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Pay as You Go Sim with Data Wiki

United Kingdom

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Revision as of 14:12, July 15, 2012 by 77.22.53.202 (Talk)

Concerns all providers: Content Lock

Prepaid SIM cards in the UK are delivered with a so called "Content Lock" in place. This is to protect children from accessing adult content.

The problem is that a whitelisting approach is used for this, meaning that everything that has not been actively approved as non-adult will be treated as adult. This can seriously interfere with your 3G operation, e.g. I could not use my instant messaging services.

The normal way to disable this feature is to enter credit card data to prove your age; but this only works with UK credit cards, and as a tourist you probably won't have one of those.

Therefore when you buy the SIM card in store insist that the lock will be removed right away (takes 1 minute). For this you may need to provide some form of ID to prove your age.

(This info is based on my experience with T-Mobile UK, but since Content Lock is apparently a legal requirement it should apply to the other providers as well.)

Vodafone UK

Vodafone has a "Pay as you Go" service.

More information

Data feature packs

  • 50p for 25MB per day
  • £5 for 250MB for 30 days
  • £10 for 500MB for 30 days

Availability

Purchase a SIM card from any Vodafone store for £5, which includes some calls. You can recharge it at their stores or many other kiosks or convenience stores throughout the country.

SIM sizes

Standard SIMs are freely available, but in Jul-Aug 2011 Micro-SIMs for PAYG were generally unavailable from most Vodafone stores throughout the UK. However, Standard SIMs can easily be trimmed down with scissors to fit the iPhone 4.

Tips

Check first for compability with your device. Vodafone "Pay as you Go" SIM cards with data packs only work on specific "Pay as you Go" devices (tried in Q4/2010 with "3 MiFi Mobile Wireless Modem" and "Vodafone Huawei E220 UMTS Modem" - confirmed by Vodafone UK customer support)!

iPhone 4 users will have to change the default APN settings before activating the data on Vodafone. If not, the phone will give the error "Could not activate cellular data network". The correct setting can be found on Vodafone support.

3 Mobile UK

3-brand

Default data rate

  • 30p per MB

More information (This is only for smartphones.)

Data feature packs

  • 150MB valid for 90 days with every top-up
  • 120MB valid for 1 day for 50p
  • 500MB valid for 30 days for £5

When data is used up you are free to buy another pack without waiting until the end of the previously bought add on pack. After data add on is used up charges revert to 30p per MB if another add on is not bought.

More information (This is only for smartphones.)

They also do an Unlimited data PAYG deal for £15 for 30 days that includes 300 minutes and 3000 texts. However, to get this deal you MUST first topup your account with the £15 and then CONVERT the £15 credit to an Add-on, otherwise you'll be paying the default data rate of 30p per Mb. You can do this online once you've created an online account with 3.

You can recharge using a credit card, but only if your credit card has a UK postal address.

More information (This is only for smartphones.)

Availability

Purchase from a 3 Mobile store for £10 which includes £10 credit, also available online. Extra credit can be bought from anywhere displaying the green 'top up' logo.

Mobile Broadband

Use the iPad data plan with 1 GB (£10.49) or 3 GB (£20.99). Valid for 30 days. Top-ups: 1GB £10, 3GB £15, 7GB £25. Link to iPad data plans

Link to Mobile Broadband with dongle and SIM only

SIM sizes

Mini SIMs as standard. Micro SIMs may be available on request, (mini SIMs are able to be cut down to micro SIM size).

Frequency

  • WCDMA 2100

Tethering

Yes.

Other Notes

As 3 Mobile is a purely 3G network a 3G mobile phone (with the 3G function turned on) is required, a 2G mobile phone will be cut off.

T-Mobile UK

Tmobile-logo

Default data rate

Free SIM. £1 / day data rate. See link for more information.

Data feature packs

  • 5 days: £2.50. Text WEB to 441
  • 1 month: £5. Text MONTHWEB to 441
  • 6 months: £20. Text 6MONTHWEB to 441

See link for more information, or see the gallery below.

Fair use policy

Browse and email as much as you want. Streaming has a limit. The default data rate comes with a fair use limit of 40 MB a day. The 5 days, 1 month and 6 months have a limit of 500 MB (per month in the case of the 6 month version).

Availability

T-Mobile SIMs can be obtained for free in their own shops. Recharge at their shops, or stores and supermarkets throughout the country.

SIM sizes

Mini SIMs exist. Micro SIM available in at least one store (out of one) sampled - in Cambridge.

Frequency

  • GSM 1800
  • WCDMA 2100

Tethering

Yes (tested with a Nexus One / Froyo). Iphone 4 did not offer tethering with the 5 pounds a month pack, however personal hotspot feature is available.

Quality of Service

I did a trip through the UK in the area between Cambridge and Cornwall, and was very positively surprised with the speed and stability of the 3G service, even in relatively rural areas. The service in Cornwall villages was often more reliable than in big cities in other countries (e.g. Germany and France). Many of the B&Bs I visited had no WiFi, but the 3G Tethering worked so well that I hardly noticed the difference. Much recommended.

