Traveling to the UK & want to buy a data plan? No dice.

Discussion in 'iPad' started by mcdj, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. mcdj macrumors G3

    mcdj

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    NYC
    #1
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; U; CPU OS 3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.21.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.4 Mobile/7B367 Safari/531.21.10)

    I posted here several times seeking advice on whether I could buy a data plan for my visit to London instead of paying for AT&Thief's exorbitant and paltry 200mb/$200 international data plan. Some said it *should* be no problem, but I never got a definitive answer, probably because the iPad is so new.





    I even called O2 from the states and was told it should be no problem.





    Well I'm in London now and have been to all 3 carriers' shops and the final answer is a resounding NO. You can not purchase even the simplest £2/day plan without signing up with a credit card and a matching UK billing address. This was confirmed by O2, Orange, Vodafone, and Apple. Carphone Warehouse isn't offering data plans for the iPad at all.





    So here I sit, posting this over the abysmal hotel wifi. Without 3G, the iPad is all but useless for getting around town and finding cool places, so I leave it in the hotel safe.





    Desperate for a way to use Google Maps (geez London, could you be any more spread out and confusing (and beautiful)?), I called AT&Thief, and signed up for unlimited international data for the iphone via my FAN account. It's $65/month with a 1 year commitment, or a $175 ETF. It will be prorated for this month, to the tune of about $30, as I will only use it for 11 days. With the ETF It will cost about the same as the 200mb plan, but it's unlimited, and I've already gone over 200mb In 2 days, so it's worth it, sort of..unless you compare it to the UK Carriers, who charge about $20 for 3GB/month.
     
  2. Frangore macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    #2
    does the orange pay and go require the details? i managed to pick one up for a penny that had £10 pre loaded
     
  3. mcdj thread starter macrumors G3

    mcdj

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    NYC
    #3
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; U; CPU OS 3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/531.21.10 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.4 Mobile/7B367 Safari/531.21.10)

    According to 2 different Orange shops yesterday, they require all info.





    Where did you get the 1P sim? Sounds like it might be for calling only?
     
  4. Frangore macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 10, 2010
    #4
    i brought it with the iPad, haven't used it yet though used it yet ! have you asked the apple store as network drones/ aka sales people are useless!!
     
  5. Zcott macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2009
    Location:
    Belfast, Ireland
    #5
    It makes me sad to hear stories like this. Apple designed such a beautiful product for travelling and yet the close-minded networks refuse to make things easy for travellers. My apologies on behalf of the UK networks.
     
  6. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Manhattan
    #6
    The carriers will never give up their lucrative international rates. The price you paid doesn't sound worth it. Maybe you could have bought a local plan with a gift card purchased in the UK. Some have been successful in the US doing this anyway.
     
  7. leehal macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    #7
    There are data only sim cards available to use on the Three network, they cost around £35 for 12GB of useage, have a search for 'Three' within this forum. What I don't know is where they are available apart from Ebay and you need to trim the sim down to fit.
     
  8. Nevasleep macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2010
    #8
    Perhaps buy a Pay As You Go Sim Card, with say £10 topup. Then cut that sim down to micro-sim size.

    I believe T-Mobile offer 40MB a day for £1 per day.

    ....ahh seems its too late :/
     
  9. wrkactjob macrumors 65816

    wrkactjob

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2008
    Location:
    London
    #9
    3G access can be very poor in London I'm afraid, well certainly with O2! So your probably better off with your slow wifi.

    Coffee shops often give free access and decent speeds though be careful where you go walking around London with an ipad on display.

    Sometimes a cheap old fasioned guide book and getting lost can be more fun.
     
  10. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    #10
    Have you tried what some UK visitors did w/ ATT -- Used a locally bought VISA GC and their hotels address. Would that work in the UK?
     
  11. koollectablz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2009
    #11
    Got mine off eBay, cut it down, works a treat. No account, no contract, no activation. Just put it in and rebooted.

    Using it right now, getting 2mb speeds so its not super fast, but def usable for surfing and the like.
     
  12. colmaclean macrumors 68000

    colmaclean

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Berlin
    #12
    All the solutions are rather long-winded, especially if you want to actually enjoy your holiday!

    Would be far easier if you could just buy a microsim in most shops (like you can a lottery ticket). It could be used for a certain time/amount of data. Will we ever see this? Hmmmm....
     
  13. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    #13
    Yes, but if you are of that mindset then you just buy the $200 200mb package and done. If you want to save money then expect to jump hoops. It would be fantastic if it was as easy as buy a candy bar, but if wishes were horses....
     
  14. colmaclean macrumors 68000

    colmaclean

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Berlin
    #14
    $200 for 200MB? Bit of a bum deal there!

    My point was that the mobile companies could make it a lot easier (if travelling to other countries) to acquire 3G access. They could even charge a premium for a one-off purchase, but just make it easy!
     
  15. DenniZ macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #15
    Wish you'd asked me earlier, you could have got a three pay as you go sim, preloaded with 3gb, 1gb or 12gb of data, no questions asked. ( on pay as you go).
     
