally Posted by bobert24 View Post
Was this the W.H Smith at LHR? They didn't require an overpriced top up or anything?
What do you mean by an "overpriced" top-up ? You buy whatever top-up you want and then apply it.
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Old Feb 22, 16, 1:23 pm
  #318  
 
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post
What do you mean by an "overpriced" top-up ? You buy whatever top-up you want and then apply it.
I think that the SIMs in the vending machine come pre-loaded but cost rather more than 99 pence plus the loaded value.
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Old Feb 22, 16, 1:27 pm
  #319  
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Originally Posted by MADPhil View Post
I think that the SIMs in the vending machine come pre-loaded but cost rather more than 99 pence plus the loaded value.
I thought that at first, but the poster mentioned WH Smith so it seemed an odd question. We shall see.
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Old Feb 22, 16, 2:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post
I thought that at first, but the poster mentioned WH Smith so it seemed an odd question. We shall see.
I think the poster was referring back to the post about the vending machine bundled SIMs but asking about my WH Smith suggestion. Hence my response.
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Old Feb 22, 16, 3:23 pm
  #321  
 
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Originally Posted by MADPhil View Post
I think the poster was referring back to the post about the vending machine bundled SIMs but asking about my WH Smith suggestion. Hence my response.
Correct. I know there are lots of places (vending machines, SimLocal, etc.) that you can buy a SIM with credit on it, but it costs a good bit more than the value of the SIM plus that credit. I was just looking for clarification that W.H. Smith didn't rip you off like that. This is definitely good info to have - the last time I was there (which, admittedly, was a few years ago) I looked for SIMs in the W.H. Smith at LHR, and they didn't have them. Glad to know they've got them, and they're not overpriced - buying them there is a little more convenient for me than waiting until I get into the city.
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Old Feb 22, 16, 3:55 pm
  #322  
 
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I have a USA Verizon iPhone 5 which uses a nano-SIM rather than the older full-sized ones. A year ago it seemed the nano size wasn't as universally available as the full-size but that may have changed lately.

My UK SIM is with Tmobile-UK (which means it is actually EE) and I found top-ups to be very widely available although I did not ask specifically at WH Smith. My most recent topup was purchased at a random gas station/convenience store in Stockport.
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Old Feb 22, 16, 3:57 pm
  #323  
 
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Originally Posted by bobert24 View Post
Correct. I know there are lots of places (vending machines, SimLocal, etc.) that you can buy a SIM with credit on it, but it costs a good bit more than the value of the SIM plus that credit. I was just looking for clarification that W.H. Smith didn't rip you off like that. This is definitely good info to have - the last time I was there (which, admittedly, was a few years ago) I looked for SIMs in the W.H. Smith at LHR, and they didn't have them. Glad to know they've got them, and they're not overpriced - buying them there is a little more convenient for me than waiting until I get into the city.
The SIMs are well hidden so I had to ask a member of staff. Actually, it's not so much that they are well hidden as that they don't take up much space and are easily overlooked.
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Old Feb 22, 16, 4:26 pm
  #324  
 
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Originally Posted by MADPhil View Post
W.H. Smith sells 3 and other SIMs. The 3 SIM cost me GBP 0.99.
A 3 paygo SIM cost me GBP 1.00 at Sainsbury's. The 3 store I tried had run out.
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Old Feb 22, 16, 5:24 pm
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Originally Posted by BrentHutto View Post
I have a USA Verizon iPhone 5 which uses a nano-SIM rather than the older full-sized ones. A year ago it seemed the nano size wasn't as universally available as the full-size but that may have changed lately.

My UK SIM is with Tmobile-UK (which means it is actually EE) and I found top-ups to be very widely available although I did not ask specifically at WH Smith. My most recent topup was purchased at a random gas station/convenience store in Stockport.
SIMs seem to be all three sizes of late, you just punch out the amount that you need.

Top ups in the UK are just a code on a cash register receipt, or a transaction at an ATM, so there is no physical stock. Which makes it much easier to sell them than in the US
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Old Feb 22, 16, 7:32 pm
  #326  
 
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Originally Posted by MADPhil View Post
SIMs seem to be all three sizes of late, you just punch out the amount that you need.

Top ups in the UK are just a code on a cash register receipt, or a transaction at an ATM, so there is no physical stock. Which makes it much easier to sell them than in the US
Next trip I'm going to try doing it at an ATM which sounds really convenient.

But at the gas station it was as you say, just the top up code on the receipt. I wasn't sure exactly what the protocol would be so I asked the cashier "how do I buy a top up". He said "just hand me the money and I hand you the top up" and it was easy as that.

Not sure why things are more complicated here in USA but then again our mobile companies don't really seem to like PAYG at all!
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Old Feb 23, 16, 3:20 am
  #327  
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Originally Posted by BrentHutto View Post
Next trip I'm going to try doing it at an ATM which sounds really convenient.

But at the gas station it was as you say, just the top up code on the receipt. I wasn't sure exactly what the protocol would be so I asked the cashier "how do I buy a top up". He said "just hand me the money and I hand you the top up" and it was easy as that.

Not sure why things are more complicated here in USA but then again our mobile companies don't really seem to like PAYG at all!
I think they want you in the shop for the upsell. It really is a painful experience in the US in comparison to the UK (in my very 'umble opinion ).
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Old Mar 16, 16, 11:46 am
  #328  
 
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I am not sure if this has been posted before but this website is of particular use:

http://prepaid-data-sim-card.wikia.c...United_Kingdom

I always use it when travelling and looking for local sims.

Also worthy a mention is Freedom Pop, it provides 200mb, 200mins and 200 texts free of charge, for life. Only snag is that you have to call and text through their own proprietary app as they are in fact routed as VOIP but I imagine if you just remember to use the app then calls and texts should work as normal. Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger will work as normal. I'm assuming this would be of use to a light data user in the UK for a week or so.
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Old Mar 28, 16, 2:08 am
  #329  
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post

It should, although keep in mind that Sprint (and Verizon, for that matter) is a CDMA carrier, which uses a completely different technology and frequency band than AT&T's and T-Mobile's GSM phones (GSM is also used by the rest of the world--Sprint and Verizon are the outliers).
Would you know if there is an o2 store at Heathrow airport?

Thanks in advance -
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Old Mar 28, 16, 4:47 am
  #330  
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Originally Posted by dgcpaphd View Post
Would you know if there is an o2 store at Heathrow airport?

Thanks in advance -
There does not appear to be, try here: Heathrow shops A-Z
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