They do seem to disallow SSL encrypted access to SMTP servers though, so you need to send email unencrypted, which carries the risk of someone sniffing your credentials

-R.

Additional

T-Mobile are currently running a promotion that allows you to get 6 months of free internet access if you buy a selected PAYG handset. The cheapest selected handset is 19.99, so buy the handset, get the promotion & put the SIM in your handset of choice. (The offer is valid until 31st August.)

Orange

Orange has a "Pay as you Go" service with a free sim card.


More Information

Default Data Rate

Maximum £2 per day

Data feature packs

  • £5 for 250MB prepaid data for 30 days
  • The Dolphin plan gives 100MB data a month

Availability

Purchase from any Orange store for free. You can charge it at their stores or several other kiosks in the country. Top up online easily.


If you are an overseas visitor, getting the Camel plan instead of Dolphin makes more sense. Paying £30 top up will give 240 free minutes international calls & cheap international calls after this. So works well coupled with the 250MB data extra.

O2 UK

O2 logo

Default Data Rate

£3 / MB. See Simplicity T&C for more information.

Data feature packs

Choose the "Text & Web" SIM tariff. Top up the following minimum in a month and get the corresponding text (to UK numbers only) and data allowance for 30 days, and calls/international text to the value of the amount of top-up.

  • £10: 500MB + 300 texts.
  • £15: 500MB + 500 texts.
  • £30: 500MB + Unlimited texts.

Further data allowance is available in the form of a "Web Bolt-On": £3 for 100MB, £6 for 500MB and £10 for 1GB. Text "WEB" to 21300.

If you don't have a web allowance included in your tariff, or you don't have a web Bolt On or have not topped up a minimum of £10 with the Text & Web tariff, you'll be charged up to £1 a day to view the internet on your mobile.

Fair use policy

Unclear. The terms and conditions state that there is an excessive use policy, but not how much or for how long.

Availability

O2 Simplicity SIMs can be ordered for free from O2's website to UK addresses only or from an O2 store.

SIM sizes

Mini SIMs available. Micro SIMs can be ordered for Simplicity customers or picked up in-store.

Frequency

  • GSM 900
  • GSM 1800
  • WCDMA 2100

Tethering

Not available with iPhone.

ASDA Mobile

Asda-Mobile-logo

Default Data Rate

50p / MB.

Data feature packs

75p for 25 MB, then 50p/MB there after, (very vague).

Fair use policy

Unclear.

Availability

Can be purchased online or from select ASDA supermarkets.

SIM sizes

Stock standard SIMs.

Network information

Branded as ASDA - Uses Vodafone network.

Frequency

  • GSM 900
  • GSM 1800
  • WCDMA 2100

Tethering

  • Unknown

Virgin Mobile

Virgin-mobile-logo-01

Default data rate

30p / day

Data feature packs

  • 1 month: £5.

See this page for more information.

Fair use policy

The default data rate comes with a fair use limit of 25 MB a day. The 1 month data pack has a limit of 1 GB.

Availability

Virgin mobile SIMs can be ordered online for free or in shops.

SIM sizes

Stock standard SIMs.

Frequency

  • GSM 1800
  • WCDMA 2100

(uses T-Mobile network)

Tethering

unknown


GiffGaff

Giffgaff-logo1

Default data rate

  • 20p for the first 20MB, then 20p / MB for further usage that day.

Data feature packs

  • Phone: 1 month: £10. unlimited data, unlimited texts, 250 minutes.
  • Tablet or Dongle:
  • £5 for 500MB
  • £7.50 for 1GB
  • £12.50 for 3GB
  • (all per 1month)

See this page for more information.

Fair use policy

The 1 month data pack for phones is unlimited.

Availability

GiffGaff SIMs can be ordered online for free.

or with £5 free credit on activation from any member of giffgaff. The member him/herself also receives 500 points worth £5 of balance on activation of the new SIM.

SIM sizes

Stock standard SIMs, Micro SIMs can be ordered here

Tethering

Intended for mobile phone use only. See dongles/tablets for computer use.

Registration

The SIM has to be registered online together with a £10 top-up on giffgaff.com before you can use it. Get a £10 giffgaff voucher beforehand, most of the corner shops have it if you insist they look for it (it's not well known, probably also due to its strange name). You can then use this voucher online, to register your SIM (it's explained on the site, even though sometimes not totally straight forward).

Tesco Mobile

Default Data Rate

£4 / MB.

Data feature packs

monthly plan: £10. unlimited data for 3 months (fair use 500MB), unlimited texts, 250 minutes voice

monthly plan: £15. unlimited data (fair use 500MB), unlimited texts, 500 minutes voice

Fair use policy

T&C don't allow P2P, VOIP and continuos streaming AV and use SIM cards i modems (I haven't check that yet)

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