UK Mobile/Smartphone Questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by rtharper, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. rtharper macrumors regular

    rtharper

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    #1
    So I'm moving to the UK in ten days (so excited) and I've been looking over the cell mobile phone services there, as establishing a bank account (please spare me the horror stories of doing this as as visa holding resident, I've heard enough to enter into the fetal position as it is) and getting a mobile phone plan are some of my first priorities. From what I can tell, UK customers are used to a different system than I am, and I'm hoping that you guys can clarify some things for me.

    1) Carriers. I've been told before that there are pros and cons to each, but in the end they're somewhat created equal. Do you find this to be true? What about with regards to data plans, cost, and coverage? Does anyone offer free mobile-to-mobile calls within the same network? That is a standard feature here in the US nowadays, but I see no mention on the Vodafone/O2/Orange/T-mobile websites (although, I've been made to believe that incoming calls to a mobile are free regardless, is this true?).

    2) Phones. As I'm moving away from a lot of friends/family, I'm expecting email to become more and more a tool for communication. You guys also have way cool UMTS/HSDPA networks. So, I'm thinking of buying a smartphone. I have to say I'm a bit overwhelmed by the sheer number of GSM phones available. As Apple folk, I know you guys a) probably like to sync your incredibly handy device with your Apple computer and b) you "Think Different", so with that in mind, is there any particular brand/model you would recommend that's good for data/email/etc.

    3) Unlocked vs locked. Also, I read on these boards and elsewhere that SO many people in the UK buy unlocked phones. I see that most carriers will give you a pretty swish phone (blackberry, etc) for free with an 18 month contract, is this a bad way to go? I looked up the prices of unlocked phones and some of them made my jaw drop. If you do buy unlocked phones, how do you do it without breaking the bank? I bought a decent little phone here that will work over there on the 1800mHz band for now (it was 20 bucks, nothing special) and immediately broke the simlock, and tried to load up a Mobile World sim and the phone didn't complain (we'll see when I stop off the plane how everything goes...). Simlock breaking, of course, has some approval in the law here through consumer protection laws, but how common is it to break the simlock on a locked phone in the UK and how much do the carriers hate you for it (do you lose service/contract?).

    I know this post is long and asks lots of questions, but any sort of insight you all could offer would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
     
  2. rscott4563 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Cumbria
    #2
    Yeah generally they all work out roughly the same, to be honest it depends on what you want from your provider (calls, mobile internet, texts, video calling etc..) and where in the country you want it as 3G/HSPDA coverage varies quite a lot.

    If your going to be living in or around a city especially in the south of the country, then for a smartphone/pda type device for using 3G/HSPDA your best bet is probably going to be a T-Mobile package with web&walk as they have very good FleX tariffs which give you the best deal for your money (a £25 a month tariff gives you say £180 worth of usage and then at the end of the month it is used to cover whatever you have used, be it 500mins of calls and 100 texts or 120mins of calls, 1000 texts & 50 picture msgs. It works its out so its costs you the least amount.), the Web&Walk part of it means you get unlimited (within reason) internet access at 3G/HSPDA speed included every month for £7.50 extra.


    The best thing over here is that you do get substantially susidised phones with contracts and to be honest if you worked out the cost of the phone and divided it over the period of your contract 12/18months as long as you don't use more than your included minutes/texts etc your really getting the phone for a reduced price and all your mins free (the mobile phone providers just assume that once they have you you'll just go mad and always use more than is included in your package). For example the Nokia N95 is around £400 to buy on its own but its free with a £42.50 a month contract so thats a cost of £510 with almost unlimited usage (calls & hi-speed internet) and then after 12 months you can sell it on for a decent price (~£200) and they'll give you another new phone!

