US Student studying abroad in UK (cell phone help)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jhsfosho, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. jhsfosho macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #1
    I was not sure where else to put this thread. Please move if appropriate.

    So I am looking for a cell phone that I can use mostly in the UK, but also when I travel across Europe. I was hoping that I might be able to get some advice for a non-commital (pay-as you go) /short commitment (6 months or less) for a cell phone plan. I want a pretty basic plan, but if text messaging is included, that would be nice. I have looked around a little bit at providers like Orange, O2, Virgin mobile, t-mobile. Is there anything else I should look at?

    I will be there next semester, and plan on traveling across Europe quite a bit. I was just hoping to find something that wont be too expensive that I can use to call room mates/ the other people I will be traveling with.

    Thanks in advance,
    Blane
     
  2. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #2
    Europe uses GSM networks almost exclusively. The frequency bands there are different from what the US uses. The way around this is to get an 'unlocked quad band' cell phone. They will work in both Europe and the US with the appropriate SIM card. In Europe it is fairly common to be able to purchase prepaid SIM cards that will work in different countries - or even groups of countries. Unfortunately most US cell phone providers have locked systems and SIM cards. But it is technically possible to have an unlocked quad band cell phone and a US carrier SIM card plus a European carrier(s) SIM card. Then you would just swap out your SIM card(s) as you move around. If you do a search for 'unlocked cell phones' you will find several sites that might get you started in the right direction. Another solution might be to just purchase a 'disposable' cell phone once you are in England.
     
  3. jhsfosho thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #3
    If it makes a difference at all, I currently have sprint and use an A900 by Samsung (no sim card). I noticed they offer an international calling option, but from what I can tell, it is $4/month + some rate per minute.

    I think I like the idea of buying a cheap/disposable phone, and getting some sort of prepaid sim card. I just need to figure out which is the best deal for me. Currently I use about 500 texts/month and 300 minutes.
     
  4. bdj33ranch macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    #4
    Digging a little deeper I found some good info at cnet.com that talks about world phones. Dig down through the 'reviews' tab into world phones. Sprint actually has a dual mode CDMA/GSM phone (Samsung IP-830w) that apparently will work in both the US and UK. The article also talks about plan costs which don't seem to offer any starving student discounts.
    But with your short commitment I suspect the 'disposable' phone with prepaid SIM cards would probably be the least expensive. Maybe your school there can give you a mentor contact that can help research this for you.
    Best of luck to you - and don't forget to actually study while you're there!
     

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