Month: April 2019

Sim card searching, (or roaming in the gloaming).

Unexpectedly, my mobile phone service provider has written to me, telling me, I have a short time to find a new deal or they would just move me. By moving me there would increase you costs form £9 to £14. This notification came as a shock. I was not expecting it. My current deal is £9 per month for unlimited phone calls, unlimited texts and 4Gb of mobile data. I like the unlimited feature of that deal and as it was a special offer price with a major network, I was pleased with the price. My current deal doesn’t allow tethering of my iPad to my phone, and on the rare occasions I cannot use Wi-Fi, I thought tethering would be nice to have.

So armed with the price point, the details of the deal I already had and the idea of adding a tethering allowance, I set out to look for a new deal. I asked on Facebook and Twitter for recommendations for new deals. In the course of looking at what was recommended, a couple of things become important.

1- The importance of Wi-Fi calling. 

Wi-Fi calling is the ability of your phone to receive calls over Wi-Fi when the Service strength is non existent. I currently live in a house dating back to 1820’s. the construction method seems to be walls can be very thick in order to provide insulation. The walls are 2-3ft thick. The service level within the house is terrible. As such the ability for the phone to make and receive calls using the Wi-Fi in the property is key towards the phone being useable.

A wide variety of mobile phone service providers do not include this with their Sim only offerings.

2- The importance of being international.

I was thinking will it work the last three places I have been, and the next three places I am likely to go internationally. The last three places I have visited were Australia, Turkey and Cyprus. The next likely destinations are the US, Finland and Ethiopia. (I didn’t think I travelled that often!)

Cyprus and Finland are in the EU, and as such UK phone service providers have to provide a roaming service that covers the EU, under the rules of EU. Ethiopia is a nightmare given its mobile phone infrastructure so it is unreasonable to expect anything there. Australia, the US and Turkey though are interesting.  The mobile service provider Three have an arrangement within the US and Australia to ensure the deal you have in the UK, is the same deal you use in the US and Australia. (Three’s roaming destinations are specified here). Some other companies offer a similar usage deal but charge an additional fee, (a previous network cost me £5 per day in order to use my UK allowances while visiting the US). Turkey is not a member of the EU, so prices vary markedly. I mostly used my phone on the hotel Wi-Fi, (hello Wi-Fi Calling), but deals on Turkey mobile phone service are not easily obtainable and usually it is a default international call rate.

It is quite amazing how many of the mobile phone service providers do not offer anything once you leave the EU with their Sim only offerings.

3- Tethering is included mostly

Mostly tethering is included widely, who knew?
Technology, am I right?

So what will I do now?

Look for a Sim only deal as before but now the criteria is clearer we can look again in depth.

  • Unlimited calls
  • unlimited texts
  • 4gb of mobile data
  • Wi-Fi calling allowed
  • International agreement with US and Austrailia at least
  • Tethering allowed.

If I find all that and more within my price point I will have got a good deal.