Going to UK, what should I do about a phone?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Nermal, Mar 31, 2010.

  1. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #1
    Hi,

    First of all, this is not iPhone related but it's still probably the most appropriate forum.

    My mum is going to the UK next month and she'll need a phone. She's currently using a Nokia 6275i, which from what I can tell is not going to work in the UK (it's a CDMA phone). Is that correct? Are there no CDMA operators at all?

    I'm guessing that the best bet would be to pick up a GSM phone and a local SIM. She will be over there for a couple of months and potentially going just about anywhere, however she'll only be using voice and text. Which local operator would you suggest for the best coverage? Remember, she won't be using data so 3G speeds etc are pretty much irrelevant. The cost of calling back to NZ would also be a factor if all the operators have similar coverage.

    Any suggestions, or any other ideas?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. R.Youden macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #2
    Hi,

    Well I may not have the complete answer but here goes:

    I do not think the 6275i will work over here. My recommendation would be to buy a cheap phone over here, Nokia sell bucket loads similar to that one so she will be able to get something she is familiar with. Again, just throw any pay as you go SIM in there, pretty much all the major phone companies have excellent coverage but I would go with either O2 or Vodaphone.

    To get cheap calls to New Zealand I would recommend getting an international phone card, you can buy them off the internet and they are a pre-paid card, so much cheaper than the carriers charges. You ring this number and then dial your New Zealand number and they connect you.

    If you need any more advice just let us know.

    I hope your mum has a great holiday over here.
     
  3. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    #3
    You can say that again! Vodafone wants £1.50/minute to NZ! :eek:

    I can't find O2's rates anywhere (aside from adding a calling plan with a monthly fee). I also can't find Vodafone's international texting costs. Does anyone have a link to those?

    Edit: I know that I said data isn't necessary, but I see that 3 offers free Skype and MSN. What's the coverage like with 3? Does anyone know what sort of phone is needed (frequencies etc)?
     
  4. R.Youden macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #4
    OK,

    Go to www.planetphonecards.com and select UK to New Zealand as a phone card. The select national rate numbers (0208) - these are the cheapest from a mobile and you will see that for around £20 you can get 2000 minutes to NZ. Then work out how much a pay & go network charges per minute. For example from O2:

    They do a Nokia 2330 for £30 on P&G. Then you can select the international tariff which gives you 200 international minutes if you top up £30 per month. After those 200 minutes calls to the 0208 number will cost 25p per minute for the first 3 minutes then 5p per minute there after.

    So that will all-in-all be a huge saving over £1.50 per minute!

    Personally I would not touch 3 with a barge pole. Their network coverage is shocking and phones are very expensive (thats what i've heard and I could be wrong)
     
  5. androiphone macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    #5
    I respectfully disagree 3 mobile has just as much coverage as every other network now, and their phones start at £30 which includes the free skype and msn at zero a month and you can have 1GB of data for just £5. they have also just successfully managed to force ofcom to reduce the MTR prices here

    with the mobile industry and mobile phones moving to ever more data, and therefore voip calling, centric I'm supprised by peoples refusal to move networks from the old business model (and remove every function that you may want to use on your phone) networks like orange and vodafone

    I personally recommend 3 mobile esp. with skype. as for the frequancies every phone in the uk uses GSM and every phone can work on every network at every speed obviously if you are bringing a phone from another network you would have to get it unlocked, the frequancies from abroard I dont know but we can use tmobiles nexus one on 3g AFAIK and also we can use AT&Ts iphone, but any phone bought in the uk can be used on any network in the UK

    if you are concerned about coverage go here and have a look cause remember skype = free, calling card = not free
     
  6. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    New Zealand
    #6
    This page says that you need a 3G phone, so I assume that it's talking about a WCDMA phone, rather than GSM. It doesn't list which frequencies are required though.

    All non-CDMA phones sold in NZ are unlocked so there are no issues there. I just don't want to pick up, say, a WCDMA 850/2100 phone here and then find that mum needs needs 900 in the UK!
     
  7. androiphone macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    #7
    if WCDMA is related to CDMA like verizon is in the US then no network exists like that in the UK as they are all GSM including 3 mobile
    the reason they require a 3G phone is because their entire network is 3G based and they share the 2G bit with another company to increase coverage which you roam (it's 100% free) on when you are not near a 3 mobile mast,

    as far as I can tell all UK networks use one of these: 2100/AWS/900 for 3G and one or more of these: 850/900/1800/1900 for 2G both on the GSM standard but since all networks use the same and all phones can use all these frequancies noone really knows or needs to know as they all just work.
     
