Shopping: UK Phones

Mobile Phones

All students coming to the UK will require a mobile phone. Rather than using their foreign SIM, it can be cheaper to buy a pre-paid UK SIM card. There are a number of networks to choose from in the UK: O2, Vodafone, EE and 3. As well as several MVNO providers that piggyback off the main networks offering lower prices offset by lesser customer service.

Using a pay as you go allows you to pre-pay for your airtime minute, texts and data. You are not bound to any legal agreements, and you must buy a UK Sim (make sure your phone from home is compatible with the UK Sim card). Pay as you go plans are ideal for students studying in the UK for less than 12 months. Most SIM's come with bundles that contain a set amount of data, minutes and texts. More importantly, they don't require a credit check to sign up to one which foreign students will struggle to pass. You can compare the entire market of pre-paid no credit check SIM's at Tiger Mobiles.

The other option is a contract phone or 12-month sim only deal, often with these deals the phone comes free when you sign up for a plan. You will, however, be bound to a contract, which (in most cases) can vary from 12, 18, or 24 months, and breaking the contract is very expensive. Under a contract plan, you are allotted a certain number of minutes and texts and you pay a fixed monthly rate (if you exceed your minutes though, expect to pay your weight in gold for those extra chats) Contract plans are good for students remaining in the UK for longer than 12 months. But they do require a credit check. 

Save Money on a Contract has a huge range of both contract and pay as you go phones. is today the largest web-only UK mobile phone shop. 

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No matter which type of phone or plan you have, all incoming calls are FREE in the UK. Although most people rely solely on their mobile phones, landlines are still a good option. Keep in mind that there is a charge for all calls made from a landline (except calls made to free lines, such as 0800 numbers).

Landline to landline calls are quite cheap, but if you start calling mobile phones from a landline you can find yourself on a fast track to poverty. Installing a landline is important if you're wanting to set up an internet connection at home.

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