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July 29th, 2015

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12:28 am - Question for UK Residents Reading This + UK Tech Advice Sought
So, my parents are taking teaotter and I to the UK in early September to celebrate Becca finishing the classes necessary to get her CPA. We'll be in London from (not counting days partially or mostly on airplanes) from Sept 4-Sept 9, and are staying in downtown London, near the Science Museum. If you are in the UK and are on my friends-list, then you're someone I'd be interested in meeting, so let me know if you'd be available and interested in getting together.

Also, I'd like to have phone (and more specifically mobile internet) access while there. I have a T-Mobile brand Samsung Galaxy Note 3, with (if you know anything about this):

3G: Band I (UMTS 2100), Band II (1900), Band IV (1700/2100/AWS), Band V (850)
LTE: Band 4, Band 17, Band 1(2100), Band 2(1900), 5(850), 7(2600)

My phone uses a micro-SIM card and what I'm looking for is a non-contract SIM card usable for 1 week (or no more than 1 month), which has at least 1GB (2GB would be better) of 3G or faster data and some ability to call and text. I don't need to import my phone number, I just need something that can get online and make a modest number of calls and texts.

Do any of you know what would work for me and how to get it? I've looked online and have not seen any consistent advice, and have seen nothing about ordering UK SIM cards in the US. I can't use any sort of roaming with my phone, because I have a (otherwise truly awesome – at least for the US) prepaid plan, which provides for absolutely no of out-of-US use.
Any advice would be exceedingly welcome.

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:July 29th, 2015 11:41 am (UTC)
As long as your phone is unlocked, you can get a pay-as-you-go SIM that will work from all our major networks (Vodafone, T-Mobile, EE, Three). Every phone these days will work on pretty much any continent; pay-as-you-go SIM cards are incredibly common — many networks across Europe give them out (without any pre-loaded credit) for free.

Three do a version that comes pre-loaded with 30 days unlimited data plus a bunch of UK calls and texts (300 minutes/3000 texts) for £15. You should be able to buy one at any Three storefront in London. Alternatively, you can get someone in the UK to order for you and ship it out before you travel. If you will only be using it for data you can get a free SIM from Three; you'll need to top it up and data charges are £10/Gb (but calls/texts also eat into that balance). Note that unlike the US, receiving calls/texts is free.

Not sure if I can make it all the way down to London by then, but I'm sure you'll enjoy it. :)
[User Picture]
Date:July 29th, 2015 09:37 pm (UTC)
Thanks muchly for the advice. Also, your comment vividly makes clear how much US cell plans suck - I pay $30/month for unlimited texts, 5GB 3/4G data, and 100 minutes of talking, which mostly works for me, but paying 70% that price for a better plan would be vastly better.
[User Picture]
Date:July 29th, 2015 03:27 pm (UTC)
It coincidentally happens that I'll be in Oxford at Aug 28-30 for EA Global, and I might stay in England for a few days longer if I find some local willing to host me. Not sure yet whether that'll overlap with your London visit or whether I'll have to return home earlier, but I'd be interested in meeting if it does overlap.

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