UK Cell Phone Carriers

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by rtharper, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. rtharper macrumors regular

    rtharper

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    #1
    So, yay me, I was accepted at a UK university for graduate school (I'm currently in the US). Part of this move, of course, means changing phone numbers and cell phone carriers. I've suffered through some pretty awful experiences with Sprint and Verizon in the States and therefore I barely trust my judgement in finding a good carrier in the UK. I've looked over the price plans and services for Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange, and 3. It looks to ME like T-Mobile has good coverage, good plans, good phones, and good 3G service (which I assume is UMTS?).

    Anyway, I know there's a large number of UK people in the MR community, what are your feelings on who I should go with in the UK?
     
  2. astranovus macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    #2
    i live in the u.k. and am at a university in the north,

    t-mobile is the smallest of all networks,
    orange is pretty expensive,

    3 does some decent contracts, try the following links for some really good deals,
    these are two high street chains, but their online deals are often very cheap.


    www.carphonewarehouse.co.uk
    www.thelink.co.uk


    i'm with vodafone, as students get unlimited sms and picture messages
    i hope this helps a little,

    feel free to pm me for more
     
  3. garybUK Guest

    garybUK

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    #3
    Remember, you need a credit history to get a contract phone, as a non-citizen you won't be able to get one.

    Pay as you go is probably the only option.

    Vodafone = Largest network in the world
    Orange = good coverage and they do a international PAYG sim pack 5p a min to USA
    O2 = good coverage and 3g services and barely any branding on their phones.
    T-Mobile = expensive and horrible branding of phones.
    Virgin = use T-Mobile i believe?
    3 = uses o2 for 2/2.5g + GSM and their own cell network for 3g. I had terrible service from them and would never go back.
     
  4. gavd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2006
    #4
    Is this really the case? When I got my first mobile (admittedly, about 10 years ago) I didn't have any credit history, but was still accepted.

    I also thought Mobile Phone Providers credit checks weren't quite as stringent as other companies.

    Another option would be http://www.phones4u.co.uk/. When I was with them once, they didn't do a credit check as such at all. They just asked me for a credit card to put through a transaction for £50 which they then voided, and that was deemed good enough.
     
  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #5
    Not sure about the credit history thing, but I went for Pay As You Go when I lived there. I was 20 years old (6 years ago), had no friends there, so I really didn't want a monthly plan. Once I made friends, all I did was SMS.


    And if your uni is in London, don't get Orange. It has horrible coverage, unless they improved it over the past 6 years.
     
  6. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    #6
    I've always used Virgin Moibile pay-as-you-go myself, and have no complaints about the coverage or service – mind, I don't use my phone a great deal so that's what makes pay-as-you-go a better option for me.
     
  7. AndyR macrumors 6502a

    AndyR

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    #7
    Have used Orange for 5+ years now and never had a problem. Got a free phone upgrade each year and the few times my phone has packed up/i bust it, I had a replacement within 24hrs. Get good coverage everywhere, except in my lounge :confused: and works abroad a treat.

    O2 aren't bad either. Use them on my work mobile and they do some good plans.
     
  8. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
    #8
    I've heard (and experienced) that most of the networks are pretty similar for coverage. It's a small country so there's less to worry about - in most larger areas there are no "dead zones".

    We've got T-Mobile and Vodafone in this house. No complaints on either one.
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #9
    And please refer to them as "mobile phones" or "mobiles." ;)
     
  10. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
    #10
    yes, forgot about that. and pronounced Mo-bile (said like: "while") as opposed to the native US pronunciation of mobile (like mo-BILL) but that's an entirely different topic. :p
     
  11. Ish macrumors 68000

    Ish

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    I have a pay-as-you-go mobile and I changed from O2 to Virgin a few years ago because it was cheaper for me and now I don't have to pay for incoming voice mail. I was able to keep my old number and transfer it over. I don't use my phone a lot either and I just shopped around for the deal that fitted in best with what I wanted. The names of quite a few UK carriers have been mentioned, and usually they have various schemes, so I suggest you visit a few of their websites and check what's best for you.
     
