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Thread: Review of UK Mobile (prepaid) services for visitors / students

  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by farhan.cma View Post
    I used to work for three. Few years back they weren't as good like others but now they are competitive and network has improved a lot since late 2011, early 2012. But giffgaff is the best in terms of package s offered. To be honest, coverage maps don't display accurate detail. So better try it yourself with trial sim. Meaning no hefty amount of recharges until fully satisfied.
    That's what I may end up doing, just order a sim from another provider or two and see which one works better and then maybe top up £5. Are incoming calls from the EU free?

    ^HSPA+ 42mbps---------------------------------------------- ^LTE

  2. #47
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    Incoming calls in UK are always free unlike in US. That's because caller pays because mobile numbers are differentiated by landlines. UK landlines start with 01/02/03 but mobile start with 07. In USA one can't differentiate a mobile number than landline. So that's why we pay for incoming here.


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  3. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by farhan.cma View Post
    Incoming calls in UK are always free unlike in US. That's because caller pays because mobile numbers are differentiated by landlines. UK landlines start with 01/02/03 but mobile start with 07. In USA one can't differentiate a mobile number than landline. So that's why we pay for incoming here.


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    Excellent.

    Edit: Does topping up at a cash machine require a UK credit card?
    Last edited by jarrodpd; 12-09-2013 at 10:00 PM.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by jarrodpd View Post
    O2 and Vodafone both have relatively limited 3G foot prints don't they? From looking at the map in the areas I'm going to be it looks like basically until I get into England I'm going to have a lot of 2G on O2, and I was reading that Vodafone failed to meet the 3G coverage requirement. Who would you say has the biggest 3G network in the UK?

    I plan on using EE on my iPad because of the amount of data for the money and also their larger LTE footprint, I will be in London in March do you think the data problems will get solved by then, or is it a permeant grid lock because of typical congestion?

    What about three? I ordered a sim from prepaid mania and it list a number on it and it also came loaded with 99p.
    EE have probably the best coverage in the UK at the moment due to the combination of both Orange and T Mobile.

    As for the problem with dropped calls on EE, its argued that the issue is most probably caused when the phone jumps between T-Mobile and Orange masts, calls cannot be handed over between the two so the call either gets dropped or you get silence for upto 5 seconds. Its apparently getting better as EE are switching off one of the competing masts in the each area.

    As for if its totally sorted out by March is debatable. I cannot say that i know of any utility company in the UK that rushes itself to sort out problems. It took BT (British Telecom) over 10 days to switch on my Landline when i moved back to BT after using Virgin Cable.

    We don't rush in the UK to fix anything which is one of the reasons we don't have any industry left here.

  5. #50
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    Just a quick update, £22(and some postage) later and I will now have 2Gb's worth of data on my EE iPad sim and then 3000 mins and text plus unlimited data on my three sim. Hopefully by having two carriers that will eliminate the possibility of having no service at any given point.


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    Jarrodpd, i will need to do this in about a month how long did it take to get your SIM card and did you get it directly from 3 mobile and did you run into the problem of not having a UK credit card. If the credit card is an issue I can get my brother to look after it but i prefer to look after it all myself.

  7. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjc59 View Post
    Jarrodpd, i will need to do this in about a month how long did it take to get your SIM card and did you get it directly from 3 mobile and did you run into the problem of not having a UK credit card. If the credit card is an issue I can get my brother to look after it but i prefer to look after it all myself.
    I went on eBay UK and several vendors sell sims preloaded with either money or data added. On my three sim once I get there all I need to do is call a number and press two buttons and then service will be activated. On EE, I need to goto a website and activate the preloaded 2Gb plan.

  8. #53
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    Could someone please critique my approach to obtaining service in the UK:

    Order a GiffGaff SIM form eBay (Done).
    Order a GiggGaff top up voucher from from www.phonepal.co.uk (They accept PayPal).
    Receive the top up voucher code via email.
    Then I will go giffgaff.com and select "Activate a SIM".
    Enter the six digit SIM code.
    Enter the top up voucher code.
    Order a goody bag with the account balance.
    Wait for activation.
    Then I should be ready to use the iPhone with no further actions.

    Will the above work?

    Thanks, Gary

  9. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMul View Post
    Order a GiffGaff SIM form eBay (Done).
    Order a GiggGaff top up voucher from from www.phonepal.co.uk (They accept PayPal).
    Receive the top up voucher code via email.
    Then I will go giffgaff.com and select "Activate a SIM".
    Enter the six digit SIM code.
    Enter the top up voucher code.
    Order a goody bag with the account balance.
    Wait for activation.
    Then I should be ready to use the iPhone with no further actions.

