Buying SIM card in the UK

Discussion in 'UK VOIP' started by, Aug 9, 2006.

  1. Guest

    Hoping this isn't too OT but I am coming to the UK next week and wanted to
    use my American mobile phone

    Not sure if there have been changes in UK service charges but last time I
    tried this, I was charged about fifty times what I had ever been charged
    before to do this. Learned my lesson on receiving my phone bill.

    I cant (or haven't yet) found a cellular phone which will let me use my VOIP
    service, nor do I think there are any open networks near me I can log on to
    and I have no broadband access in the UK as far as I know.

    Are there any places I should look in particular for a UK (presumably
    pre-paid?) SIM card or are they all about the same price? (or do I mean are
    all the call charges about the same price?) I have T-Mobile, a Vonage
    account, and a VoipFone account. Is there any service I should avoid?
, Aug 9, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  2. Thus spaketh

    If you had been using your own mobile account, as in your USA SIM card
    when in the UK, then yes, like everywhere else in the world, you will
    get stung by high roaming charges, same as when people in the UK go to
    the USA we get hit by high roaming charges, not quite so high in other
    parts of Europe.

    Tesco Mobile and Virgin mobile seem to have fairly low costs to call the
    USA, if you use a UK SIM the good thing here like virtually everywhere
    else in the world you are not charged for receiving calls, so you can
    save plenty of money there. There are some call through providers you
    can use to get the calls back to the USA cheaper.

    There are one or two phones I believe that let you use VoIP, I know
    T-Mobile here has blocked VoIP access.

    If you could access the website: on your mobile, you could use
    a public phone box for example, enter that number and your destination
    number in the USA and then the system will call you and then your
    destination, and the entire call back to the USA will only cost 3 (Euro)
    cents per call.

    I'm sure someone else will be able to help you further.

    Also maybe able to help.
    {{{{{Welcome}}}}}, Aug 9, 2006
    1. Advertisements


    Mark Guest

    Seeing as you have a Voipfone account then make use of their call-back
    service to make outgoing calls from your UK mobile number (UK and
    Intl). You need to be able to access the Voipfone website to set this

    The Voipfone callback rate is cheapest for the O2 network. (8.4p/min
    plus Voipfone's outgoing charges). That will easily beat O2 PAYG
    rates for UK landline calling. Only Vigin mobile's PAYG rates for the
    UK come anywhere near that, and then you need to use 5mins/day at
    15p/min before the 5p/minute rate kicks-in.

    You can get an O2 SIM card for around £10 at various outlets including
    O2, CarphoneWarehouse shops etc. (Virgin Mobile SIMs are a bit
    cheaper). Online they are sometimes free, but you probably won't be
    able to take delivery :-(

    I assume your phone is GSM-capable and can work on either or both of

    If you are bringing a laptop you can use Skype for free at
    QinetiQ/Broadreach ("ReadyToSurf") hotspots which are at many London
    mainline rail stations and other locations.

    Finally, if you get an number you can point it at your
    Voipfone account. Forward your Voipfone account to your UK mobile
    number and US callers could call you very cheaply (or free). You will
    obviously pay the UK divert charges (at the usual Voipfone rate).


    Mark, Aug 9, 2006
  4. Guest

    What I really need is to be able to call UK numbers reasonably
    inexpensively: It is useful that my customers can call me from the US
    without it costing them a fortune but calls to the UK from the US tend to
    cost 2.4 cents a minute if you know what you are doing and if you don't,
    you probably don't care anyway.

    So buying an O2 card when I arrive seems to be the way to go? I don't
    imagine I will be able to get one free at my London address before I arrive
    on 22nd August? It might be worthwhile trying: Is there a site somewhere
    and how do they work, do you have to 'fill them up' with prepaid minutes in
    some way when you are there? (I did this in Portugal four years ago and
    could fill a card up from any ATM but the cost of calls was astronomical)
    And then at what SORT OF rate do they charge you for calls you make?
, Aug 10, 2006
  5. Guest

    BTW Thanks for posting my question for me: (I didnt know about the NG)

    Trying to use voip doesnt seem to have many advantages, especially if there
    are no open networks near my home!
, Aug 10, 2006

    Ivor Jones Guest

    Especially as using someone else's network (open or not, other than a
    genuine hotspot) without their permission is an offence.

    Ivor Jones, Aug 10, 2006

    zacnici Guest

    You will have NO trouble buying a prepaid/prepay/pay as you go SIM in
    the UK particularly London, in fact you could probably buy one at the
    airport and certainly in London's Oxford Street (Madame Tussaud's,
    Baker St etc), between the cheap and nasty plastic souvenir policeman
    helmet stalls virtually every second shop is selling mobiles, SIM's

    Dual band 900/1800 GSM is standard, you can pick phones up anywhere for
    as little as £30 or so with credit, you can get it unlocked for future
    travel for about £10, virtually any mobile shop on Oxford street will
    do that as you wait but go for Nokia or Motorola as they are easier to
    unlock. A dual band will function in Europe, Africa, the Middle East,
    the Far East and Australasia.

    Triband phone, as above but you can also use it back in the US (quad
    band would be better but not all that common in low end phones). A
    Motorola Triband V220 is cheap and cheerful, say about £40 or so.