  16. Nevasleep macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2010
    #16
    Trouble is that microsims haven't been around for long. Remember Europe had a month late release for the iPad too, and that there is only one device using it (until the iphone 4 is released).

    ****ing apple, changing something which worked fine.
     
  17. Chupa Chupa macrumors G5

    Chupa Chupa

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    #17
    Yes, complete rip off, I agree. Also I understand and agree w/ your point. Mine was only that life isn't simple, especially when you are interfering w/ a company's profits. Mobile companies have no financial interest in making it easy for customers to get relatively inexpensive no-contract data.

    And ATT does charge a premium for one-off data -- the issue is the premium is too rich.
     
  18. raymanster macrumors 6502

    raymanster

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #18
    You might want to try China town, there are a few independent mobile shops there. If they do a pay as you go Three data sim card they just might cut it down to micro-sim size for you. There are a couple on Shaftsbury avenue near Bank of China. And another few near China Town car park round the corner. I seriously doubt you need a UK address as you can buy Three top up vouchers for cash at most newsagents, supermarkets and even ATM machines.

    Or if you have an eBay account do a search on the UK site for "three data sim". I ordered one on Friday and got it on Saturday, so you could be in business by tomorrow morning.
     
  19. robanga macrumors 68000

    robanga

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2007
    Location:
    Oregon
    #19
    I have traveled to Europe once since getting the iPad 3G. Its still really new, I bet that situation will change. I'm off to Mexico in a couple of weeks and then back to Europe.

    Until then I buy the 200 MB plan from AT&T. I'm sure the AT&T shareholders appreciate my connection addictions.
     
  20. spinstorm macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2007
    #20
    SIMPLE SOLUTION

    Summary

    1. Buy a 3 PAYG Mobile Broadband SIM with 1 Month/3 Months data included.
    You may have to buy a dongle to get preloaded data - prices are here but can be purchased in 3 shops.
    http://threestore.three.co.uk/payg/?modem=1

    2. Go to Apple and pick up a FREE microsim from O2/3 to use as a template.

    3. Using your microsim template cut up the SIM you purchased.

    4. Change the APN to "3internet"


    Go to a Three shop. Three have good London coverage.

    Buy a pay as you go data mobile broadband SIM WITH DATA included

    (Just in case they don't have any you can buy any mobile broadband dongle with pre loaded data. Prices at http://threestore.three.co.uk/payg/?modem=1)

    All you have to do is CUT THE SIM DOWN TO MICRO SIM SIZE...

    I suggest that if you don't have a microsim template (and remmeber that the microsim on its own is sits in the centre of an existing SIM) then head to the
    Apple store in Regent's street and pick up an O2 or 3 microsim for iPad.

    Apple give these away for free... you will use them as a template as they have the micro sim inside an existing SIM that you pop out. (in case your wondering why I don't suggest signing up with them it is because you need a UK card and address).

    All you have to do is change the APN to 3internet and it will work.

    Simple.
     
  21. Hexxeh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #21
    Grab yourself a PAYG SIM, cut it to fit and pop it in. A quick Google will get you the correct APN settings, top-up and off you go. o2 do an unlimited (500MB FUP iirc) bolt-on for £7.50 on PAYG. o2 have terrible coverage in London though, so you're better off going for whatever 3's deal is as their coverage is pretty decent.
     
  22. DenniZ macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Location:
    Liverpool, UK
    #22
    Just to let you know, the a three pay as you go sim, is £5 Internet add on, which includes unlimited data (2gb fair usage).
     
  23. Hexxeh macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2008
    #23
    Ah, thanks for the heads up, I've just been trying to find out what their deal is for myself. o2 is hopeless at college, tried a bunch of SIMs in today and 3 and vodafone were the only ones to get a 3G signal. Thanks!

    Edit: Just put the £5 addon on, unlimited subject to FUP, works a treat! Pulls down a speedy 2mbit (retested again after posting this, it's getting about 2 to 2.5mbit) which is fine for on-the-go. Thanks for the tip!
     
  24. Seans macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    #24
    Success at activating on O2

    I arrived in London today. Went toO2 on the Strand. Was given a free micro sim. I was told by the salesman I could activate any iPad plan using my foreign credit card as long as I used a local London address.
    Regent Street Apple store updated the carrier settings for me. I was then able to create my account used my foreign Mastercard and the hotel address as my billing address. It activated immediately.
    Also note I was able to activate the 1gb recurring plan and was not limited to the daily 500mb pay as you go.
     
  25. nusynergy macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2008
    Location:
    Kent - UK
    #25
    A more expensive option(but you dont have to cut down any SIM cards) is to buy a MIFI adapter on 3.

    I popped into my local 3 store the other day and payed for one with cash.
    (No credit card or Address details). Its around £40 including £10 credit.
    3's Data coverage in London is HSPDA/HSUDA and is fantastic, Im getting connection speeds of about 3.5 - 4mbps download and 1.5mbps upload.

    The device sets up a WIFI hotspot using the mobile broadband SIM that is in the unit. Its Pay as you go and can be topped up using cash where ever you see the green TOPUP sign (Any local shop or Supermarket usually).

    You can even get it unlocked so when you go home to the States you can put any US carrier SIM in.

    Hope this can help.
     

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