  8. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    #8
    WCDMA (also known as UMTS) is a 3G technology and is usually paired up with GSM (which only supports 2G). For example, Vodafone NZ uses GSM for 2G and WCDMA for 3G. I think it's safe to say that the UK does the same thing; after all, a normal WCDMA iPhone seems to provide 3G over there :)

    The other common 3G technology is EVDO (paired with CDMA2000), which from what I can tell is not used at all in the UK. That's the one used by Verizon and Sprint in the US, as well as my mum's current network in NZ.

    I *think* I know what I'm talking about but I'm trying to confirm that I have the right understanding of how it all works in the UK.

    Ugh, 900 MHz. That means that the phone won't be reusable on the 850 MHz network here when she gets back (there are currently no phones that support both 850 and 900) :(
     
  9. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

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    Location:
    The Kop
    #9
    A pay as you go phone can be had for as little as £10 with a £10 top up.

    Where abouts in the UK is she going? Does she know anyone staying here as she could probably get one for free as most people have an old phone lying in a draw somewhere.

    Most major companies have an internaltional special sims/tariffs.

    e.g. 02 http://www.o2.co.uk/yourcountry or http://www.o2international.co.uk/callingabroadfromtheuk/InternationalCallerBoltOn.aspx

    There are also other less major companies that offer cheap international calling plans
     
  10. northy124 macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #10
    Might I recommend Orange, you can get a cheap phone for £4.50 (plus £10 top up) and if the person using the phone picks Camel option they can get 6p (landlne) and 30p (mobile) a minute calls to NZ and 15p a text :)

    Orange also have great coverage although IDK where the person is going so I can only base that one where I live (South West :)).
     
  11. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

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    #11
    She's going all over the place (starting in London and then heading east and then around clockwise eventually ending up in Manchester, then potentially heading up to Scotland). That's why I was interested in wide coverage.

    Orange certainly looks like it has good prices, and £4.50 for a phone? Incredible. I'll certainly mention that to her :)

    Thanks for all the replies so far.
     
  12. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

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    Aug 28, 2009
    #12
    3 Mobile is NOT GSM neither are any of the 3G networks. GSM is a 2G technology (and is the fallback). 3G in the UK is UMTS/HSDPA I personally will recommend any network except O2 or 3 Mobile. (O2 has very poor 3G coverage and 3 Mobile have tried to rip me off in the past.)
     
  13. pugnut macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    #13
    I spent a few weeks in London a year ago and used my iPhone. I purchased a ATT data package add-on and monitored my usage. I also bought a BT wi0fi card that gives you access to their wi-fi network. I ad no issues, converge was better than decent. I monitored my data usage and all was fine.
     
  14. sparky7 macrumors member

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    #14
  15. xUKHCx Administrator emeritus

    xUKHCx

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    Location:
    The Kop
    #15
    I'd definitely avoid 3 then. In the major areas they are fine however in more remote locations they are patchy.

    Orange and 02 offer very good coverage. Vodafone I've personally had no experience with, T-mobile are shockingly bad with their customer service and their coverage isn't great either.

    Yup :) You can pick up cheap pay as you go phones from all of the operators. So cheap that they are essentially disposable.

    I've had no problems with 02's coverage.

    I guess it is the standard problem as coverage can vary quite a lot in small areas and with types of buildings.
     
  16. northy124 macrumors 68020

    northy124

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    Nov 18, 2007
    #16
    Yhup but they are the most basic of phones you can get but if she doesn't care for anything other than jut calls and texts they are fine :)
     
  17. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    #17
    Yeah, I'm sure that it'll be fine; just look at her current Nokia :p (scary to think that it used to be my primary phone!)
     
  18. Internaut macrumors 6502a

    #18
    I'll second (third? fourth?) Orange

    Their coverage is excellent and, on the right option you can get reasonably priced international calls. Three is also good if you can get one of the phones with built in Skype.
     
  19. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

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    #19
    I've talked to mum and she's very happy with Orange's pricing, and the coverage looks good too. Thanks for all the suggestions :)
     

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