• The TUGBBS forums are completely free and open to the public and exist as the absolute best place for owners to get help and advice about their timeshares for more than 30 years!

    Join Tens of Thousands of other Owners just like you here to get any and all Timeshare questions answered 24 hours a day!
  • TUG started 30 years ago in October 1993 as a group of regular Timeshare owners just like you!

    Read about our 30th anniversary: Happy 30th Birthday TUG!
  • TUG has a YouTube Channel to produce weekly short informative videos on popular Timeshare topics!

    Free memberships for every 50 subscribers!

    Visit TUG on Youtube!
  • TUG has now saved timeshare owners more than $21,000,000 dollars just by finding us in time to rescind a new Timeshare purchase! A truly incredible milestone!

    Read more here: TUG saves owners more than $21 Million dollars
  • Sign up to get the TUG Newsletter for free!

    60,000+ subscribing owners! A weekly recap of the best Timeshare resort reviews and the most popular topics discussed by owners!
  • Our official "end my sales presentation early" T-shirts are available again! Also come with the option for a free membership extension with purchase to offset the cost!

    All T-shirt options here!
  • A few of the most common links here on the forums for newbies and guests!

cell phone usage in the UK

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,478
Reaction score
10,363
Points
1,198
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
Dd and I are trying to figure out her best option for the two weeks she's in the UK. For those of you who have traveled there, what did you do? Change your plan to include international, buy a new sim card, buy a prepaid phone when there? She mostly wants to be able to get in touch with the person she's staying with, not to call us at home.

TIA
 

dougp26364

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
14,546
Reaction score
3,267
Points
698
Location
Kansas
Resorts Owned
Marriott Grand Chateau
Marriott Shadow Ridge
Marriott Ocean Pointe
Marriott Destination Club Points
Hilton Grand Vacation Club Las Vegas Blvd
Grand Colorado on Peak 8
Spinnaker French Quarter Resort Branson
After being stuck in Barcelona without an international cell phone (very long story), we purchased an international phone from http://www.mobal.com/ . They sell two versions, one for $49 and another for $99. The difference is the number of countries in which they will work.

Essentially, you pay for the phone and then there are no other fee's unless you use the phone. There is a per minute fee that varies from country to country.

At the time we purchased the phone, it was cost prohibitive to to buy a phone that would accept an international sims card and pay international calling fee's. Things have since changed and the latest blackberry phone my wife has already has a sims card for international calls. I haven't looked into it but I think it's probably going to be less expensive for use to use her new Blackberry Storm than the phone we purchased from Mobal but, we'll take both phones when we are out of the country anyway.

The one time we needed the Mobal phone was in Ireland. It worked very well and was, IMO, cost effective compared to the options at the time. If this is a one time need and you daughter isn't going to spend hours on the phone during her stay, the Mobal phone may be a cost effective option for you. You'll have to check out the per minute prices on their website and check out the options offered by your current cell phone provider to determine which is the most cost effective and easiest to use for your needs.
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,478
Reaction score
10,363
Points
1,198
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
Thanks. Right now with AT&T it looks like her options are to add an international plan for $5.00 (not sure if that's one time or the monthly fee) that will give her a discount on the per minute price. It looks like it's still around $1.00 per minute. She's also been told she can "unlock" her existing phone and purchase a SIM card in the UK for somewhere around 10 - 15 pounds. But, don't know if there are additional charges with that.

She only wants to be able to call within the UK and possibly Belgium. We've told her we don't expect to hear from her while she's gone, unless it's an emergency.

I guess it would depend on the cost per minute in addition to the $49 phone whether that would be more cost effective than just adding the international plan to what she has now.
 

scotlass

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
660
Reaction score
0
Points
16
Location
New England
We love our mobal phone and purchased the $99 one so that we can use it here in the US as well as most countries around the world. Not cheap for the calls, but we only use it when necessary. Otherwise we have an MCI phone card purchased at BJ's (Costco would have them as well). In the UK we call an access number, then make calls home. The rate is about 9 cents a minute. Great for long calls but not always available from hotel phones. We had the best luck with pay phones. Since you dial a UK equivalent of an 800 number, there is no additional charge for the call.
 