    Will the above work?
    1. GiffGaff is not an official iphone carrier, so some features may not work and you probably have to tweak your iphone and enter APN settings.
    2. GiffGaff does not offer live help, only community or forum based help, so expect more time to get it to work.
    3. phonepal.co.uk pricing for GiffGaff top up was considerably more than the exchange rate. £15 was USD 30.43 today. Official rate would have been around USD24.50 . I don't see any cost savings vs walking into a 3 shop and getting it working in 5 min with no hassle. They also only sell £10 & £15 vouchers, and what your probably want is the £12 plan.

    As always, make sure your iphone is unlocked or nothing will work!

    If you are staying for awhile in the UK it might be worth it with GiffGaff, but I wouldn't bother for a semester or less.

  10. #55
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    Keason I looked at the site it looks like they charge £12.49 for a £10.00 card is that normal with taxes or if you buy direct is it just £10 I need to do this in a couple of months and and looking at 3


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    My brother lives in London so if they do their vouchers like they do in North America he could email to me. I am getting of a ship in Southampton and need service before I get to London so would like to have everything setup on my unlocked I phone before I get off the ship.


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  12. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjc59 View Post
    My brother lives in London so if they do their vouchers like they do in North America he could email to me. I am getting of a ship in Southampton and need service before I get to London so would like to have everything setup on my unlocked I phone before I get off the ship.


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    This is the sim I bought, the buyer cut it down into nano sim for my iPhone 5. It was already loaded with 3000 text 300 min and unlimited data, Also them and EE have the two largest 3G networks from looking at the map. Im going to have 3G service and coverage generally in more places on the A5 in Wales as well as England.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Three-Pay-N-...item338a0afd17

  13. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by keason View Post
    1. GiffGaff is not an official iphone carrier, so some features may not work and you probably have to tweak your iphone and enter APN settings.
    2. GiffGaff does not offer live help, only community or forum based help, so expect more time to get it to work.
    3. phonepal.co.uk pricing for GiffGaff top up was considerably more than the exchange rate. £15 was USD 30.43 today. Official rate would have been around USD24.50 . I don't see any cost savings vs walking into a 3 shop and getting it working in 5 min with no hassle. They also only sell £10 & £15 vouchers, and what your probably want is the £12 plan.

    As always, make sure your iphone is unlocked or nothing will work!

    If you are staying for awhile in the UK it might be worth it with GiffGaff, but I wouldn't bother for a semester or less.
    Keason,

    Thank you for the informative reply. You make some good points.

    With regard to point (3.), the rates in the UK seem inexpensive, so I find myself not sweating the cost too much

    I will only be in the UK for three weeks, but being ready to go on landing in Heathrow is important.
    I'm going to rethink this.

    Cheers, Gary

  14. #59
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    I got back from Ireland & the UK a few days ago, and I will say I was rather impressed by Three's network, Though there were some pitfalls. I also had EE in my iPad.

    I will start in Wales, I docked in Holyhead and then traveled through most of Wales along the A5 with some stops along the way. For the most part coverage was decent, there were some stretches through Snowdonia park where I had no signal. I spent the night in Llangollen, and the coverage around the town was great as were the data speeds(pic below).

    Once I got to England I wasn't really able to make any observations just because we were rushed trying to get to London as fast as possible. In London coverage was good, there was never a moment where I didn't have signal above ground. You only lose signal in the tube stations but that is universal anywhere unless they have a DAS to repeat signal down that far. The one problem I did run into was network congestion, a few blocks in each direction of the Saint Patricks celebrations the network was unusable for calls and even SMS, data would sporadically work though it finally hit a point where it just stopped working.

    Just as an overall summary I was surprising able to use "feel at home" in Ireland, from my understanding of this service you had to have service for a few months and also do several top ups or something like that to be able to get it "activated". Once I landed on my connecting flight in Ireland, I flipped on international roaming and away I was getting decent speeds. Also Back to the UK as a whole, driving on the motorways was a slight annoyance. I think Three has their towers spaced to the absolute max, so for a few seconds your phone with have a bar of 3G but the connection is useless until you move a little bit down the road and gain another bar.

    On EE with my iPad I noticed GPRS in several places which I thought was a bit odd, though I can't really complain just for the fact I barely had time to use my iPad. In areas that had 3G the speeds were great, they were slightly lower than Three in Llangollen, but were still 8-10mbps.


  15. #60
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    I'm going to be in London for a week next month and I was wondering if there are any carriers that offer tethering with a pre-paid plan -- ideally with 4G/LTE. I wouldn't mind paying a reasonable surcharge for that option.

    I haven't been able to find much on it on the pay as you go pages, but what I have read suggests it's available only on the monthly plans. I don't have a UK debit/credit card, so these do not seem like readily available options.

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