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Cell-phone in London for travelers from the US

New Jersey
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Cell-phone in London for travelers from the US

So it's late in the game (meaning I don't have much time to research, buy, ship, etc), but I've concluded that I don't want to pay Cingular (my US carrier) a dollar a minute to use my phone in the UK. It is not unlocked and it can't be unlocked. So... any recommendations for having a cellphone in London? Specifically, renting for a week, vs. buying one in the US and buying a pre-paid UK sim. Anybody have recent experience with either of these methods?

Nebraska
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1. Re: Cell-phone in London for travelers from the US

you might want to check out this thread regarding cell phones: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g186338-i17-k35082…

S.F.
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2. Re: Cell-phone in London for travelers from the US

Why would you want one? Just go on vacation and enjoy yourself. This is really getting out of hand. I'm seeing more and more that these poor souls are going aroundd with them stuck in their ears. jif, no personal offense but i just detest those things and they are ruining the world. Pub

Detroit, Michigan
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3. Re: Cell-phone in London for travelers from the US

But Pub, they do come in handy. After many phoneless trips to the UK, we finally bought a pair of cheap pay as you go cell phones from Virgin Mobile (£19.95 at Virgin store in London - came with SIM card with £10 credit.)

We don't use them all that much, but it comes in handy if we go our seperate ways and want to meet up later. Or if we need to make local calls for reservations, etc...

jigfromnj, I don't recommend purchasing phones here in the US. I bought a supposedly unlocked GSM triband phone on ebay and when I got it to the UK it didn't work. It was just easier (and would have been cheaper) to have waited and bought the phones we did once we got to London.

port st lucie
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4. Re: Cell-phone in London for travelers from the US

hi jjg..... i bought a motorola v551 shortly before my trip to the uk last year. first you have to be sure that any phone you buy is a multiband. then you have to call cingular and ask them to unlock or activate the multiband feature. i didn't want to pay the 99cents a min either.... but i only used it for a few mins at a time, a total of 3 times. if you don't need one though, i wouldn't bother. seems like most places we went they ask you to turn them off anyway. but if you do get one.... keep in mind that you must dial 001 then the area code then the 7 digit number when calling the USA. and also anyone in the states must have the country code you are in entered before dialing the number. no one at cingular explained that to us.hope this helps.

port st lucie
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5. Re: Cell-phone in London for travelers from the US

hi there pub. normally i would agree with you.... but after trying to make reservations from a pay phone over there, it seemed better to just use the cell. is it me/ or do you have to be a rocket scientist to use a pay phone in the uk. we couldn't even get it to make local calls.....

Burbank
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6. Re: Cell-phone in London for travelers from the US

I bought a $49 Mobal phone from mobal.com and it worked fine. You get your own UK phone number and you can just shut the phone off when you get home, then start it up again when you go back to the UK.

Thing is, it's like $1.25 a minute. So you wont be saving any money by using that instead of your regular phone. I bought it because my regular phone wont work outside the US.

I also bought a calling card to use on my hotel phone which of course was way, way cheaper. Only pennies per minute. If you can tolerate using just payphones and hotel phone for your calls, you can save alot of money.

Vancouver, Canada
Destination Expert
for London
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7. Re: Cell-phone in London for travelers from the US

Like kay, I bought a cheapo cheapo Nokia from Virgin Mobile, and can call NoAm for just 20p a minute and 35p to send a text. Yes, it's only good for UK calls, but I'll use it for my many future trips.

Like Pub, though, I have a basic dislike of the things (don't own one here), and if they didn't exist I would not desire to invent them or have another do so.

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193 posts
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8. Re: Cell-phone in London for travelers from the US

I have an NEC phone, and my carrier is Cingular. I took it with me to London in December and while I wasn't fond of the 99 cents a minute charge it seemed easier than the other options.

Even paying the phone bill when I got home wasn't too painful.

I also carried with me an MCI phone card that I got from Costco. It costs 14 cents a minute plus pay phone charges, and I didn't mind using that because I love the London phone booths.

I chose not to use it in my hotel room because the Ramada Hyde Park charges 20 pence per minute even if you are dialing a toll-free number.

I am a cell phone fan, but I also recognize there is a time and a place for using one.

Sydney Australia
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9. Re: Cell-phone in London for travelers from the US

Mobiles are great for texts. Just remember the time difference if you do use your home phone, or you might get a call in the middle of the night, as my friend did, to confirm a restaurant booking she'd overlooked cancelling! I think mobiles get less annoying when virtually everyone owns one, as they do here, and we are past people using them to impress. When my daughter backpacked fom London home, via China, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, I would have been happier had her mobile not been stolen in Spain. It was thank goodness for the internet-even in Laos.

Atlanta, GA
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879 posts
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10. Re: Cell-phone in London for travelers from the US

just use skype :) - next to zero cost as long as you have a laptop

if not, go virgin hehe