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  1. #1
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    lclev's Avatar
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    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    My son is going to London, England in October. He has gone before but this time he would like to get a pre-paid phone to use. He has tried the pre-paid sim cards in his Samsung S9 but said the data did not work well at all. He will be gone about 5 days.

    Any suggestions?

    Lisa
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  2. #2
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    chscag's Avatar
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    Hi Lisa:

    Maybe Jake will see this and provide some information on what he uses when he goes to the UK.

  3. #3
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    When I go to UK I get an EE SIM card. Actually, I just kept it as I travel there just about annually and it's nice to have the same UK phone number. But in any event, if he's going into Heathrow, just as you come out of arrivals and into the arrival hall where all the drivers are holding up signs for their passengers, on the right hand side is a SIM card shop that has sim cards of all kinds and which may also have pre-paid phones. If he takes the phone to the very knowledgable folks in the SIM shop, they can recommend a card to meet his needs, or may be able to recommend a pre-paid phone. I've not looked for a pre-paid unit, but if anyone knows about them, it would be that shop.

    For my phones, the EE pay as you go SIM card works brilliantly for data. I even managed to get my US credit card registered with the EE folks so that I can top off the account just before I go and have the phone work as soon as I land. Works well to contact any driver I may have hired to take me to my destination.

    Hope that helps.
    Jake

  4. #4
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    lclev's Avatar
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    Anything information is appreciated and I will forward it to him. Thanks Jake!

    Lisa
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  5. #5
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Lisa, if that shop doesn't work out, there is a chain called Carphone Warehouse that has all kinds of cellular support. The have an online presence at Compare Our Best Mobile Phone Deals '|' Carphone Warehouse. The one caution for your son is that the folks at the airports are really well versed on PAYG SIM whereas the typical Carphone Warehouse, as you might expect, are not so knowledgable about that but will know about longer term plans and phones. So he really is better off giving that first SIM shop at the airport a visit. If he's not going into Heathrow, I think are are similar shops at Gatwick and Manchester as well. Those airports have online maps of the terminals so he can see where he will be clearing customs and where the shops are.

    One other thing, depending on who provides his service here in the US (I'm assuming that is where he is starting) buying a SIM card or prepaid phone may not be that much of a savings over just signing up for international coverage on his regular service. Verizon is expensive, at $10/day, but some of the others are not so bad. To compare, the SIM card will be in the 12-20 range ($15-25) for a one-month with 3-5 GB of data. I don't have any prices on prepaid phones, sorry.

    I use EE and pay 15 (about $20) for 30 days, 6 GB of data, unlimited local texts and about 100 minutes of talk. But I'm usually there for 30-35 days, so Verizon would cost me $300-$350 for the same time!
    Jake

  6. #6
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    lclev's Avatar
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    I am passing all this good advice on to him!

    Thank you Jake.

    (He is flying into Heathrow)

    Lisa
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  7. #7
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    If it's been a while since he travelled there, he may find this interesting to read to refresh:

    We’re Here! (Or maybe not quite yet—Arrival processes ahead.) – England For All Reasons

    And maybe this:

    Wait? You Mean the Airport Is Not Actually IN London? – England For All Reasons

    One thing to note is that the UK now allows US citizens with passports with the chip to use the eGates. I have not used those myself, but apparently you insert the passport, the chip is read and does facial matching and you are cleared in without talking to a Border Control agent.

    Immigration and passports | UK border control | Heathrow

    EDIT: I should have said that the first two links are a shameless plug to a website my wife and I run. No monetary reward from it at this point, we do it just for fun.
    Jake

  8. #8
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    badshoehabit's Avatar
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    I can't see the point of buying a phone rather than a SIM card and don't understand your son saying the 'data didn't work well'. It's only in remote areas where signal coverage may fail, or in certain buildings. London, should not any trouble.

    By the way, we call them mobiles, not cells.

    Which Network has the best Mobile Phone Coverage in the UK?
    Sue

    If the shoe fits, buy it in every colour.

  9. #9
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    lclev's Avatar
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    Thanks Sue!

    He will in London. I just get the questions - network IT mom here who should know all!

    I will pass the info on. And thanks for updating my UK knowledge - helps to know how to google.

    I think the issue is the cost if he uses his Verizon account. He has gone before and had issues - not sure if it was connecting or the bill when he got home.

    Lisa
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  10. #10
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Verizon is $10/day with very limited data when roaming in UK. He does NOT want to do that unless he absolutely needs the same number. SIM card will be less than $25 for a ton of data and minutes. He can look at the EE, O2, or three websites to see what PAYG they have available.

    Superfast 5G & 4G Phones, Tablets and Fibre Broadband | EE
    O2 | Mobile Phones, Mobile Broadband and Sim Only Deals on O2
    Savings on SIM, Smartphones and Mobile Broadband | Three

    I don't know which of these might be at the SIM shop at Heathrow, but I am pretty sure I got my EE card there.
    Jake

  11. #11
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    One more hint for him, Lisa. If he plans to return to UK any time soon (next year or so), he can reuse the same SIM card as he gets this time if he can, as the Brits say, "top it off." To do that, he should have a credit card registered with the SIM provider so he can top off from the phone or online. The challenge is that while EE takes non-UK cards, the online system kept asking for a post code, which as a US resident, I didn't have. I ended up calling the EE folks to get my card registered with them. So, if he's planning to return, he might want to stop in any EE store in London and get his credit card registered with an EE account so that he can top off before he goes and have it work as soon as he gets there. That's how my wife and I now operate. Works well with EE, don't know about O2 or Three.
    Jake

  12. #12
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacInWin View Post
    One more hint for him, Lisa. If he plans to return to UK any time soon (next year or so), he can reuse the same SIM card as he gets this time if he can, as the Brits say, "top it off." To do that, he should have a credit card registered with the SIM provider so he can top off from the phone or online. The challenge is that while EE takes non-UK cards, the online system kept asking for a post code, which as a US resident, I didn't have. I ended up calling the EE folks to get my card registered with them. So, if he's planning to return, he might want to stop in any EE store in London and get his credit card registered with an EE account so that he can top off before he goes and have it work as soon as he gets there. That's how my wife and I now operate. Works well with EE, don't know about O2 or Three.
    Sorry, but no 'Brit' would say "Top it off". The phrase is "Top it up" when relating to a mobile account. Here, for example, one 'tops off' a cup cake with a cherry.
    Experience teaches you to recognise a mistake when you make it again.

  13. #13
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    MacInWin's Avatar
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    You, sir, are entirely correct. My bad. Must swot up on my British terms.
    Jake

  14. #14
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    badshoehabit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sawday View Post
    here, for example, one 'tops off' a cup cake with a cherry.
    ta dah!!!

    Version 2.jpg
    Sue

    If the shoe fits, buy it in every colour.

  15. #15
    Best Pre-paid phone for use in London, England
    lclev's Avatar
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    Quick update - my son is currently in London, England having a blast. He used the advise posted here to purchase a SIM for his phone and it is working perfectly. He asked me to post a big THANK YOU for all the help/advice.

    I am not sure what advice he followed as I just provided the link to this post but he read everything and arrived at a solution that is working for him.

    Again thank to everyone who posted.

    Lisa
    Recommend using Onyx to clean your Mac.
    If you have been helped, please add to their reputation by clicking on the icon in the lower left hand corner of the post.

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