Cheap UK cellphone plan for iPhone 8

I have a UK relative that just got a new iPhone 8 (Backmarket :) ) while over here in the States. She now needs to get a better phone / data plan so wonder what folks suggest.

She is not often here in the US and never travels outside UK. She current has an O2 account that she tops up but we think it’s not very economical (not able to figure out what she’s got really - hell we just spent two weeks waiting for a reset of her Apple ID password that she lost … )

Suggestions on something easy ? Seems like all the monthly 02 plans are way expensive. 12 / 24 months are cheaper. Would like to pay 10GBP per month with say 1Gb data and an add on for 1c US calls would be nice. Just don’t want to loose her current number in the transfer so perhaps we have to go with 02.

I wrote this 5 years ago but seems like this plan does not exist anymore:

I was looking at your website - she doesn’t need a lot of data as she’ll be using it mainly on Wi-Fi so your Big bundle 2 GB for 10 pounds/ month looks fine for her needs. I was also thinking that if she wanted to send a text to the USA or call a phone number in the USA she might also get the International bolt on plan for 3 pounds a month

She is not technically inclined and can barely operate the new iPad 2022 she just bought :( She also has no one to help her with tech apart from US via FaceTime in USA. We have a tech guy at 50GBP per hour who could assist.

Perhaps have a look at https://www.giffgaff.com/sim-only-deals. Giffgaff uses the O2 network (they are an MVNO) but can be quite a bit cheaper: if she needs 1 GB, that’s £6 per month. Or £10 a month gets you 15 GB. Customer service is all online, though - see https://www.giffgaff.com/about-us - not sure if that would be an issue.

I don’t know about rates for calling the US, but the information should be on their site.

It should be possible to keep her current number when switching networks. It’s been a few years since I did this, but I believe the process is: get a PAC code from her current provider (O2), give that to the new provider, who then arrange the transfer. On the transfer date, the old SIM stops working, the new one starts. There may be a delay of a few hours with neither SIM working, or potentially longer if something goes wrong.

Given she’s bought the iPhone in the US - does it have the necessary UK cellular bands? (I don’t know much about that. I think there’s been a thread about it somewhere here recently though.)

Hi U agree with Ashley that GiffGaff is probably your best option.Nevertheless check this recent thread on the same topic https://talk.tidbits.com/t/traveling-to-uk/19777

Mobile service in the UK is highly location dependent, what an irony for something that is meant to make you independent of your location.
People here (East Devon, if it helps to know) often get their SIM card/contracts in a nearby sizeable town, 15 miles away. O2 in that town is OK or even good, which is why mobile phone shops there happily recommend it. But it ain’t good at all in our small coastal market town.
For this reason, do look at coverage maps before you look at price.
As stated above, MVNO are often, but not always a good option.
The other thing that can be important for low volume users: There is often no need to book a monthly fee, just topping up once in a while can be a lot cheaper, and these PAYG rates are often less easy to see. It depends on the person’s needs.

She is in the Brighton / Worthing area.

Great suggestions but man if she goes to the US again and has cellular data turned on she will get reamed by the per GB data cost.

That’s what I liked about the 02 plan - seems to not be an option now. Pity she can’t get an eSIM on her new phone :) Guess that’s ok.

She tried to call the local o2 shop but failed so this is what were dealing with here :( so online support would be OK :) via her tech support team :)

As @ashley wrote, you can keep your number when switching networks. No reason to stay with O2 unless she wants to.

She might be better off getting a SIM from Three. Their Pay-As-You-Go plans all include “Go Roam” which allows you to use your data, call, and text allowance when travelling in the US (and many other countries) without paying for any sort of add-on. I think the cheapest data pack she can buy would be £10 for 10GB of data over a month.

giffgaff charges 2p/min for calls to the US. Three charges £3.00/min(!) unless you pay £5/month to get a ‘Call Abroad 100’ add-on which gives you 100 min (so 5p/min if you use them all).

https://www.giffgaff.com/international

Destination Details

But to be honest, I never use international calling anymore, I do it all over FaceTime (audio or video).

This is something many people are not fully aware of. Facetime is not just Video Call, there’s Facetime Audio.

1 Like