  12. rtharper thread starter macrumors regular

    rtharper

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    #12
    Evidence from several American friends that have moved over there would prove this wrong, although you do need a bank account in the UK.


    Thanks for your help, everyone!
     
  13. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816

    SpookTheHamster

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #13
    I've been with o2 for a few years and I'm sticking with them, but if I was going to be getting a new contract I'd be tempted by Orange. They have some great deals on both the normal contracts and the student ones, also, if you know somebody on Orange you can get unlimited free calls to their number (Magic Number).

    edit: Orange, Vodafone and T-Mobile (I think) are the only three that actually own telephone masts, the other carriers all use the masts owned by those three, though I find coverage to be best on o2, then Orange and Vodafone (but Vodafone are expensive and have a bad selection of phones)
     
  14. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
    #14
    It might be a little tougher than you may think to get your first UK bank account as a non-citizen. Because of the risk of money laundering they want to make sure you're on the level. They'll check that you're not just a visitor to the UK - This would be on your passport, rather the visa within it; in your case a student visa. You'll need to show you're going to be there for more than 6 months. They want (usually two) proof(s) of residence in the UK and payslips for some sort of verification of income. They might go without the income part but they'd be likely to give you a basic account, which is just a debit card which works only at ATMs. (at least this is what I remember) The banking system here is rather archaic so just be aware of that or it might really tick you off when you find this out later. I was a little startled by how much more difficult it was to attain a proper bank account here, just wanted to warn you.
     
  15. geese macrumors 6502a

    geese

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #15
    O2 have their own network as well. I'm on them and have no complaints about the coverage, especially in the quieter bits of East Anglia.

    Virgin tends to have some good deals if you pay monthly. You can get 300 minutes and texts for £20 a month i think.
     
  16. 00hkelly macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2006
    #16
    i used to have orange and my mum has a n70 on orange but they are expensive and her n70 has been totally locked down by orange on the software side so you cant change wallpaper and the smart menu and its all grey and rubbish.
    i have been with o2 for 2 years on contract and in the second year they halved the price of my plan and doubled the free minutes and texts and i got the nokia N80 for £120 which feature wise is pretty similar to the iphone interestingly enough, wifi, real internet browser good 3mp camera obviously not as cool tho
     
  17. miniConvert macrumors 68040

    miniConvert

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    Location:
    Kent, UK - the 'Garden of England'.
    #17
    Personally I recommend Vodafone. They're not the cheapest, but they have the most robust coverage nationally (of course all the networks have some specific geographic coverage issues, though I've experienced the fewest problems on Vodafone). Vodafone's population coverage is at 99.7%, and their use of 900MHz GSM, as opposed to 1800MHz GSM like Orange and T-Mobile, means their signal goes further and reaches inside buildings better.

    O2 is a popular choice with students, however, because it's pretty cheap. Again it uses 900MHz GSM. O2 doesn't make me feel particularly warm and fuzzy inside, but I wouldn't beat you up with a fire extinguisher if you decided to go with them.

    T-Mobile have Web n Walk, the best mobile data package by far in the UK. They also have pretty variable coverage compared to Vodafone, but it's ok. Orange, well, you get good value if you want free landline broadband - but you need a premises with a BT line installed to get that. Neither of these networks are probably your best choice for your requirement.

    I wouldn't worry about 3G too much to be honest. 3G services are still quite expensive here and you'll trade handset size and battery life for stuff you probably wont use - unless it's mobile data you specifically need.

    I've neglected to mention Three. They're the smallest and worst network in the UK by a long shot. Their value perspective has recently been eclipsed by the other networks if you shop around for a good deal, all their front line customer services are manned by a very generic outsourcing company in India (I've dealt with some fantastic Indian outsourced CS operations, 3's never has been and probably never will be one of them) and I still have reservations about the technical quality of calls on their network when compared with the general excellence Vodafone offer.

    You could do much worse than a mid-range Nokia handset on Vodafone Pay as you Go.

    I hope my mumblings can help you in some way or another. If you do specifically want 3G capability then you'll probably inspire some lively debate at www.talk3g.co.uk

    I hope you like the UK! Pack a brolly! ;)
     

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