Help: best prepaid mobile carrier in the UK?

diazj3

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 19, 2008
879
135
Hi.

I'm studying in London for six months, starting next week, and taking my unlocked (ex-AT&T) iPhone4 to use there. Whats the best (price and service) carrier from which I can buy a local SIM card for prepaid voice and data?

thanks,
 

nickdylan

macrumors regular
Mar 17, 2012
126
0
Do you use a lot of data? Three offers unlimited 3G data with unlimited tethering. 3G might not sound appealing, but 3G in London is faster than 4G in many parts of the USA. When I go to the UK I use Three, and pay something like $24 a month for unlimited data. It's fast enough that I can tether my laptop and stream 1080p video, torrent files, and do anything else I'd want to do.
 

diazj3

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 19, 2008
879
135
this

https://www.three.co.uk/Support/Free_SIM/Order

or if you don't mind adverts when using 4g, you can get a free service

http://www.ovivomobile.com

i don't know how good their coverage is though

Thanks. I hope there are no unreasonable requirements for acquiring or paying for the SIM card as a foreigner.

It's my old iPhone 4 which I had unlocked, so no 4g possible.



Do you use a lot of data? Three offers unlimited 3G data with unlimited tethering. 3G might not sound appealing, but 3G in London is faster than 4G in many parts of the USA. When I go to the UK I use Three, and pay something like $24 a month for unlimited data. It's fast enough that I can tether my laptop and stream 1080p video, torrent files, and do anything else I'd want to do.

Thanks. Yes, mostly data, but not huge amounts of it - I guess around 500MB to 1GB per month. And 3G is ok.

Three sounds pretty good. Hope buying the SIM card as foreigner is no problem as in other countries, or that the payment is possible with foreign credit cards, etc.
 

bandofbrothers

macrumors 601
Oct 14, 2007
4,780
328
Uk
Thanks. I hope there are no unreasonable requirements for acquiring or paying for the SIM card as a foreigner.

It's my old iPhone 4 which I had unlocked, so no 4g possible.






Thanks. Yes, mostly data, but not huge amounts of it - I guess around 500MB to 1GB per month. And 3G is ok.

Three sounds pretty good. Hope buying the SIM card as foreigner is no problem as in other countries, or that the payment is possible with foreign credit cards, etc.

You should have no issue obtaining a pay as you go sim as they are free from Network shops.

However some do insist on you topping up the sim card with £10 of credit.

You may find using a non uk credit card to top up a problem{not always the case} but buying vouchers from either the network shop or newsagents is easy. Or topping up via an ATM is a choice.
 

nebo1ss

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,776
1,485
Lots of people recommending Three on here. My experience is that they are the worst carrier in London. The best prices yes, but you get what you pay for.

Their Data service is overloaded and very slow. The best I was ever able to get until i got rid of them was like 300Kbps download speeds in the E1W area. I changed to T-Mobile initially and got 2Mbps and now on EE 4G with speeds of 20 Mbps.

Family member in Guildford Surrey had similar experience and could not wait to get rid of them.
 

cambookpro

Contributor
Feb 3, 2010
6,746
2,336
United Kingdom
I found 3 to have awful service inside any building in London - YMMV.

Another cheap carrier is giffgaff, where you can get 1GB of data, 500 mins and unlimited texts for £10 per month. Or you could try Ovivo as someone said, but that requires a £20 upfront cost for the SIM.
 

Col Ronson

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2008
619
2
i can attest to 3. Its cheap, its unlimited, it suits the casual need.

I'd seriously consider upgrading the phone though. the iPhone 4 doesn't have a HSPA+ radio, so you won't get any impressive speeds.
 

diazj3

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jan 19, 2008
879
135
You should have no issue obtaining a pay as you go sim as they are free from Network shops.
Lots of people recommending Three on here. My experience is that they are the worst carrier in London. The best prices yes, but you get what you pay for.
Another cheap carrier is giffgaff, where you can get 1GB of data, 500 mins and unlimited texts for £10 per month. Or you could try Ovivo as someone said, but that requires a £20 upfront cost for the SIM.
i can attest to 3. Its cheap, its unlimited, it suits the casual need.

Noted. I guess I'll take the final decision once I get there and head to a Three store and check it out.

Thanks to all.

Cheers
 

ParishM

macrumors regular
Aug 12, 2007
151
1
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
i used GiffGaff on a recent trip to the UK, i joined their forums and found they have a program where established members in the UK can send you a SIM and
you get a £5 credit when you activate it. i also had the UK member add a £10
top-off giving me a total credit of £15. then i purchased one of their "Goody Bags" for £15 that included 400 minutes (now 500) unlimited texts and data.

he mailed me the SIM a week before i left and once i walked out of Heathrow
i popped the GiffGaff SIM in my GS3 and it worked. in about 30 seconds i got a text with a file that updated my APN settings and everything worked perfectly.

for the price i was very satisfied !
 

IFRIT

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2012
840
137
Noted. I guess I'll take the final decision once I get there and head to a Three store and check it out.

Thanks to all.

Cheers
SIM cards can usually just be bought from supermarkets as well they cost a £1.
 
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