cell phone or long distance card

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Sep 7th, 2004, 08:02 AM
  #1
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cell phone or long distance card

I have a son going to Oxford for 6 months for two semesters of college. Any suggestions on the cheapest way for us to keep in contact and how/where to go about purchasing either a international cell phone or long distance card?

Also, any ideas on how/where to purchase him a cell phone for England?
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Sep 7th, 2004, 08:09 AM
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My niece is also going to England (Canterbury in her case) for six months - leaving tomorrow) and was having the same problems finding phone solutions. They finally ditched the cell phone option as not doable, but I just heard that they found international phone cards she can use at their local grocery store. (The live in Chicago - the store is called Jewel, but I would think other grocery chains would have something also.) I'm also pretty sure the phone cards can be obtained in England to use for calling the U.S., and internet cafes where they can email abound all over.
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Sep 7th, 2004, 08:25 AM
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England is a particularly cheap place for mobile phones. There are lots and lots of postings regarding this.

To say a mobile phone for the UK is not doable is ludicrous. The UK has among the cheapest mobile phone rates in the world and of course the fact the language is English means no problems with menus etc.

Virgin mobile charges a grand total of £10 for its SIM card with a £5 credit for calls within the UK. Calls within the UK are 15p a minute for the first 5 minutes of use each day and then drop to 5p a minute. All calls are timed to the second; talk for 20 seconds and pay 2p after the 5 minutes. No registration of the SIM card is necessary. Calls to North America are 20p a minute again timed to the second and what's more they count towards the 5 minutes referred to above.

Mobile phone stores are found on every street corner in London and in all big cities. Virgin SIM packs can easily be bought as soon as you get off the plane at either Heathrow or Gatwick.

What's best is calls you receive are FREE (like in FREE) to the receipient. You pay a little more to call your son but if you use the 1016868 prefix, you pay a grand total of 13 cents a minute instead of 8 cents a minute to call a mobile phone in the UK.

Buying a mobile phone is easy. Go to ebay and look for GSM phones that are dual band or tri band and have 900 and 1800. Models such as the Nokia 3310 a solid dual band phone run around $50. Or if you use T mobile in the US, your phone might be a tri band. All you have to do is unlock it.

Yes you can get long distance cards also but just like in the US, pay phones are in decline as everybody has a mobile phone.

I just don't understand why any knowledgeable person would say that getting a mobile phone and service in the UK is not doable, it is more than doable. It is the simplest thing in the world.

Now if he were going to France, I might not feel it to be quite as easy (it really isn't bad but rates are a little higher) but the UK??????

Somebody is giving you bad advice.
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Sep 7th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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Even if you decide not to buy a GSM to your son, niece, etc, they'll manage to find one as soon as they get there.
All over the world, student arrangements for meetings, for team works, for dinners, for leisure, etc, are done via GSM telephones and specially by a cost effective short message called SMS, and your relatives are not willing to be outside of the group dynamics.
This is great for parents as well because SMS are store and forward messages, meaning that messages may be sent during class time when the telephone is (hopefuly) off and kids receive the message as soon as they turn it on and can eventually answer.
On the top of that, a mobile telephone gives an answer in situations of emergency that long distance cards don't provide.
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Sep 7th, 2004, 08:58 AM
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Listen, I know I continually run into people who say they never have had a mobile phone and don't need one now; just like there are people who claim they have never used an ATM or don't need the internet (although I doubt these people would be reading this message!)

Use of mobile phones is an example of 21st century technology and I know when my daughter takes my car I am thankful she has a mobile phone with her in case, God forbid, she has to summon help. I can't comprehend, sorry if this hurts, anybody getting in a car in 2004 without a mobile phone for that reason and that reason alone. The day will soon come when all pay phones are gone, it sure seems like it is getting there now.

In Europe, it almost seems that everybody has a mobile phone and the previous poster is quite correct, your relative will go out as soon as he gets to the UK and buy a mobile phone anyway. Use of SMS messages is quite high in Europe and growing quickly in the US among teen agers.

You just can't hold back progress as much as you want to.
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Sep 7th, 2004, 09:13 AM
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Thank you, thank you, thank you for the speedy and informative response. I just had no idea how to proceed until I got your response.
Question, and excuse my ignorance. But I am assuming that when you say that calls to the US are 20p a minute you are saying 20 pence. And how much approximately would this be in USA money.
I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your help
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Sep 7th, 2004, 09:18 AM
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Hi adam,

There are 100p (pence) in a GBP (pound).

The pound is about $1.80.
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Sep 7th, 2004, 09:28 AM
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In the US, the dollar is broken into 100 units called cents and the symbol used is the c with the slash through it (can't find it on my key board). So if something costs 20 parts of a dollar, its decimal representation would be $0.20 and we say 20 cents.

In the UK, the pound worth currently around $1.77 is broken into 100 units called pence (the plural of penny). If something costs 20 parts of a pound, its decimal representation would be £0.20 but written and called 20p. 20p would be about 35 US cents at today's exchange rate.
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Sep 7th, 2004, 09:52 AM
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If your son is going to be in England for the next 6 months, I think you should already be monitoring the exchange rate. On average, the BP-US$ rate has been about 1.75:1.00 for the past six months.
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Sep 7th, 2004, 10:05 AM
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Yes, I know. My husband and I are selling everything we own for his 6 months in Oxford!
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Jan 28th, 2005, 07:41 AM
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Have him buy an international phone card from one of the number of places in Oxford. I get mine from a store on Hollywell Street whose name escapes me right now. Anyway, the rates are very good.

I have a cell phone that my American College provided me with. We only pay for the minutes. If he has such a cell phone, have him go to a grocery story or cell phone store to pick up the card that allows him to top-up. He can put a set number of pounds on the phone that lasts until it runs out. Calls are normally 10-20 p per minute within the UK, more expensive elsewhere. I very rarely use my cell phone, but the international phone cards have come in handy for me to call home.

How is your son liking Oxford so far?
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