I will be in the UK for the month of August, almost completely in central London, but a bit in the London suburbs.
Any opinions on which UK carrier has the best coverage and/or pricing for a pre-paid SIM?
Born/Raised: Redwood City, CA, USA
Live in: Cologne, Germany (May 2004)
German (Fluent) and English (Fluent)
Nokia Series 40 and Series 60 Reset Codes:
Prepaid Options for Abroad:
Worldwide GPRS settings:
It really depends on some other factors but for the most part, as I understand it and have experienced it, in central London and most of the suburbs coverage of all the major UK carriers is pretty much the same...as you go to more remote parts of the country some are better than others.
That being the case, to me at least, the simplest is Virgin Mobile, although Carphone Warehouse has a new service that is a bit cheaper.
But Virgin mobile's advantages are:
1. No registration needed. Insert the sim card and you're in.
2. The starter kit comes with built in £5 worth of credit.
3. Calls within the UK to landlines are 15p/minute timed to the second with a 5p minimum during the first 5 minutes of usage each day and then 5p/minute thereafter. All calls are timed to the second not raised to the next minute as US carriers love to rip you off with and have a 5p minimum
4. Calls to North America are 20p/minute again with the 5p minimum and also timed to the second. These calls count towards the 5 minutes per day for the cheaper UK rate noted in #3.
5. Calls to voice mail are free.
As with all the carriers, you get an electronic swipe card so topping up is no different.
Only Orange has the 20p to North America rate but they charge 25p/minute for the first 3 minutes of use each day with the other peramters being the same but their starter kit comes with only £1 worth of credit and you have to register before you get your number....
There is a web site I have found www.L8shop.net that provides a good selection of sim packs and will ship to the US (or Canada assuming that is where you are) for only £3.
So IMHO if you already have an unlocked gsm phone, your best bet is to purchase before you leave a virgin mobile UK sim pack as you will then know your number and the instant the plane touches down at Gatwick or Heathrow (although the UK airlines unlike in the US claim it is illegal to use a mobile phone until you are inside the terminal, most of the US airlines gave up on that about a year ago and now in the US as soon as the plane's wheels hit the runway you can use your mobile phone) you will have a fully functioning UK mobile phone.
Incidentally, I assume you know that with all the British GSM carriers receiving calls is free while the caller pays a surcharge.