"Roger"

TUG Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
4,483
Reaction score
3,520
Points
598
The ATT fee is a monthly fee.

I would recommend the mobal phone. You never know when you might be going on another trip. Buy the $99 phone however. It includes $40 of credit towards phone calls so it really is just about the same price as the cheaper one. (When I bought, it was $50 of credit, so the two phones were really the same price after making $50 of phone calls.)
 

djs

TUG Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
1,340
Reaction score
21
Points
399
Location
South Boston, MA
I purchased a local SIM card when in Ireland and it was very resonable and convenient. This essentially gave me a local number, and then calls within Ireland were also local. Economically, this was the best deal for me. If it's important that you can still be reached on your current number then perhaps an international plan will work, but I think it will still be expensive. With the card I had, minutes to the US were still cheap; I found that checking my voicemail once or twice a day worked just fine and then I could reach anyone I had to.
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,478
Reaction score
10,363
Points
1,198
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
I'm still trying to figure out why the Mobel phone at a cost of $49 or $99 plus usage of around $1.25/minute (if I was reading it correctly on their website) would be better than her using her existing phone, adding the international plan for one month at $5.00 and having the usage be $0.99/minute?

Unlocking the phone and purchasing the SIM card might be cheaper, she'd just need to figure out where to purchase one after she arrives.
 

djs

TUG Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2006
Messages
1,340
Reaction score
21
Points
399
Location
South Boston, MA
Unlocking the phone and purchasing the SIM card might be cheaper, she'd just need to figure out where to purchase one after she arrives.

I actually purchased one on the internet before leaving which worked out fine, but when I got to Ireland I found that they can be purchased at virtually every gas station, supermarket and convenience store. One drawback to that is she wouldn't know her local number until she purchased the card over there; another one is that the numbers she currently has stored in her SIM card would not carry over to the new one. That last issue wasn't really much of an issue for me as the main purpose of getting the local card was to make calls within Ireland and not back to the US.

As far as the first point you make, I agree with your math/thinking (if those are indeed the correct numbers).
 

bizaro86

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2008
Messages
3,733
Reaction score
2,566
Points
598
Location
Calgary, AB, Canada
I know you said you weren't expecting to hear from her while she's gone, but one option for calling home from Europe is the small local businesses that work like internet cafes, but for long distance calling. I recall that the one across the road from our hotel in London was very reasonable, much less than a dollar a minute.

Michael
 

beanb41

TUG Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
167
Reaction score
0
Points
16
Location
Wellington New Zealand
First up I would ascertain if her current phone is unlocked or locked to her network. If it is locked get it unlocked. Purchase a local SIM card thus avoiding roaming charges which are the killer on international cell phones.
She can send an SMS/TXT message message home and Voila home has her new number. This way she also keeps all the addresses on her old phone.
We are fortunate in NZ as all GMS phones are unlocked.
 

"Roger"

TUG Review Crew
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
4,483
Reaction score
3,520
Points
598
I'm still trying to figure out why the Mobel phone at a cost of $49 or $99 plus usage of around $1.25/minute (if I was reading it correctly on their website) would be better than her using her existing phone, adding the international plan for one month at $5.00 and having the usage be $0.99/minute?

Unlocking the phone and purchasing the SIM card might be cheaper, she'd just need to figure out where to purchase one after she arrives.

I might be wrong (call and ask), but I believe when you sign up for one of the international packages, you are committed to it for a year.
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,478
Reaction score
10,363
Points
1,198
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
I might be wrong (call and ask), but I believe when you sign up for one of the international packages, you are committed to it for a year.

Thanks. I think dd said she was told something like she could cancel after 3 months. But, we'll check to be sure.
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,478
Reaction score
10,363
Points
1,198
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
First up I would ascertain if her current phone is unlocked or locked to her network. If it is locked get it unlocked. Purchase a local SIM card thus avoiding roaming charges which are the killer on international cell phones.
She can send an SMS/TXT message message home and Voila home has her new number. This way she also keeps all the addresses on her old phone.
We are fortunate in NZ as all GMS phones are unlocked.

