1. theboyk's Avatar
    Hello all!

    I just read the excellent article here on iMore about travelling to the UK and the nano-SIM options available. Did some looking around the various company websites today and both THREE and O2 have some great deals (and seem like the best options, based on where she'll be travelling & the coverage available).

    So, here's the thing. My wife is the one going to England, so I need to make this as easy as possible for her to do. She'll be travelling with her unlocked GSM iPhone 5, so the hardware isn't an issue. She doesn't need voice/text, just data (we just get data plans when travelling and use VOIP and Apple Messages for communicating). Since I've never done this in the UK before, is it as simple as her walking into an O2 or THREE store and purchasing a Pay as you Go plan for the month (and they'll give her the nano SIM and activate it on-the-spot)? Or, is it more complicated than that?

    Alsosince she only needs data, does anyone see any issues getting a data only SIM? For example, O2 have a "4G iPad SIM" Pay & Go option for 15 (3GB datamore than enough for her needs)since the nano SIM will work in the iPhone 5, it should work as "data only" on the iPhone. We've done this when travelling to other countries (mainly to the US, from Canada) and it's been a perfect option (again, as she won't need a local telephone number or texting). But, again, as we've not done this in the UK, just wondering if anyone else has? O2 online "support" said it's not an issue, but, then again, they also couldn't tell me where I could find an O2 store, so I don't have a lot of faith in them. <G>

    Anyway, I'd really appreciate any advice anyone has. Since this will be her first solo trip (I'd usually handle getting the SIMs), I was thinking about going with KeepGo so we could get the SIM delivered ahead of time, but the shipping costs on the SIMs are a little (lot) overpriced, doubling the cost of the SIM.

    Thanks!
    Kristin.
    07-30-2014 01:19 PM
  2. kch50428's Avatar
    Try emailing customer service of the providers you're interested in and see what they suggest the right way to do it would be.
    theboyk likes this.
    07-30-2014 01:25 PM
  3. theboyk's Avatar
    Try emailing customer service of the providers you're interested in and see what they suggest the right way to do it would be.
    Yea, I spoke to an O2 rep, via chat, and they said it isn't an issue (but they also told me "just go to the store in Heathrow to buy it" but couldn't tell me where in Heathrow the store was, nor confirm there was even a store in Heathrow, which didn't make sense after they'd just told me to go to the store in Heathrow...so, that sorta made me lose confidence in their answers... <G>).

    And THREE doesn't have the option to email support unless you're already a customer (and thus I figured I'd post here versus calling long distance, especially considering the article that was written on iMore about using local SIMs when travelling to the UK). 8)

    k.
    07-30-2014 01:32 PM
  4. kch50428's Avatar
    The Heathrow Airport Directory shows something called "SIM Local" in 3 terminals... check out their web site... looks like you could buy before she flies...
    theboyk likes this.
    07-30-2014 01:56 PM
  5. theboyk's Avatar
    The Heathrow Airport Directory shows something called "SIM Local" in 3 terminals... check out their web site... looks like you could buy before she flies...
    Yep, already did that (that's why I lost confidence in what the O2 rep was telling me, as the Heathrow directory doesn't list any O2 stores on-premises, nor does the O2 store locator). SIM Local is a SIM reseller. They only offer SIMs from T-Mobile and vodafone (and a third I can't remember off-hand), and they don't offer the coverage she'll need (O2 and THREE both provide the coverage needed). And yea, there are endless options to buy online, but I'm trying to avoid paying the (average) $30 on shipping on the SIM card (which ends up more than doubling the cost of the SIM versus buying in-store).

    Thanks,
    Kristin.
    07-30-2014 02:01 PM
  6. Highrisedrifter's Avatar
    I live in the UK

    Yes, it's literally as simple as going into a carrier shop and purchasing a SIM card.

    If you tell me where your GF is going to be staying, i'll find her a local store.

    Three offer the best and cheapest data deals. I am with them and I pay 13 a month for 600 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited data on 3G and 4G where available (it's not as widespread over here yet)

    Most carrier shops will sell you a sim card on Pay-As-You-Go for the cost of a month's top-up, which is usually a minimum of ten pounds. You can pay more and some carriers offer to double or even triple the amount you pay up front in calling/data/SMS credit.

    There is no 02 store in Heathrow. I fly back and forth to LA several times a year.

    EDIT: Here you go - http://forums.imore.com/e?link=http%...token=A4Kw76V3
    theboyk likes this.
    07-30-2014 03:51 PM
  7. theboyk's Avatar
    Well, I came across giffgaff (which uses the O2 network) and I have a SIM being sent to me right now (for free). Once I get it, I just need to activate it online and when my wife arrives in the UK, she just needs to pop it in her iPhone, change her APN and she'll have unlimited data and 250 UK minutes (for 12) for the duration of her trip. Seems like a good deal (I wish we had deals like that here in Canada).
    k.
    07-30-2014 03:56 PM
  8. Highrisedrifter's Avatar
    Well, I came across giffgaff (which uses the O2 network) and I have a SIM being sent to me right now (for free). Once I get it, I just need to activate it online and when my wife arrives in the UK, she just needs to pop it in her iPhone, change her APN and she'll have unlimited data and 250 UK minutes (for 12) for the duration of her trip. Seems like a good deal (I wish we had deals like that here in Canada).
    k.
    It does seem like a good deal. She won't get 4G as they have only leased the 3G network from 02. Their coverage isn't as good as 02 either. They have about 99% of the UK covered by 2G and about 80% by 3G. No 4G at all.

    There is no customer service. I mean literally none. It's an online only service run by its community of volunteers.

    If she's only over there for a short while, none of this should really matter though.
    07-30-2014 04:02 PM
  9. theboyk's Avatar
    She's only going to be there for one week, and I checked their coverage maps and it shows 3G coverage for both the areas she'll be visiting. It also shows 4G coverage, but not sure what the difference between their "Mobile internet and voice (3G)" and "Mobile Internet (4G)" area? And really, if she gets 3G coverage, she'll be fine. 8)
    k.
    07-30-2014 04:16 PM

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