    You can top up credit at many ATM's, post offices, petrol stations,
    newsagents, shops, supermarkets etc.

    All incoming calls are free on UK networks.

    I would suggest TalkMobile World if you can buy instore

    Essentialy a 'virtual network' from carphonewarehouse
    Calls to standard landlines and all networks 15p minute, calls to USA
    5p minute thereby obviating any need to go through access numbers

    I think you can buy instore from Carphonewarehouse but not sure, check
    out the link and email for confirmation and also locations of their
    stores relative to your itinerary

    My next suggestion would be Virgin or T Mobile as you can pick those up
    from anywhere:
    15p minute first 5 minutes of each day, then 5p to standard landlines
    and Virgin mobiles, 35p to other networks, voicemail free. Calls to US
    20p minute

    T Mobile

    Everyone tariff, all calls to standard landlines and mobiles are 12p
    minute, voicemail 10p, Calls to US 70p minute, pricey!

    My own opinion is that Orange, O2 and Vodafone are pricey for visitors
    so haven't bothered to list them.

    The cool thing about pay as you go mobiles in the UK is that the credit
    generally does not expire, so you can keep it for a future visit. You
    will probably have to make a chargeable call every six months so make a
    5 second phone call back in the US every 4 or 5 months and your number
    is safe.

    zacnici, Aug 10, 2006

    Joe Harrison Guest

    Joe Harrison, Aug 10, 2006

    Joe Harrison Guest

    Ooops, got that wrong, those are actually free SIMs on a minimum 1-month
    contract which is probably not quite what you want. But check the O2 site
    daily as their Pay and Go SIMs are very frequently 99p or 0p.
    Joe Harrison, Aug 10, 2006
  10. Guest

    I would suggest TalkMobile World if you can buy instore

    Essentialy a 'virtual network' from carphonewarehouse
    Calls to standard landlines and all networks 15p minute, calls to USA
    5p minute thereby obviating any need to go through access numbers

    Many thanks: I had thought htat Vodaphone was the cheapest so long as you
    arent sure to whom you are going to be able to call AND that most calls
    woudl be to land lines? But I DO have a TalkTalkOnetel account and wonder
    if this woudl be of assistance or put me on some better plan?
, Aug 10, 2006

    Mark Guest

    One of the cheapest ways to directly call a range of UK geographic
    numbers on PAYG is to use Virgin mobile especially if you expect to
    make more than 5mins of calls per day.

    Overall mobile coverage (Virgin is a virtual on T-mobile) is commonly
    said to be not as good as the other GSM networks but you probably
    won't notice.

    Top up pre-pay credit in various ways. More info:
    Mark, Aug 10, 2006
  12. Virgin (TMobile) coverage is no worse than any other network's coverage. Not
    all the country is covered; 99% of population for all networks.

    If you believe that TMobile has a poor coverage read the comments on this NG
    and you will note that all networks are criticised, it depends on where you
    want the phone to work and then choose the best operator.
    Garry Richards, Aug 11, 2006

    hairydog Guest

    Calls to a UK mobile number will cost a fair bit more than that. In
    the UK, the caller pays for the call, including the mobile leg.

    How will your customers know your UK phone number? Will they be able
    to cope with adding the international dial string? Many US people
    never make international calls, and may not know how to.
    hairydog, Aug 12, 2006

    Chris Blunt Guest

    Is it? What specific law is it that makes that illegal?

    Chris Blunt, Aug 13, 2006
  15. {{{{{Welcome}}}}}, Aug 13, 2006

    alexd Guest

    alexd, Aug 13, 2006

    inmanh Guest

    Interesting. The relevant part of the Communications Act seems to be in
    Section 125: Dishonestly obtaining electronic communications

    (1) A person who-
    (a) dishonestly obtains an electronic communications service, and
    (b) does so with intent to avoid payment of a charge applicable
    to the provision of that service,
    is guilty of an offence.

    So it has to be *dishonestly* obtaining. I can see that if someone has
    secured their wi-fi network, then this makes it clear that they want to
    restrict access -- like locking the garden gate. If someone breaks the
    security, like picking the lock on the gate, that starts to look
    dishonest to me.

    But if they have not bothered to secure the network, just as if they
    had left the garden gate open, it does not seem *dishonest* to wander
    in. OK -- if the owner says you are trespassing, it is only polite to
    leave quietly. But they might just be nice people, happy to give open
    access within reason.

    I wonder what arguments a lawyer can think up.

    Inman Harvey
    inmanh, Aug 13, 2006

    Ivor Jones Guest

    "{{{{{Welcome}}}}}" <[email protected]>
    wrote in message
    I think the Computer Misuse Act comes into it somewhere as well.

    Ivor Jones, Aug 14, 2006

    Ivor Jones Guest

    Enough, probably. I'm not a lawyer, but it would seem to me that just
    because someone leaves their front door open it's still not ok to walk in
    and help yourself to stuff.

    The house owner would be a fool, but it's still not legal to steal, even
    from fools.

    Ivor Jones, Aug 14, 2006
  20. Guest

    I suppose this means that using a Vonage VoIP handset phone must
    therefore, - almost always, - be illegal in the UK as you can never have
    the netwrok administrator's permission to log into their network?

    Has Vonage publicised this point or is it just not true?
, Aug 14, 2006
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.