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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 21, 17, 8:11 pm
  #436  
 
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Originally Posted by missionpa View Post
I wonder if anyone can answer this question. I live in the US but I'm English so travel back not infrequently but sometimes there is a year or more gap. I've purchased PAYG sims before but the one problem I haven't to date been able to solve is keeping the sim active when I'm out of the UK, so I lose my number and have to start all over again. It occurs to me that if I use three, I could use the feel at home option to send a text back to the UK on, say, a 3 monthly basis just to keep the number alive. Any thoughts on this.
The cost of SIM only contracts on Three is so low that you might consider going that route. I pay £9 per month for unlimited calling, unlimited texts and unlimited data. You could probably find cheaper for limited options. By having a contract, you save all those worries for very low outlay.
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Old Aug 21, 17, 9:28 pm
  #437  
 
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Originally Posted by nmenaker View Post
are you having trouble remembering to take an action, or do the companies not offer an option to extend?

Companies like toggle (which I can't really recommend anymore since they don't have european data option) offer the ability to have a permanent number for 7$ extra a year which keeps it in place and doesn't then require the frequent extensions. Maybe Three offers similar?

Historically, I just do a text to my google voice number once every 85 days (I setup a calendar reminder - one could probably just setup a programmed email to text and set the delivery dates) that keeps things alive for the ones that require some use.
Not forget, don't offer an option to extend. I'll have a look at toggle - even $7 is probably less than I lose each time my number expires.
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Old Aug 21, 17, 9:29 pm
  #438  
 
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Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
The cost of SIM only contracts on Three is so low that you might consider going that route. I pay £9 per month for unlimited calling, unlimited texts and unlimited data. You could probably find cheaper for limited options. By having a contract, you save all those worries for very low outlay.
Without a UK bank account I doubt that would be an option.
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Old Aug 21, 17, 9:34 pm
  #439  
 
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Originally Posted by Roger View Post
I wouldn't do that. If your only use over a period is outside the UK, they may suspect you're not a UK customer. ('At home' option is intended for UK phones temporarily abroad.)

OTOH, my wife and I both use 3-2-1 PAYG. When we check balances, there is always the message 'Information... Your credit will not expire'.
The thing is, what are they going to do? Retire the number? Since that's the problem I'm having now, I don't really see a downside. And in fact it would be a UK phone temporarily abroad. Just not a UK owner. I know I'm splitting hairs but I suspect that they are more likely to have issues if you used the phone overseas a lot, rather than if you use it abroad hardly at all.
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Old Aug 21, 17, 11:55 pm
  #440  
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Well, that was convenient, EE sent the kid a SIM card today with a free 30 day PAYG starter pack. She'll use that and see how it works out, so we don't even have to do anything when we get there. Some smart marketing folks over at EE with a accurate mailing list. :-0
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Old Aug 22, 17, 8:03 am
  #441  
 
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You may want to verify. But some carriers charge a whole lot more to call that Toggle UK number than regular UK mobiles. I believe the Toggle number is an Isle of Man number.

Originally Posted by missionpa View Post
Not forget, don't offer an option to extend. I'll have a look at toggle - even $7 is probably less than I lose each time my number expires.
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Old Aug 22, 17, 9:02 pm
  #442  
 
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Hm mrcamp: that wouldn't be cool for my friends.

I think I'll just try the three option. If my number gets retired, well I'm not in a worse position than I have been.
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Old Aug 23, 17, 8:50 am
  #443  
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Originally Posted by mrcamp View Post
I believe the Toggle number is an Isle of Man number.
Mine isn't. It's a regular cell number, ported from Three.

My original Toggle number started 07438.
Which network uses 07438 numbers?

07438 numbers are officially allocated to Lycamobile for mobile phone services ...

Call charges

These are normal mobile numbers and will usually be charged at standard rates.
http://www.area-codes.org.uk/mobile/07438-numbers.php
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Old Aug 23, 17, 9:07 am
  #444  
 
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Exactly! Yours was ported from Three.

The one I have was assigned by them and it starts with 07466. There are complaints all over the internet about people in the UK complaining about being charged a lot for calling these numbers vs regular mobiles. Also, as I recollect, Callcentric and VOIPms charge significantly more for calling these numbers vs regular UK mobile numbers.

