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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 Aug 15, 16, 2:47 am
  #376  
 
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Originally Posted by MADPhil View Post
I don't know what Vodafone charge but Three is 1p per minute if you dial a prefix code first. A nuisance but it brings it down from 56.2p per minute!
As of this past summer, with a £10 top up, one of the add ons you could sign up for was for 30 days, lost of UK minutes, lots of UK texts and 500 mb of high speed data. That did not come out of the £10. £15 gave you more. You could then request an "extra" to make international calls which did start eating into your top up. On this extra, calls to both the USA and Canada were I believe some astoudingly low price like 1.5 p /minute. I came home with well over £9 of the orginal 10 left. If I return to the UK with the same simg, I would have to top up again to get the UK stuff but I still have the international calling.
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Old Aug 15, 16, 9:46 am
  #377  
 
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I just used Three network, purchased from simlocal.com and picked it up in T2 after my arrival. overall great experience.
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Old Aug 15, 16, 11:35 am
  #378  
 
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Originally Posted by justsawaufo View Post
I just used Three network, purchased from simlocal.com and picked it up in T2 after my arrival. overall great experience.
Not to be argumentative, but somehow paying €30 for the same card you get get on ebay for 99p + 50p for shipping doesn't seem like such a good deal to me.
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Old Aug 16, 16, 8:35 am
  #379  
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Originally Posted by JEFFJAGUAR View Post
Not to be argumentative, but somehow paying €30 for the same card you get get on ebay for 99p + 50p for shipping doesn't seem like such a good deal to me.
To be fair what I've looked at on that site comes with data and or minutes and or texts loaded for the price.
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Old Sep 11, 16, 10:52 am
  #380  
 
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Just wanted to post a follow up. I received my SIM from eBay. Installed in phone and purchased top-up for 10 GBP which gives me 1 GB of data with calls and texts. I was able to go online and set up my account ahead of time. Still need to make sure it works when I get there but I am able to receive texts here in the US so I'm pretty sure it will work in UK. Will update on how well it works out once we get home.
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Old Sep 11, 16, 2:44 pm
  #381  
 
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Originally Posted by Joe758 View Post
Just wanted to post a follow up. I received my SIM from eBay. Installed in phone and purchased top-up for 10 GBP which gives me 1 GB of data with calls and texts. I was able to go online and set up my account ahead of time. Still need to make sure it works when I get there but I am able to receive texts here in the US so I'm pretty sure it will work in UK. Will update on how well it works out once we get home.
Did you use the mobile top up site I suggested to you with the 99p surcharge? Just as an update on something else I wrote, vodafone UK despite the fact on its web site only accepts credit cards with UK addresses for top ups, it now takes paypal. So I fired off a nasty e-mail to 3 asking why they didn't. Unfortunately, I haven't receive an answer.
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Old Sep 11, 16, 2:48 pm
  #382  
 
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Originally Posted by MADPhil View Post
I don't know what Vodafone charge but Three is 1p per minute if you dial a prefix code first. A nuisance but it brings it down from 56.2p per minute!
What you do is once you've topped up with vodafone, you request their international plan (I think you text international to 2345 or something like that). Calls to country code 1 (North America) become 1.5 p per minute!

Incidentally, vodafone UK now takes paypal for top ups online.
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Old Sep 11, 16, 4:45 pm
  #383  
 
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Originally Posted by JEFFJAGUAR View Post
Did you use the mobile top up site I suggested to you with the 99p surcharge? Just as an update on something else I wrote, vodafone UK despite the fact on its web site only accepts credit cards with UK addresses for top ups, it now takes paypal. So I fired off a nasty e-mail to 3 asking why they didn't. Unfortunately, I haven't receive an answer.
Yes I did. Was able to get the code and added it to my Three account online. After activating, I was asked if I wanted to use credit for an add-on, which I did. All seems to be working and one less thing I need to sort out upon arrival.

