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English cell phone service for living in Southampton?

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Jul 13th, 2009, 08:46 AM
  #1
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English cell phone service for living in Southampton?

DD starts grad school at University of Southampton in September. We are going over next week to secure apartment,buy a bike,etc. She wants to get an English service cellphone and we are wondering what everyone recommends who lives in that area? She would need the service for only 13-14 months but understands that she will have to sign a contract.We stopped at a few services in April when we were there but was totally confused about which is better to sign up with.
She is looking for a service that is economical and can be used both in England and to call back to the states. Thanks for your assistance! (We have ATT here in the states but don't want the expense of "long distance" and roaming over there with that service.)
dutyfree is offline  
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Jul 13th, 2009, 08:51 AM
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she doesn't have to sign a contact ..payg phones are also very popular. you just top up as and when you need to.

i'd wait until she gets here then visit a few mobile places to find the best deal...it depends what sort of phone she wants, how much she'll be using it etc. she may be able to bring her us phone and just buy a uk sim card...it's very cheap.
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Jul 13th, 2009, 09:14 AM
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There is absolutely no point in any of us recommending what she should buy two months from now.

Few groups of people are greater experts on what offers best value at the time than British university students talking about current mobile phone prices on in their immediate locality.

And few are less easily confused by the choices that are inevitable consequences of a free market.

I can't imagine for a moment someone doing a second degree will find any difficulty at all in asking her fellow students' advice, then walking round central Southampton to get whatever's offering the best deal that week.
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Jul 13th, 2009, 10:21 AM
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The problem is that we want the phone BEFORE she starts school.She would like to start the service so that we can talk to letting agents next week,etc. There are only 20 students in her masters program. Since they do not start school until Sept.28th and she will not have access to a car to travel around and price the services,etc. she wanted to get some imput before we left. There are not many Americans in Southampton going to her particular grad school(she is not on the regular campus)so just wanted any thoughts. Thanks!
Here in the states there are certain cell phone services that are known to be "losers" so was trying to avoid the British ones.
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Jul 13th, 2009, 02:43 PM
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flanneruk is right...nobody knows what the best deal will be 2 months from now nor am I sure just what the different coverates are in Southhampton but having said that...

1. At the present time, the competition is so fierce in the UK that the telcoms are literally giving the sim cards away for free, sure can't beat that. So having said that, she can get anything she wants right now and just put a few quid on it and if she wants something else in September, no problem whatsoever.

All she needs is a gsm phone which has preferably both the 900 and 1800 mhz bands. They range from next to nothing to a lot depending on what bells and whistles she wants. She can get the phone itself here by looking at ebay or wait till she gets to England for a deal that would include the phone although most likely it would be locked to one provider which would make it more difficult to switch carriers; with an unlocked phone just take out one sim card and put in another.....presto, done, finished.

Good deals right now...Orange UK camel plan...assuming you're from the USA, it's 6p/minute to call from the UK to the USA....most of the carriers are pretty similar for calls within the UK so again....it's really nothing to fret about.

When you get to the UK, stop in any phone store. Talk to teh clerk. Go over your needs. If you need a phone, the clerk can show you what's available.

The point is whether it's Orange, Vodafone, T Mobile UK, lebarra she'll do fine and since it's PAYG, there are no contracts to wiggle out of. If when school starts, she finds her friends are all on one network (mobile networks usually charge much less to call another mobile on the same network than a different network with calls to landlines usually being the same), as I said if she has an unlocked phone out comes one sim card and in goes a new one. For the most part, at least for the time being in the UK, they are FREE as in FREE

(Just to show yo what's going on...I spent the first and last weeks of June in London...as I got off the train from Gatwich at Victoria, there was peole giving away Lebarra sim cards for free with a 5 quid top up. Lebarra features 4p/minute calls to North America and free calls to other lebarra sim cards I think.

Then when I got off Eurostar at St. Pancreas, same thing. Finally as I was walking down Oxford Street, outside a T Mobile UK store, somebody was simply handing out free sim cards.

So to make a long story short, at least for the UK, there is absolutely no problem in getting good mobile service and switching carriers to your heart's content (she will be ineligible probably for a contract anyway as a temporary visitor) byt PAYG in fine.
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Jul 13th, 2009, 02:59 PM
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Dont worry about payg phones being locked to one network. Very easy and very cheap to get your phone unlocked and perfectly legal.

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/pho...k-mobile-phone
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Jul 13th, 2009, 03:13 PM
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Or just go to a Carphone Warehouse shop (you find one in every high street) and ask for an unlocked PAYG phone, and they will supply you one with a SIM card from just about any network provider.
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Jul 13th, 2009, 03:18 PM
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Alec....I know you're an expert on this....my experience is that the unlocked phones sold by high street merchants in the UK are somewhat more expensive than buying an unlocked phone on ebay...

Also, I didn't add that what I've also found is that it is fairly easy in the UK to get mopst phones unlocked.
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Jul 13th, 2009, 04:19 PM
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Yes, but for high-end handsets, where a SIM-free can cost £300 to £400. But last time I bought a payg unlocked phone at CPW (earlier this year), they were available from under £20. Availability depends on stocks held by local branch. CPW source most of their phones from general unlocked stocks from manufacturers, rather than locked, customized phones from service providers, with the exception of something like iPhone, only available in UK through O2.
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