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Are Pay as You Go Cell Phones in the UK already charged?

Travel Forums Europe Are Pay as You Go Cell Phones in the UK already charged?

1. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 8y

GregW has indicated that this thread is about United Kingdom

Okay, so I am arriving in London on June 4th, and am confused about getting a phone.

I am planning on moving permanently to the UK, so I could go and get a contract phone right away, but thought it might be easier and faster to get a pay as you go (PAYG) phone to start off until I get a permanent address and job.

My question is can I just walk into a store, buy a phone and SIM card and have it active and charged up immediately, or do I have to wait for the phone to be active or do I need to take the phone home and charge it?

I mean, Jason Bourne seemed to just buy one and slip it into that dude's pocket in the Bourne Supremacy without charging it...

Greg

2. Posted by travelbug_ (Respected Member 110 posts) 8y

You would need to take it home to charge.

3. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 8y

Like said you would have to take it home and charge it, however whatever credit you put on the phone should be ready to go right away. Adding credit to your phone is called topping up and you can top up almost anywhere: petrol station, grocery, airport, etc. You can also top up online and sometimes get a bonus for doing so. A top up that is bought somewhere like a petrol station is basically a slip of paper with a code. You call in and enter the code, and presto you have more credit.

Also is you have a phone that uses a sim card and is unlocked you could always bring it with and just buy a new sim card. Cheers!

4. Posted by LittleHote (Inactive 78 posts) 8y

A pay-as-you-go phone is just a mobile phone like any other. It's only the method of paying for the service that is different. The battery technology is still subject to the same laws of physics as any other. Having said that, it will only take three or four hours to put the first charge into the battery, so it's not a big deal.

Bourne Supremacy? Don't confuse film with reality.

5. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3711 posts) 8y

they normally say charge it for 8 hours when you get it, but in my experience they normally come with a little bit of charge so you may be able to walk straight out of the shop and use it.

the main network providers in the uk are O2, T-mobile, Vodafone and Orange.

[ Edit: Edited on May 27, 2008, at 12:20 AM by bex76 ]

6. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 8y

they normally say charge it for 8 hours when you get it

They always used to, but now may are much shorter. My last one (a SonyE bought in UK, about a year ago) said 3hours. I did it for longer, but that was fine.

or do I have to wait for the phone to be active or do I need to take the phone home and charge it?

For a brand new number, it normally takes a couple of hours to register in the system, and you have to phone up from the phone to do it. However, if you don't want to go home, many places will let you buy (eg at 10am) then leave it charging in the shop for you to collect later that day when it's all charged and registered. i've done that before a couple of times, and it's more convenient than going home, especially if you have other things to do.

but thought it might be easier and faster to get a pay as you go (PAYG) phone

One other option (assuming that you a phone you can use in Europe, and it is/you get it unlocked) is just buy a pay as you go simcard to use to begin with, and your existing phone, then replace it with a new phone/simcard later.

The problem you will get at the moment is that they often don't like selling contract simcards alone. EG - if you buy a new phone now to put your pay as you go chip in it, you may still have to get another new phone when you go contract. This has happened to a couple of people i know in the UK, though it does seem to depend on the specific shop/network/sales person that you have. But it's worth checking before you shell out any cash how easy it will be to upgrade to contract later

7. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 8y

Quoting Gelli

The problem you will get at the moment is that they often don't like selling contract simcards alone. EG - if you buy a new phone now to put your pay as you go chip in it, you may still have to get another new phone when you go contract. This has happened to a couple of people i know in the UK, though it does seem to depend on the specific shop/network/sales person that you have. But it's worth checking before you shell out any cash how easy it will be to upgrade to contract later

Thanks for the warning, but I chose to ignore it anyway. I thought about just getting a contract phone to start, but the array of options and not really knowing how I would use the phone scared me away. Ah well. Anyway, I understand it's pretty easy to transfer your number, even to another company, so hopefully that won't be too hard to manage once I do get around to getting a contract phone.

Thanks everyone!

Greg