Coming to the UK and I need a mobile phone

7 replies
Found 6th Jan 2007

Great website, lots of useful information, though, so much that I'm becoming more confused! Though, probably just because I'm a little slow, cuz I'm Ca-na-dian eh?

Anyways, the jist of my situation is that I am planning to do a medium 1-2 year move to the UK (based in/around London). Will be arriving end of January and need a mobile fairly quickly. After reading about cash back, pay as you go and contract deals, I've pretty much defaulted to pay as you go... because I don't have an address ;-). Luckily my bank here has set me up with credit and what not in the UK so all is good.

With that said, I cruised around the sites and forums looking at the different mobile deals and it looks like the best way to go for a PAYG thru one of the resellers that is locked to one of the networks, and then unlock the phone at one of the markets.

Is this the right way to go? Or should I be looking for unlocked phones right away? Or... should I be doing something else entirely? like... combining things with Quidco (which I know absolutely nothing about)

Thanks for the info!


Depends how much you are looking to pay, if you just want a cheapy for usage sake then you can pick up great clearance ones already unlocked for around £30, if you are looking for a more expensive/better than basic one that what you suggest is about right, find the cheapest PayG deal you can with a network then get it unlocked

I'll move this to Deal Requests as you may get more input there.

PAYG is probably your best choice as you will probably not pass the credit check for a contract phone.

Original Poster

Fantastic, thanks!

Is there a particular place that is good for unlocking/unbranding the phones? Or is it just pretty common where I can just walk into one of the markets and just have it unlocked?

And is there a preferred network for PAYG? I read on some other forums that O2 has a good tariff schedule... though Virgin has free voicemail...


If it's a nokia, theres a good chance you can do it yourself over the internet!

if you have a mobile now (tri banded)? why not get it unlocked in canada and then just buy a payg sim here in the uk.

just a thought

Original Poster

Thanks for all the replies, my phone right now is a CDMA phone so I can't take it over. I think its only really western Canada that uses CDMA and not GSM, weird...

Thinking about paying upwards of 80 GBP for a phone in London... so maybe a V3 RAZR? or Sony k750i? Don't really need too much for options. hehe, but you know how it is, as soon as you have some options, you start wanting even more ;-) heh, so in hind sight I should probably get something more around the range of 30 GBP

carphone warehouse is a good high street shop, you can check out their web site for an idea of prices and selection

First of all UK phone networks operate differently to Canadian ones, ie you do not pay any money for receiving any calls in the UK, therefore all your credit is used in making calls.

Secondly, if you have someone back home that can accept SMS you can send then for about 10p on the O2 network. There is also an option to get a 'BOLT-ON' from O2 that calls to Canada/US only cost you about 3/5p per minute on a PAYG phone.

V3 is a good triband phone and will work in Canada when you go home, the L6 is the rigid version of the V3, good phone except that the ring tone/volume is very quite if you work outdoors, great if you are at home or in the office but outside it is cr*p. You can also get a bluetooth headset to work with both of these phones.

The cheap stores, ALDI and LIDL have done some good deals recently for V3 and L6, both unlocked and ready for any sim (keep away from 3G), I got a L6 for my daughter for 49.99 just before Christmas. These shops offer deals twice a week and only repeat them every 12 months and only get limited stock.

If you opt for a O2 phone there is a free number you can call and speak to anyone in the world for free (on contract, normal rates on PAYG) as long as you have enough credit on your phone, I have switched to contract and call the US and Canada for nothing now using my free contract minutes.

There are also loads of shops offering unlocking facilities for most phones and this will cost you between £2 and £10 depending on the shop, so look around.
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