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Topic: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?  (Read 5831 times)

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Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« on: October 09, 2012, 04:58:58 PM »
Hello,

Moving to London at the end of the month. Any opinions on buying a mobile phone (GSM, unlocked) before leaving the US, or should I wait?

I want a smart phone on one of the major operating systems. Are the available options and pricing similar, or am I better off buying one now before I leave?

Thanks!


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Re: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2012, 05:01:01 PM »
I would wait, but that's just my opinion. No real basis to go on.


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Re: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2012, 05:13:04 PM »
Most US phones do not have all the bands to work over here so you would be shooting yourself in the foot doing that. They will work to an extent but like my att unlocked phone could only get edge and no 3g because the 3g band isn't the same.... So, just wait till you get here and can shop around there are tons of pay as you go or monthly plans that are pretty good deals! Pricing an be found on the websites pretty easily.

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Re: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2012, 08:25:33 PM »
I Need  a phone to use at the airport both in the US and when I get to the UK.  Any ideas.  Also I thought buying an unlocked phone was the way to go.  I was planning on buying an unlocked iPhone
« Last Edit: October 21, 2012, 07:59:06 PM by Brigette »


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Re: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2012, 07:13:56 PM »
Sans an iPhone, most mobiles here are pretty cheap. I paid £140 with top up for my sim free HTC smartphone about 2 years ago. Its only know its showing its age/limitations. In the new year will be looking for another phone.


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Re: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2012, 07:35:47 PM »
For years and years the UK has been far ahead of the USA in their mobile phones.  We've been using 3G for a very long time when the US didn't even really know what it was.  Now the US is getting back into the game, but I think you can get phones here that will work much better.  As someone else said, most US phones will only work on one band, so your service will be more limited than it would if you just waited and bought it here.  It will work, but one that you get here will work better.

I've been here long enough that I got my Galaxy SIII for free, and I only pay £26 month for the contract.  I've been very happy with it.  I took over an old contract that my husband had, so we were able to build up the credit on that quickly.


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Re: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2012, 08:01:05 PM »
For years and years the UK has been far ahead of the USA in their mobile phones.  We've been using 3G for a very long time when the US didn't even really know what it was.  Now the US is getting back into the game, but I think you can get phones here that will work much better.  As someone else said, most US phones will only work on one band, so your service will be more limited than it would if you just waited and bought it here.  It will work, but one that you get here will work better.

I've been here long enough that I got my Galaxy SIII for free, and I only pay £26 month for the contract.  I've been very happy with it.  I took over an old contract that my husband had, so we were able to build up the credit on that quickly.



Ok.. But what do I use for a phone at the airport both in the US and when I arrive at the UK airport.


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Re: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2012, 08:02:22 PM »
You need two phones, basically.  Buy a cheap pay as you go phone for the US.


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Re: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2012, 08:07:17 PM »
Is it really that necessary to have a phone the moment you step off the plane?  You won't likely have service here anyway, so you'll still have to leave the airport and find someone to sell you a sim card--or get ripped off at the airport.  Can't you use a payphone if you really need one and buy a phone during the next day or two?


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Re: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2012, 10:41:03 PM »
Is it really that necessary to have a phone the moment you step off the plane?  You won't likely have service here anyway, so you'll still have to leave the airport and find someone to sell you a sim card--or get ripped off at the airport.  Can't you use a payphone if you really need one and buy a phone during the next day or two?

Do pay phones still exist? Thought they were a thing of the past.  If they do exist at the UK airports fantastic




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Re: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2012, 05:26:04 AM »


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Re: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2012, 10:27:06 AM »
Lol! Thanks
Theyre not cheap, but they do have them. Usually a pound for a couple of minutes to a mobile phone (as they cost more to dial to) or longer if dialling to a landline


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Re: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2012, 12:41:52 PM »
Hi
Just a little more to add as there's a little more to this.

You can purchase Quad Band mobile handsets. These will work in the USA and UK. If you get one which is already 'unlocked' then that's a bonus and it means you can pop in a USA SIM when you are USA side and a UK SIM when in the UK.

I have a Samsung T249 Quad Band handset which I bought in Las Vegas when I lost one of my UK handsets for aroudn $129 USD. It was from a TMobile shop and 'locked' to that network.Upon returning here to the UK, I had it unlocked and was using it on the Tesco/O2 networks. It's sitting here doing nothing, so if anyone wants it, £30 delivered?! (just bumped my advert in the For Sale section!)

Warren - as per above and other responses, you'll need a Quad Band handset. However there is a caveat and that is to check the frequency bands of the handset you buy and the frequencies of the UK cellular networks. Here's a site which shows those;

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/ra/topics/pmc/document/licencetypes/cellularinfo.htm

Right now, the UK is 'just' about to have it's first 4G network go live and that requires one of the very latest handsets which is 4G capable - theres only 4/5 handsets to choose from here and I believe, they're UK specific for the frequency band 4G services will be on - don't be tempted to pick up a USA 4G handset thinking it will work here.

Brigette - As per above and other responses as well, if you purchase an 'unlocked' iPhone from the US, you can indeed use it over here. You'll need one of those 'iphone' specific small SIM cards when you get here to the UK and as mentioned, you'd probably pay much more for a PAYG small SIM at the airport, so a trip to one of the local mobile phone company shops or carphone warehouse etc would be needed.

Cadenza - to an extent and perhaps up till around 2002'ish, I'd agree with you, but since then, the US 'mobile phone' market overtook and surpassed the UK and in the years 2002-2008/9 was comfortably ahead - for technology, price plans, flexibility and choice. I had the pleasure of being one of the UK's beta testers for the 3G network around Q1/Q2 2002 and it did take a number of years before 3G was as good as it currently is. I was also playing with 4G in the US in 2009 - Las Vegas specifically, although just a few areas of the this city and a few others were 4G capable, the network has grown there for 4G quite well. Here in the UK, more dithering around and politics and red tape have meant until recently, late 2013/early 2014 was the likely 4G availability date. With some 'last minute' scrabbling around, the first Everything Everywhere 4G network goes live in a few days time. The rest of the companies have 'sort of' put their differences aside and agreed on rolling out some 4G network during Q1/Q2 of 2013 I believe.

Lastly, at long last, there is a very nicely priced, fully featured Acer smartphone that has Dual SIM capability. It's Android 4 powered and has some nice specifications for around £164 !

http://www.expansys.com/acer-liquid-gallant-duo-black-234432/

I'm going to be placing my order very soon!

Cheers, DtM! West London & Slough UK!

« Last Edit: October 22, 2012, 12:45:57 PM by Dennis the Menace!! »


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Re: Mobile phones - better to buy unlocked before leaving the US?
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2012, 05:19:54 PM »
So my unlocked US  iPhone will not work in the UK? :o I was under the impression it would.


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