UK Cell Phones
July 26, 2004 10:01 AM   Subscribe

British MeFis - A friend's family is going to England from the US for a month, and they want to be able to keep in touch with each other while there. She's looking into cell phone deals over the internet, but everything's really expensive.

Would it be better for her to wait til she's there and buy or rent some cell phones that would hold them for the month? How's that all work over there?
posted by jasper411 to Travel & Transportation around United Kingdom (8 answers total)
Bring unlocked GSM phones that can work at 900MHz and/or 1800 MHz and buy pre-paid SIM cards when they get there.
posted by gyc at 10:28 AM on July 26, 2004

Well there's a coincidence. I've just been shopping this afternoon, and found quite a bargain. The 3G companies, such as 3Pay, are currently catching a severe cold here having paid a fortune for their GPRS licences, and the deals are quite incredible. For 45 quid, about, what, 80 dollars, your friends can each have a pretty snazzy phone with 15 quid credit. They're on the same network so the inclusive credit will be more than enough for a month, (and the credit does expire after a month), though top-ups are easy to buy. The phone's available pretty much everywhere; they should head for a Superdrug or Argos shop when they get here, there's an outlet on every High Street. It's even got picture & video messaging, which might add to the vacation fun, and they could keep hold of the handset after as a cheap but functional camera / PDA.
posted by punilux at 10:30 AM on July 26, 2004

i've noticed that some airports now have places to rent phones in the arrivals area. you might want to try contacting heathrow (or wherever you're arriving) and ask if they have that.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:57 AM on July 26, 2004

I used Adam Phones on my last trip. Not cheap (mostly because I was in three different countries), but it was nice to have a phone with me. They had a booth at Gatwick, and probably have one at other airports as well.
posted by judith at 2:00 PM on July 26, 2004

what gyc said. A SIM card will cost £10 from a newsagent's, then just keep topping it up. GSM phones can be had on eBay for cheapola.

But tell them not to call the US with them - it's hideously expensive. They should use the Post Office Phonecard from a landline for that.
posted by bonaldi at 2:05 PM on July 26, 2004

There was a query on this before with some good answers, but I can't find it.. I wouldn't recommend a pay-as-you-go mobile phone for international calls, I don't think it would be cheap.

Punilux's advice is good, though.
posted by ascullion at 2:19 PM on July 26, 2004

Again what gyc said.

Also bear in mind that in the UK you don't get charged for receiving calls.
posted by i_cola at 3:24 PM on July 26, 2004

Pay-as-you-go phones really are the best solution to this problem. Woolworths (UK version) always seems to have really good and inexpensive ones, as do WH Smith, on occasion. I bought one at Ryman (office supply shop) about 4 years ago for £25 and it's needed one new battery but has got me through a long stay in the UK.

Even receiving international calls is free on most plans (I know it is on T-Mobile and Virgin).

If you MUST call overseas from a mobile, use one of the call-connection services such as 0870 794 0870, which will charge you for a 'national call' (about £.15/minute on my current plan) and connect you with many countries.
posted by yellowcandy at 11:42 PM on July 26, 2004

« Older Online Streaming Music   |   Streaming DNC Convention Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.