    Ryan
     
  3. netdog macrumors 603

    netdog

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2006
    Location:
    London
    #3
    If you want an iPhone, while you can unlock one (I'd buy that in the USA and bring it here), I would wait to commit to a carrier until 02's plans for the iPhone are announced. It is likely that Carphone Warehouse (the biggest seller of mobiles here) will have some sort of announcement next week. You may find that you can get an O2 iPhone for very little with a contract.

    In the interim, I would just get a really cheap pay as you go phone and make do with that. Vodaphone and Orange are pretty good in that regard.
     
  4. Exodemia macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    #4
    In simple terms over here we have all the latest phones that are available in Europe and they come on Pay As You Go, Pay Monthly or unlocked. If you want a phone and want to have absolutely reassurance that you know what you're spending then go for Pay As You Go. If you want messages and calls and more than likely a swish phone for a fixed term then Pay Monthly is your best bet but you can run the risk of paying more if you go over your allowance. And finally there's unlocked which costs more than a Pay As You Go phone but can be used on any network with any SIM. Trust me the UK is tonnes better than the US for networks, you're stuck with Verizon, AT&T etc.
     
  5. TallChap macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    Location:
    The North,England
    #5
    UK Media event 18th Sept

    We may no more real soonhttp://images.macrumors.com/vb/images/smilies/smile.gif
     
  6. Exodemia macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    #6
    I think the iPhone is actually overrated I'm afraid, yes it's a good device but it has some key shortcomings against a device like the N95.
     
  7. rtharper thread starter macrumors regular

    rtharper

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    #7
    Have you used it? I haven't use Nokia phones in ages, but when I did they seem like pieces of junk (crappy UI, fell apart easily, etc). Is this still the case?
     
  8. Stetwin macrumors 6502

    Stetwin

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Location:
    England - Co-Durham
    #8
    Most people I know with the n95 hate it and wish they had got a SE k810i or waited for something else to come along!

    I also second that T-Mobile is your best choice if you want a good tariff and good internet on your phone,
     
  9. rtharper thread starter macrumors regular

    rtharper

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    #9
    I've heard good things about things about Sony Ericsson's phone in general, in terms of their design and that they play nice with the mac (though Symbian OS is evil). I'm eyeing the W960i that's due to be released in December. I've heard T-Mobile UK is in a sad state of affairs wrt to coverage, how is it? How does their UMTS/HSDPA coverage compare with others?
     
  10. Stetwin macrumors 6502

    Stetwin

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2007
    Location:
    England - Co-Durham
    #10
    Well it all depends where your going to be living, if its an any City or big town then you will have no problems with network or 3G coverage.... I live in a rural area and still get fine network coverage but no 3G coverage meaning the net on my phone is slow.

    I'm now on my 3rd SE phone and i have had no problems with any of them, there also very easy to contact if you do need a repair or replacement, and the w960i looks awesome!
     
  11. Exodemia macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    #11
    Wow not the case with me, I've got a Motorola Z8, Sony Ericsson W850i and Nokia N95 and love them all. N95 is an amazing device.
     
  12. Exodemia macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    #12
    W960i vs. K850i. K850i for my money takes it.
     
  13. rtharper thread starter macrumors regular

    rtharper

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Location:
    Oxford, UK
    #13
    Can I ask why? It seems to compare apples and oranges, as each phone gives you different things. Not to mention I have huge hands and it looks like the keys on the K850i would be mashed 2-3 at a time...
     
  14. BBC B 32k macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    London
    #14
    Most phones in the UK are 'unlocked' from the start. I have many phones and regularly switch sim cards between networks with no hassles. All of my phones were free on a new 12 month contract. Just shop around. Try the OneStopPhoneShop. Rubbish service but cheap as our English chips.

    I was on Orange since they started way back when .... last year changed to Vodaphone. OH MY GOD, what a mistake. Back on Orange now. On Vodaphone my bills were almost twice as big. They charge a fortune for any international service.

    LG Prada Phone
    SE W900
    SE p910
    SE p900
    SE p800
    Nokia Banana Phone
    Nokia Brick?
     

Share This Page