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Sim cards for London?

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Jul 11th, 2012, 11:06 AM
  #1
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Sim cards for London?

I’m traveling to London (from the USA) for the Olympics with my mother. I have two unlocked blackberries that we will use to keep in touch with each other and our local contacts in London. I will purchase sim cards once we get to London and I have done some massive research as to the best deals however does anybody have firsthand knowledge about blackberry usage and UK sim cards? I will only need to place local calls, local text, search the web and utilize maps while traveling. I do not need to access the blackberry server/ BBM/ email/ etc… I think I will purchase sim cards on the O2 network “Pay Monthly Simplicity Plan with Blackberry Service, however the other choices that also look good are Vodafone and Orange. We will only be in London for a week but purchasing a full 30 days of service looks to be the most economical. Please advise with any recommendations.
gaill3 is offline  
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Jul 15th, 2012, 02:11 AM
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Hi,just back from London. check out www.giffgaff.com. If you have contacts in London, ask them if you can use their local address to apply for a free SIM card. They don't accept non UK credit card unfortunately so I went to a newsagent down the street and bought a voucher. I bought the 10 pound goodybag and used it in London as well as during a road trip to Cornwall. Good service.
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Jul 15th, 2012, 02:41 AM
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The usual wrong information above.

1. British sim cards are free and require no registration. As a matter of fact, as yuo walk down the street, you may be offered a free sim card by a variety of offers.

2. At this point in time, my recommendation is T Mobile UK which I will explain further. You can go into any T Mobile store (and they're all over the place) and request a free sim card. You will have to pay for an initial top up which can be as little as £5...T Mobile UK stores have converted their credit card terminals and will not accept US credit cards (although there are a few chip and signature cards out there) but 5 quid is no problem or

3. You can go to the T Mobile UK (tmobile.co.uk) and in the past, there have been offers to post free sim cards to any UK address. I don't know if these offers are still out there but you can look. Simply have the sim cards sent to the address of your first hotel in the UK and ask the hotel to hold the post for you. In that case, the usual procedure for UK sim cards is they come with a card that looks like a credit card for topping up. To top up you go to any chemist (drug store_ chain such as Boots or Superdrug, any grocery chain such as Tesco or Sainsbury, most convenience stores, present the top up card and these places will accept US credit cards and bravely say, "I wish to top up for 5 pounds," the merchant will run the top up card through the terminal and say, "5 pounds please." You hand over your US crfedit card and voila you're in business. Do remember English and American are very closely related languages as I always say.

4. Why T mobile UK I hear you ask. Well they tie in with another company called yourcallworld (yourcallworld.com). Basically they give you a number which yo ring and cann call to just about any landline in the world outside the UK for 3p/minute timed to the second and 15p/minute to mobile s throughout most of the world. But all calls to North America are considered landine calls so all calls to North America are ep/minute (the only slight downer is you are charged from the time to the ycw system is completed so if the call is not cmpleted, they still nick you for 1p or 2p for the time spent on their system trying to complete the call...no big deal.

5. I don't know T Mobile's current policy regarding mobile to mobile calls or their current tariff for calls within the UK but the details are available on their web site.

6. Should you leave the UK say for a brief week end in France, T Mobile follows eu regulations regarding roaming and receiving calls. Unfortunately the ability to use ycw to make cheap international calls is lost and it would cost you an arm and a leg to call the USA from outside the UK (there are workarounds, however).

7. Oh yes. As is true for all British sim cards, receiving calls is FREE. The only caveat to bear in mind is if you give your UK T Mobile phone number to friends to call from the US, American ld carriers to compensate for the free recepton of calls charge fairly large surcharges for calls to UK mobiles. So even though they may advertise 3¢ or 5¢ a minute for calls from the US to the UK, there is a 25¢/minute or even more surcharge for a call to a UK mobile.

8. Finally T Mobile coverage in the UK is a bit below some of the other British telcoms but there doesn't seem to be much of a problem in London and since T Mobile is merging with Orange UK, don't know where that stands right now, you can also use the Orange UK towers which might have better coverage but it really isn't a problem.

I was just there a couple of weeks ago and this seems to be the latest but of course info is always changing and what we're speaking about is voice communication; data is a different thing altogether although you can research that through if you want to. For my internet, I got a stick modem from T Mobile, stick it in the usb port of my notebook and don't have to worry about wht outrageous prices some of the hotels charge for internet service and free wi-fi is available throughout London at the usual places such as Mickey D, pret a manger and Starbucks.

Hope that helps.
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Jul 15th, 2012, 03:25 AM
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baladeuse is offline  
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Jul 15th, 2012, 04:10 AM
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i just returned from the UK and got an ORANGE pre-paid SIM card for my iPhone. Not sure how different that will be for Blackberry. The SIM comes with 100MB data plan, free incoming calls and SMSes. Found it really useful, esp. when i used Googlemap a lot to find my way around. I also went to Paris and made a few international calls and SMSes with this SIM card. For the card, i paid the minimum rate of GBP10 and based on my month-long usage in the UK and Paris, i only needed to top up an additional GBP5.

Friends who live in the UK have advised me against getting 3, because the coverage is notoriously bad. You may like to bear that in mind ;-)
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Jul 16th, 2012, 04:48 PM
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I resent the response to my reply. I didn't do any research on SIM cards before leaving for London and paid 5 pounds for a SIM card and another 5 pounds to load it at a shop down the street from my hotel as I needed the use of my cell phone ASAP. After using up the minutes within a few days, I switched to giffgaff as I found it cheaper. I did not claim it to be the cheapest as I do not know what else is out there. And all the 11 days I was walking in London I wasn't once offered a free SIM card. I was just trying to be helpful by sharing my personal experience. and have no monetary gain.
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Jul 16th, 2012, 06:31 PM
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Walking through Victoria Station a few months ago we had our choice of no less than 3 different free sim cards. We chose Lebara and found that it was an inexpensive way to make and receive calls. We had two phones as we traveled seperately each day. We recieved two free Lebara sim cards, loaded them with 10£ each, we used these phones several times each day to call each other and called the US several times as well and after 17 days we still had a few pounds left on each of our cards.

We were so pleased with the Lebara service in the UK in January that we also got Lebara cards for France last month. Again 10€ on each card and we were set for our 26 days. We called each other several times a day and even had a very long call to our insurance company in the States to make a report of a stolen bicycle. We recommend the Lebara Sim Cards highly to whoever is going to Europe.
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Jul 16th, 2012, 07:34 PM
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tangest....the only part of your answer was the part about using somebody's address...it wasn't meant to be nasty. If you found it so, I apologize but the point I was trying to make is British sim cards are probably the loosest to deal with of all the European countries I've been to since there's no language problem and no registration necessary. Hope that soothes your feelings, didn't mean to be mean.
xyz123 is offline  
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Jul 17th, 2012, 02:13 AM
  #9
 
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xyz, apologies accepted.
My friends are going to London soon and I looked at both t mobile and Lebara sites and will share the information with them.
The Giffgaff bundle, free text, 250 minutes, unlimited broadband (fast) for 10 pounds, still seems cheaper for our needs (I may be back in London later this year) but it is more convenient to be able to get a free SIM card at a store than to have one mailed to you at a local address.
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