Travel to UK newbie questions

Discussion in 'iPad' started by KristinaR, Jun 16, 2011.

  1. KristinaR macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2011
    Hi there. I have an ATT iPad 2 although currently have no data plan. I am traveling to England (Lake District) and Scotland this summer. I have three questions:

    1) Can I purchase a pay as you go plan and micro sim when I get there with only my hotel address as a local address?

    2) Which provider has the best coverage, especially in Scotland?

    3) Is it necessary to activate my ATT data plan here in the US before I leave?

    Thanks so much for your help!
  2. Mac.World macrumors 68000


    Jan 9, 2011
    In front of uranus
    At least here in England, you don't need any address for pay and go sims. You go to an O2 store (AT&T equivalent type store) or Orange or T-Mobile, and ask for a sim card for the iPad and pay 10, 20 or 50 Pounds up front. You can top up at billions of stores, ATM's, etc, whenever you need. Just pay cash is my recommendation and don't deal with credit card int'l exchange rates, since your banking institution is in the US. If you plan to open an overseas account, then there is some criteria, like a physical address, passport, and some even require a bill (like oil or electric) as proof you live at a UK address.

    I have no idea about questions 2 and 3. Don't live in Scotland or the US, but O2 is nationwide. I think it will depend on where in Scotland you plan to live. Edinburgh or Glasgow will be no problem, regardless of provider, I'd imagine.
  3. KristinaR thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2011
    Thanks. Does anyone know about my last question? Is it necessary to activate a data plan here in the US before leaving? I have seen different information about this.
  4. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    You don't need to activate your AT&T plan before travel. Just pop in a sin over here and your rocking.
  5. thunderbunny macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2010
    Cheshire, UK
    In terms of mobile broadband speed O2 is the winner. Coverage is good too. You can pick up a free microsim (online ordering needs a UK post code Once you've got a SIM you need to enter debit/credit card details, can't check but this will probably accept your US address. Can then select a price plan for 30 days, remembering to cancel the recurring payment when you leave. The O2 packs also give you access to BTOpenZone and The Cloud who are the two biggest public Wi-fi providers.
  6. Godzirra macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2010
    Somewhere on Salisbury plain, and Apple, UK
    Three do a micro sim for £20, it comes with 3GB allowance and lasts for 3 months. Then if you want to top up, you can use your CC/DC but it costs a bit more, about £10/month.

    When mine runs out, I just another £20 sim card.

    No problems with coverage so far, but that has been in major cities, from the south to the north.
  7. ag227 macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2007
    Id personally say dont bother with it. Im guessing the areas you would be more than likely to visit would be the more scenic and unpopulated areas, as such you may not even get single in some areas, and if you do it is pretty much guranteed to not be 3g.

    I would stick to finding wifi hotspots, of which there are plenty.
  8. thunderbunny macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2010
    Cheshire, UK
    I wouldn't expect to find many hotspots in the Lakes, they only got electricity in the 80's :p
  9. Tobster3 macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2010
    South Korea
    The coverage in Scotland is surprisingly good, even in most of the unpopulated areas and I think you will be ok.

    I am originally from Scotland and went back last year with the wife and toured the whole of Scotland. There were only some areas in the middle of nowhere where I couldn't receive any coverage.

    I was using a Three SIM, which I purchased in a local Three store for about £20 / $32 which had 3GB of data and was valid for 3 months although as thunder bunny mentions above I believe O2 now have the best coverage.
  10. KristinaR thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2011
    Thanks. I'll probably go with O2 for the trip.
  11. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    As someone who has lived in Scotland for over 20 years, I'd advise against O2. Their coverage outside of London is truly terrible - in my town (not far from Edinburgh) I struggled to get any signal at all.

    Vodafone or 3 are much better - 3 in particular do a good job of covering the road network, so if you are travelling by car, I'd definitely go with them.
  12. rovex macrumors 65816

    Feb 22, 2011
    Recently heard they moved away from huts to houses a decade ago :D
  13. Kylemccann macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2010
    I don't actually know what the signal will be like in the lake district but I do know from experience that Vodafone has very good coverage over scotland and it's the only one that hasn't failed me in the more remote parts of the highlands of Scotland.
  14. KristinaR thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 25, 2011
    Hmmm. Yes, we'll be in those remote areas. Perhaps Vodafone is the answer. The O2 website was much clearer about their charges, however. I'm going to need a sim for my cell phone as well for voice only to call back home to the U.S. I can't figure out what Vodafone's rates are for this, while O2 lays it all out on their site.
  15. bubulindo macrumors member


    Jul 16, 2010
    Neither here, nor there...
    This is not completely accurate. If your bank is spread around the world, like HSBC for example, you can open an account in your home country and then open an account in the UK through the same bank. This is possible and will be less of a pain to get a bank account in the UK.

    About the ATT data plan, how much will you play on roaming charges? I find it strange if you'll be able to use your US data plan with no added fees from Roaming. and if that's the case, then the best is to get a SIM in the UK and take it from there.

    You can also, use Starbucks or buy a BT openzone voucher (quite pricey) to use. There's plenty of possibilities, but it all depends on how long do you plan to stay in the UK.
  16. pauliphone macrumors regular

    Nov 27, 2008
    London, UK
    If you've got the data sim, and you'll prob have wifi at the hotel it would probably be cheaper to skype call back to the US

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