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Vacation Cell Phone in London?
May 19, 2008 8:46 AM   Subscribe

What are my options for one week of cell phone in London?

I have an AT&T GSM phone in Boston where I live, spending a week in London for vacation. What are my options for cell phone access the week I'm in London?

I'm mostly interested in keeping tabs with local people while I'm in London, no calling home. Internet would be nice as well, but not required.
posted by morallybass to Travel & Transportation around London, England (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have a world-wide capable phone with T-Mobile. I just called up customer support and they were able to activate me for their UK network.
posted by MasonDixon at 8:53 AM on May 19, 2008


Get your phone unlocked and buy a sim card when you get to London. That's what I did for Ireland and it was great and super easy.

I believe you can ask AT&T to unlock your phone (I know T-Mobile happily did it for a friend), but I actually got mine unlocked at a random cell phone stand at the Arsenal Mall in Watertown for $10 or so before I left.
posted by jdl at 8:58 AM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have a world-wide capable phone with T-Mobile. I just called up customer support and they were able to activate me for their UK network.
posted by MasonDixon at 4:53 PM on May 19 [+] [!]


Do you mean you then had an actual UK number or just that you could use your US phone in the UK (and incur roaming charges)?? I ask because i asked them the same thing and they said: no way.

To the OP: What jdl said. Get your phone unlocked and the walk into any UK provider (I use O2) and get a SIM card and ask for a pay-as-you-go plan. UK number. You can add more money to your balance (top-up) as needed.
posted by vacapinta at 9:10 AM on May 19, 2008


with "buy a sim card" jdi means buy a pre-paid card, not one with a subscription. A quick google finds me this.
posted by DreamerFi at 9:12 AM on May 19, 2008


i also did the unlock my phone, buy a sim card route. worked great.

i got my SIM card on ebay, for like $10, then when i got to Ireland, popped the sim card into my phone, walked into a gas station and bought a prepaid card for that brand, and loaded the minutes.

This gives you a local number, so if you want people at home to be able to reach you, just email or text them the phone number associated with the sim card.

when the trip is over, simply put your AT&T sim card back in the phone, toss the UK card, and relax not having to worry about giant cellphone roaming bills
posted by Mr_Chips at 9:20 AM on May 19, 2008


Yes, unlock your phone (AT&T can do this for you or you can buy a code online) and buy a pay-as-you-go card when you arrive.
posted by k8t at 9:24 AM on May 19, 2008


Recommend getting a UK SIM card for the week.

I think O2 do a deal where you pay £10 and you get 300 free texts (valid for a month) and then you can use the £10 to make calls.

Wander into a shop (the main providers are O2, Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange and Three) and see what deal they can do you.
posted by gkhewitt at 9:31 AM on May 19, 2008


I have an old T-Mobile phone, the e635 to be specific, but I haven't had T-Mobile for a while, will I be able to use this phone with a pay-as-you-go plan in the UK since it's not technically on any networks now? Do I need to "unlock" it or anything?
posted by Grither at 9:36 AM on May 19, 2008


Nthing the unlock-your-phone-and-buy-a-SIM-card advice -- I do it all the time (and if you return within 6 months you can keep the same number) -- but be warned that your phone might only work on some frequencies, which some service providers don't support -- I use Orange because whatever other random place I tried (I just can't remember, sorry) took forever to figure out that they don't support the frequencies my phone works on. So, know to ask, at least.
posted by obliquicity at 10:23 AM on May 19, 2008


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