Edit- I just checked callcentric and VOIPms. They both list $0.26 and $0.38 for calling these numbers respectively, Vs 2.7 cents and $0.13 for calling regular UK mobiles.

Originally Posted by Roger View Post
Mine isn't. It's a regular cell number, ported from Three.

My original Toggle number started 07438.

Last edited by mrcamp; Aug 23, 17 at 9:17 am
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Old Aug 23, 17, 9:40 am
  #445  
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Originally Posted by mrcamp View Post
... Also, as I recollect, Callcentric and VOIPms charge significantly more for calling these numbers vs regular UK mobile numbers.

Edit- I just checked callcentric and VOIPms. They both list $0.26 and $0.38 for calling these numbers respectively, Vs 2.7 cents and $0.13 for calling regular UK mobiles.
I have no experience with callcentric and VOIPms. What about calling from regular cellphones?

FWIW, I just checked 07466 and found:
Which network uses 07466 numbers?

07466 numbers are officially allocated to Lycamobile for mobile phone services.

All 07466 numbers will have originally been issued to customers by Lycamobile. However, customers are free to take their number with them when they change networks which means that an 07466 number is not a reliable indicator of which network a phone is currently connected to.

Call charges

These are normal mobile numbers and will usually be charged at standard rates.

Some phone companies exclude calls to 07466 numbers from inclusive call allowances – check your tariff details before calling.
Most of that text also applies to 07438, so is presumably a caveat message. (Check rates.)
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Old Aug 23, 17, 1:14 pm
  #446  
 
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Would it be a viable option for you to leave the SIM card with someone in the UK and ask them (set yourself a reminder) to send a text with it once in a while, just to keep the number alive?
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Old Aug 24, 17, 8:34 am
  #447  
 
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Well maybe. But I really like to have access to a local phone at all times until I'm actually on the plane. I suppose I could mail it to someone one and then have them mail it back to me close to when I come over again, but that's a bit of a palaver.

Frankly, this shouldn't be so hard. But it's a first world problem I guess.
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Old Aug 24, 17, 12:18 pm
  #448  
 
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Originally Posted by mrcamp View Post
Exactly! Yours was ported from Three.

The one I have was assigned by them and it starts with 07466. There are complaints all over the internet about people in the UK complaining about being charged a lot for calling these numbers vs regular mobiles. Also, as I recollect, Callcentric and VOIPms charge significantly more for calling these numbers vs regular UK mobile numbers.

Edit- I just checked callcentric and VOIPms. They both list $0.26 and $0.38 for calling these numbers respectively, Vs 2.7 cents and $0.13 for calling regular UK mobiles.
I got a number directly from toggle, no porting from another carrier and it is 07405, UK based..
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Old Aug 25, 17, 1:11 am
  #449  
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Originally Posted by missionpa View Post
I wonder if anyone can answer this question. I live in the US but I'm English so travel back not infrequently but sometimes there is a year or more gap. I've purchased PAYG sims before but the one problem I haven't to date been able to solve is keeping the sim active when I'm out of the UK, so I lose my number and have to start all over again. It occurs to me that if I use three, I could use the feel at home option to send a text back to the UK on, say, a 3 monthly basis just to keep the number alive. Any thoughts on this.
Just text, call, or use data within a 6 month period and your account should stay active. From Three's PAYG t's and c's:

Suspension of Three Services
9.1 We may Suspend any or all of the Three Services you use without notice if:

(h) you have not activated a Pay As You Go Voucher on your account or undertaken any chargeable events or activities (for example, made telephone calls, sent text or photo messages, accessed content or the internet or any other Three Services for which a charge is made) using any credit or allowance on your account within the preceding 6 month period. If you do not have an Active Pay As You Go Voucher on your account, your phone will continue to be capable of receiving incoming calls for the periods set out in the Price Guide and other customer documentation; and/or....

Source

Last edited by Silver Fox; Aug 26, 17 at 9:24 am
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Old Aug 25, 17, 9:11 am
  #450  
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Originally Posted by Silver Fox View Post
... From Three's PAYG t's and c's:

Suspension of Three Services
9.1 We may Suspend any or all of the Three Services you use without notice if ...
That seems to conflict with their message to me:
Originally Posted by Roger View Post
... my wife and I both use 3-2-1 PAYG. When we check balances, there is always the message 'Information... Your credit will not expire'.
I wonder which is correct.

I couldn't get this to work.
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