She was told she would need to call and get it unlocked first. Thanks.
 

isisdave

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
2,770
Reaction score
1,291
Points
548
Location
Evansville IN
Resorts Owned
Marriott Waiohai
I got this plan. It was cheap and worked great. They'll only send the free SIM cards to a UK address, so have them send it to her friend. She'll get a UK number you can call her on if you like.

You need an unlocked GSM phone. That means, if you have a US phone, it's on AT&T or T-mobile, the only GSM carriers in the US. If it's not unlocked, you can find info to unlock many models by Googling. Some sites give info for free, others charge a few bucks.

Or you can buy a used phone on eBay if you have enough time. Search for "unlocked GSM".

There are other approaches, but for a two-week visit you can't beat this. She can leave the SIM card with her friend for the next visitor.
 

x3 skier

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
5,299
Reaction score
2,336
Points
649
Location
Ohio and Colorado
Resorts Owned
Steamboat Grand, The West,
Raintree and, formerly, The Allen House
Another option is a "Pay as you Go" with either a Phone and SIM or just a SIM with an unlocked phone. Carphone Warehouse, O2, Orange and others have many plans. Just Google and you will get lots of choices.

I bought an unlocked phone on eBay and got a SIM in the UK. Cheapest way I found.:) Just make sure it is either GSM Quad Band. As an alternative, you can get one that covers the European Bands.

Cheers
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,478
Reaction score
10,363
Points
1,198
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
Thanks all. After talking to dd I think she's going to get the International plan. She feels more comfortable keeping her existing number and not having to worry about whether her phone is locked, or unlocked and getting a sim card. She plans to be responsible with using the phone so I'm not too worried about her running up the charges.
 

x3 skier

TUG Review Crew: Veteran
TUG Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
5,299
Reaction score
2,336
Points
649
Location
Ohio and Colorado
Resorts Owned
Steamboat Grand, The West,
Raintree and, formerly, The Allen House
Thanks all. After talking to dd I think she's going to get the International plan. She feels more comfortable keeping her existing number and not having to worry about whether her phone is locked, or unlocked and getting a sim card. She plans to be responsible with using the phone so I'm not too worried about her running up the charges.

Good Luck, they can get expensive very, very fast. Just tell her to stop in any phone store and see what they offer. Its much easier in Europe to get cheap phones and service than the states since Cell phones were (and are) much easier to get and use than traditional land lines over there.

Cheers
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,478
Reaction score
10,363
Points
1,198
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
Good Luck, they can get expensive very, very fast. Just tell her to stop in any phone store and see what they offer. Its much easier in Europe to get cheap phones and service than the states since Cell phones were (and are) much easier to get and use than traditional land lines over there.

Cheers

I'll mention that to her. I think at this point she's still somewhat overwhelmed with the whole trip thing as it will be her first time in the UK. She will most likely talk to the friend she'll be staying with and see if she has any suggestions as well.
 

MaryH

TUG Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2005
Messages
1,485
Reaction score
1
Points
398
Location
Ottawa, Canada
Remember, you also need to check if her current cell phone charger works for 240V and also need plug adapter for UK and Europe.

I have 3-4 GSM cell phones. I puchased in NZ, another in Germany and 2 in UK. NZ was not that cheap nor was Germany but the UK ones I purchased for about GBP 20 including some air credits / SIM cards. I prefer Orange on Camel PAYE plans which have good phone set deals (not great phones but get the job done) and decent deal for calls (10p for Uk and 5P for US/Canada).
 

Luanne

TUG Review Crew: Expert
TUG Member
Joined
Jun 6, 2005
Messages
19,478
Reaction score
10,363
Points
1,198
Location
New Mexico
Resorts Owned
Maui Lea at Maui Hill
San Diego Country Estates
Remember, you also need to check if her current cell phone charger works for 240V and also need plug adapter for UK and Europe.

She has an adapter. She's taking the one her dad used when he was in Europe.
 
Top