UK SIM part 2
May 7, 2010 9:54 AM   Subscribe

UK Mobile Phone Filter: I'm going to be in London for a week and I have a Nexus One (unlocked) with no SIM. I'd like about 30 minutes talk time, 15 texts, and 100mb of data/web. I'd like to spend between £5 and £10 on a SIM/Plan and I want to do this as easily as possible. Basically, I want to be able to walk into a shop and say "Give me the XYZ sim." place £5/£10 on the counter, then walk out in less than the time it took you to read this question.

I'll be traveling direct from Minneapolis, MN to LHR. I won't have time to get a UK SIM on Craigslist/eBay in advance of the trip.

Here's what I'd like for £5/£10:
* 30 minutes talk time.
* 15 texts
* 100mb data/web
* Best network coverage possible in London

So what's the best way to acomplish this? I've searched and searched, but I can't seem to find a straight answer.

This question was close to what I'm looking for, but I really want someone to say "Go into the XYZ shop in terminal 4 at Heathrow/Paddington Station and ask for the 123 plan which will be £10 and you'll be set". (XYZ & 123 are the variables that I'm looking for y'all for help with.)

I'll be staying near Paddington Station, so idealy I'd be able to walk up to a kiosk in LHR to get the SIM/plan, or a shop near Paddington Station.
posted by xotis to Technology (6 answers total)
These things are ubiquitous in any UK town or city. Take a five-minute walk anywhere that there's a few shops and you'll find a place that sells pay-as-you-go SIMs and unlocks/repairs phones. They're also widely available in supermarkets.

As for network coverage, this is London you're talking about. Good network coverage is pretty much guaranteed for any of the half-dozen networks.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 10:06 AM on May 7, 2010

The calls and the text could be had for about £3 - the difficulty will be getting data that cheap without a contract . If you don't need quite so much, Asda Mobile would be good at 20p/MB. Otherwise, drop about an extra £7.50 on a data bolt on from someone like O2 or T-Mobile.
posted by turkeyphant at 10:17 AM on May 7, 2010

Yeah, this is pretty easy. The Google search term is "pay as you go".
There is no "plan." You get a SIM card and add money to it. If that starts, running out, you can add more money later.

For example:
Go into the Vodafone shop in Paddington Station. and ask for a Pay-as-you-go SIM. which will be at least £10 (maybe more) and you'll be set.

Of course, there are other providers such as O2, T-Mobile and Virgin. Heck, even Tesco supermarkets offer SIM cards.
posted by vacapinta at 10:41 AM on May 7, 2010

Personally, though I find O2 to have some of the better rates. You can see them here, as well as the available bolt-ons. O2 stores are all over London.
posted by vacapinta at 10:49 AM on May 7, 2010

XYZ store = Vodafone store on the concourse at Paddington station (PDF map)

123 plan = Vodafone Simply pay-as-you-go.

No need to fork out for a monthly data bolt on, data is charged at only 50pence (£0.50) per day for up to 25Mb, which would work if you want your 100Mb spread throughout the week.

There's also an Orange store at the station but they seem to be less competitive and service has (IMO) declined in recent years.

O2 might be worth a look, but reception is a little sketchy around here so I can't really comment.

The other plan that might be worth considering is the T-Mobile SIM only 30 day rolling plan at £10 for 100 Mins, 100 texts and free "unlimited" (subject to fair use) data, but it might be hard trying to convince them to sell if for such a short period as you'd essentially be giving cancellation notice the same day.

Enjoy your trip.
posted by dirm at 10:57 AM on May 7, 2010

If you are staying at friends house / have a uk mailing address just ask them to get you a free sim. If you dont have a mailing address it is always worth asking fro a free sim in the store before forking out £10 - sometimes they will just give you one. Try the person in the different coloured uniform, they are usually the manager or business customer guy/girl who has more discretion.
posted by priorpark17 at 3:55 AM on May 9, 2010

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