I did get a warning from my credit card to check if it was me making the charge but I guess an online, international charge for phone service might set off a flag in their system....
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Old Oct 2, 16, 10:20 am
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I used Vodafone Ireland in Amsterdam, and got LTE speeds.. I was able to skype, facebook, make google hangout calls, and use whatsapp without any issues. Surprisingly I stayed within the 200mb limit. I got 3GB of data while in Ireland, and I only used 1.5 GB even though I was on my phone at all times.. As long you're not streaming youtube or music, you'll be fine.
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Old Oct 2, 16, 6:11 pm
  #385  
 
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Posting a follow-up. We just returned from our trip. Was able to use our Three card in the UK and then in Austria. I almost used up all of my 1GB data allowance with the 10 GBP top-up plan over the trip for Facebook, Email and Google Translate and Maps. My wife went nowhere near her allowance for the 20 GBP top-up plan. It was much easier just to get off the plane and be up and running but there were places all over the airport selling SIM cards.
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Old Nov 22, 16, 8:37 am
  #386  
 
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Problems With Phones in UK

I travel to the UK a lot and have never before had a phone problem--until last week.

I traveled with my T-Mobile phone (which picked up O2) and another phone with a GiffGaff sim. I used T-Mobile mostly for data and texting the US and the GiffGaff phone for everything else. Giffgaff was fine except for one little glitch--every time I tried to call a 718 area code in the US, I was told the call wasn't recognized. It worked for every other number. I tried it with my T-Mobile phone and got the same message. It was clearly an O2 issue. Not feeling like spending hours dealing with phones, I took the loss on the GiffGaff sim and grabbed a 3 UK sim. I was able to reach 718 again!! That said. 3 UK's phone service went down twice in one week for extended periods of time.

It was insane.
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Old Nov 23, 16, 7:03 pm
  #387  
 
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Stupid questions:
My first time to UK with needs for a phone while i am there. I need it for uber, texting, email checking. My phone is a USA ATT iphpne 7. i assume it is locked?
How do i use other sims if the phone is locked? I have no problem buying an unlocked phone if that is the right answer. Or am i better buying a phone there unlocked?
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Old Nov 23, 16, 8:49 pm
  #388  
 
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Originally Posted by sambb View Post
Stupid questions:
My first time to UK with needs for a phone while i am there. I need it for uber, texting, email checking. My phone is a USA ATT iphpne 7. i assume it is locked?
How do i use other sims if the phone is locked? I have no problem buying an unlocked phone if that is the right answer. Or am i better buying a phone there unlocked?
The first thing you have to check is whether the phone is indeed locked. I have read that more and more of the iphones make provisions for inserting foreign sim cards although the sim card capability was additional for verizon phones whereas AT&T is a sim card carrier somewhat (things are quickly changing and so the sentence I just wrote may not make sense). In any event, check with AT&T to see if the phone is locked and go from there. Also, check with AT&T just what foreign plans they have available. Many of the US carriers are competing now with T Mobile on this. Again, I'm not familiar with AT&T and its policies. Sorry.
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Old Nov 24, 16, 3:05 am
  #389  
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Originally Posted by sambb View Post
Stupid questions:
My first time to UK with needs for a phone while i am there. I need it for uber, texting, email checking. My phone is a USA ATT iphpne 7. i assume it is locked?
How do i use other sims if the phone is locked? I have no problem buying an unlocked phone if that is the right answer. Or am i better buying a phone there unlocked?
If you ring ATT and tell them you are going overseas they will/should unlock it for you if you make it clear that it is a holiday/vacation. If not then it might be easier to buy a smartphone in the UK with a SIM and go from there. Check out Vodafone, Carphone Warehouse, O2, EE, Three (3), also this might help give you some other ideas: http://www.moneysupermarket.com/mobile-phones/
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Old Nov 24, 16, 4:58 am
  #390  
 
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post
If you ring ATT and tell them you are going overseas they will/should unlock it for you if you make it clear that it is a holiday/vacation. If not then it might be easier to buy a smartphone in the UK with a SIM and go from there. Check out Vodafone, Carphone Warehouse, O2, EE, Three (3), also this might help give you some other ideas: http://www.moneysupermarket.com/mobile-phones/
Why would the person want to buy a phone for secondary use in the UK? The prices for smartphones on ebay are much lower than buying a brand name in the UK which would also include VAT? With an unlocked smartphone bought on ebay, getting a UK sim card is a piece of cake. The only thing you have to watch is whether the phone you purchase will have all the 4g bands used in the UK and there is a web site, I think it's willmyphonework.com, that will help you with that.
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