Carrier Need help from UK users?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by awesomest47, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. awesomest47 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    #1
    So, I am visiting the uk soon and I wanted to be able to use my iPhone 4S. My question is if I order a micro SIM card now and stick it in my iPhone, will it be deactivated by the time I reach the uk and how long can I keep a SIM card in the phone before it needs to be topped up? So when I put the sim card into my iPhone will it show a signal and I be able to call 611 to top up or will making that call be impossible until I actually have paid for a top up voucher. Hopefully I won't have to buy a top-up until I'm actually in the uk. Which network allows me to use a SIM card in the phone to call to top up without expiring for a while is my question I guess. :D Thanks!
     
  2. CelestialToys macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Location:
    up above the streets and houses
    #2
    some of the UK companies require you to top up every 30 days or you lose your credit, others don't..it depends on the network you choose.

    I'm pretty sure you wont be able to activate any sim until you get to the UK so you may be as well to just pick one up when you get here, they are readily available at many gas stations and pretty much every supermarket and can be quickly topped up and in use within minutes.
     
  3. bp1000 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2011
    #3
    Yes it might be best to find a three store when you land. They are probably your best bet.

    I've had sims last for 6months unused but as mentioned you loose your top up rewards after 30 days.
     
  4. virginblue4 macrumors 68000

    virginblue4

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2012
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #4
    If you need to call to top up you're out of luck, but if you are able to use the internet, giffgaff are your best bet. Great deals and I've had a SIM activated for over a month and it still worked in my phone.

    For £12 you get truly unlimited data, unlimited texts and 500 minutes.

    http://giffgaff.com
     
  5. awesomest47 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2012
    #5
    What do you guys think of 02? You can keep your sim active just by using it every 6 months and the credit doesn't expire for 25 years?! Wow- can someone confirm this, if this were the case I could keep the sim for future uk trips. Can I activate this from abroad without adding credit till I'm in the uk or would the sim expire?
     
  6. CelestialToys macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2013
    Location:
    up above the streets and houses
    #6
    never used an iphone on o2, but they were my provider prior to iphone and they have some of the best coverage in the UK

    and I think the 6months thing is correct, I think you need to be connected to their network in order to activate it though
     
  7. rctlr macrumors 6502a

    rctlr

    Joined:
    May 9, 2012
    #7
  8. bandofbrothers macrumors 601

    bandofbrothers

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Location:
    Uk
    #8
    I assume your phone is unlocked.

    The sim would have to be activated when your in the Uk.
     
  9. cambookpro macrumors 603

    cambookpro

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #9
    giffgaff, on paper, give you the best deals, however they have no brick and mortar stores so you'd have to order one online. They run on the O2 network.

    You next best bet is Three, who'll provide great data deals. SIMs are sold either in their stores, in supermarkets, at airports or at pharmacies like Boots or Superdrug (I think!)

    Otherwise, I'd go O2. Good coverage but not the best value.
     
  10. Mercenary macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    #10
    1. Make sure your phone is unlocked.
    2. When your here, head to a Three store (google to find your nearest one when your here). They do pay as you go SIMs.

    You can top up £10 or whatever and it doesnt expire. Their charges are 3p per minute for voice, 2p per text and 1p per MB (so £10 will get you a nice 1GB).

    Or, you can buy a bundle. £15 gets you 300 mins, 3000 texts and UNLIMITED data. But their bundles expire after 30 days.

    http://www.three.co.uk/Store/Pay_As_You_Go_Price_Plans

    Three also cover 80% of the UK with DC-HSDPA and I often get 15-20mbps downloads.

    You can top up via the phone (call 333), via the web or pop into most Supermarkets and buy a top up card.
     
  11. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #11
    I had relatives visit me from back home a while back...they all used Giff Gaff and all had no issues at all...Another vote for them here.
     
  12. ant1298 macrumors 6502

    ant1298

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    #12
    The sim will need to be activated in the UK and will last for 6 months if unused and not connected to the network. It'll last longer if its turned on. Not sure whether switching it on every few months outside the UK will work.

    Source about 6 month period/ activation: sim card packet
     
  13. handyman46 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    #13
    check coverage

    A lot of votes for O2/giffgaff, and I'm sure they're all good - but based on their own experiences. However it does depend a LOT on which part of the uk you will be staying. Here in rural Wales for example, O2 coverage is awful. I'd suggest you do a web search for the various providers 'coverage maps', they all have them. In my area O2's own coverage map shows that you'll very rarely get 3G and will often struggle getting 2G. If you're staying with friends/relatives, check with them what the coverage is like, and who they are with before you decide. Having said that, if you're going to be spending most of your time in the cities and large towns, coverage should be fine whoever you go with.
     
  14. d123 macrumors 68000

    d123

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Location:
    Earth
    #14
    No UK network has credit that expires after 30 days, credit basically lasts forever. What does last 30 days are the optional minutes/texts/data bundles you can buy with credit.


    O2/Giffgaff has pretty good coverage through England at least. If you have a 3G900 handset (the local iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S and 5 are) then coverage is ample and 3G speed usable everywhere I've tried it.

    I've noticed giffgaff simcards on display in the independent unlocker type phone shops recently, alternatively you could order a giffgaff sim just before you leave and have it posted to your UK address where you will be staying.

    What they ask,is a chargeable action at least every 6 months to keep it live, so a top up (can be done online) or a call / text will do. It doesn't say the call or text can't be whilst abroad.

    I would ensure the voicemail was turned off completely, otherwise any incoming call while you are in the US would deplete your credit.
     
  15. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #15
    That's interesting, but not surprising...I know my O2 signal vanishes if I go further north than Barmouth, and is non existent in Snowdonia, ut here in Cardiff it's fine. I know that the National Parks admin will not allow masts in the park...hence no coverage, but OP, as long as you are not in rural locations Giff Gaff should work fine.
     
  16. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Location:
    Behind the Lens, UK
    #16
    I'm with O2 and have found it to be good in terms of signal and 3G coverage. I am in the midlands, but also spend time in Essex and London. My Dad is with Three (in Essex) and his coverage is really poor.
     
  17. TheProFTW macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #17
    Three has some fast 3g, and they have stores, so a vote for them
     
  18. Grayburn macrumors 68000

    Grayburn

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2010
    Location:
    London, England
    #18
    How can you offer that as advice...it's fast and they have stores.Every network has stores except GiffGaff!

    Three is excellent if you're in a good area but if you're not then it's pretty much useless, to get good service from Three you need to be pretty damn near a mast and they're highly outnumbered by o2,Voda and EE masts!

    I've got a contract with Three which i dont use as i find them unreliable coverage wise, useless where i live (Essex) and just as bad at work (City of London). I'd only recommend Three if i had a mast on my house!

    Average speeds and great coverage with o2 is much better then great speeds here and there sometimes with Three.
     
  19. d123 macrumors 68000

    d123

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2009
    Location:
    Earth
    #19
    Might be so in Wales, but I use O2 across the North of England, from Manchester to Newcaslte and the Borders and it is a reliable signal, probably better than the others in the really rural parts of Northumberland.

    Remember O2 used to be BT Cellnet, one of the original networks when cellular mobile started, they still tend to have masts on BT property like exchanges and major switch sites.

    For 3G use o2 seem to have improved 3G900 immeasurably in the last few years, with a 3G900 compatible phone the 3G coverage and quality is far better.
     

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