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Best SIM Cards for Using Your Smartphone in the USA

August 29th, 2014

If you’re travelling to the United States, using the right SIM card can save you a lot of money. We review the best value SIM cards for using your smartphone in the US.

USA Flag

Every year, more than 5 million Brits visit the USA. Whether you’re visiting New York to do a bit of shopping, visiting California to enjoy the beautiful scenery or visiting Florida to enjoy the theme parks with your family, you’ll probably want to use your phone when abroad.

Having a smartphone in America makes it much easier to stay in touch with friends and family in the UK. A smartphone can also be helpful in finding nearby restaurants and attractions and can help you to navigate around the country (e.g. using Google Maps).

The good news is it’s really easy to take a UK smartphone and to use it in the US. You can either roam using your UK SIM card or you can buy a US SIM card upon your arrival in the States. In this article, we review and compare the best SIM cards for using your smartphone in the US. We’ll look at pricing as well as network compatibility with UK handsets.

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How to unlock your iPhone from O2, Orange, Three, T-Mobile, Vodafone and EE

August 20th, 2014

You’ll need to unlock your iPhone before you’re able to use it on another mobile network. Save money by switching to cheaper SIM only deals and avoid roaming charges when travelling abroad.

iPhone 5SWhen you buy an iPhone, it’ll normally be locked to your mobile network operator. As such, the iPhone will only accept SIM cards from the network it’s locked to (for instance, an iPhone which is locked to O2 UK will only accept SIM cards from O2′s UK network). Insert a SIM card from any other mobile network and you’ll be told the SIM card is “not supported” on your device.

In the UK, the majority of iPhones are sold locked to a network. This includes most iPhones sold on a Pay Monthly contract or Pay As You Go tariff. It also includes iPhones from third-party retailers such as the Carphone Warehouse. If you have a locked iPhone, you’ll need to unlock it before using it on another network. This article will show you how to unlock an iPhone from the UK’s major mobile networks.

Some iPhones are already unlocked when you buy them from the shop. This would be the case if you bought a SIM-free iPhone directly from Apple. To use it on another network, simply grab yourself a free Pay As You Go SIM card or a SIM-only contract for much better value. For third-party retailers such as the Carphone Warehouse, a SIM-free iPhone will lock itself automatically to the first network used on the handset. You’ll need to contact that network if you’d like to unlock your iPhone. This article will show you how.

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Vodafone EuroTraveller & WorldTraveller: Use Your UK Allowances Abroad In 50 Countries

August 15th, 2014

For an extra charge, Vodafone customers can now use their allowances abroad in 50 other countries. The EuroTraveller and WorldTraveller offerings cost £3/day and £5/day extra.


Customers on Vodafone Pay Monthly can now take advantage of fixed price roaming when visiting one of 50 other countries. By opting in to the EuroTraveller and WorldTraveller offers, your UK allowances (including minutes, texts and internet) can be used abroad for one simple daily charge. It’s £3/day to use your allowances in a EuroTraveller country (discounted to £2/day until the 31st August 2014) and £5/day to use your allowances in a WorldTraveller country.

For many people, the new fixed-price roaming deals will provide better value compared to Vodafone’s standard roaming charges when travelling abroad. The biggest savings come when travelling outside the EU (travellers to the US would normally pay £1.35/minute to make an outgoing call, £1/minute to receive an incoming call, 35p to send a text message and £3/MB when accessing the internet). However, there are cheaper roaming deals available elsewhere (e.g. Three’s Feel At Home has no extra charge for using your phone abroad; a Pay As You Go SIM card with £10 of credit will give you up to 30 days of usage over in the US).

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Using Your Mobile Phone Abroad: Everything You Need To Know

August 12th, 2014

Everything you need to know before taking your mobile phone abroad. Find out how much it costs, what are the pitfalls and how to reduce data roaming charges.

Going Abroad

Each year, an increasing number of us are travelling abroad. Whether you’re travelling for business or for pleasure, your mobile phone is an essential tool for staying in touch, finding your way around and also researching local destinations.

In this article, we present our guide to everything you need to know when using your phone abroad.

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Giffgaff Review: The UK’s Low Cost, People Powered Mobile Network

August 5th, 2014

giffgaff is a low-cost mobile network running on O2. Their goodybag bundles start at £5/month. Members can earn cash or free credit by participating in the network.

Giffgaff LogoIn the UK, giffgaff is a low-cost mobile network and a fully-owned subsidiary of O2. Founded almost five years ago in November 2009, giffgaff uses the same underlying network as its parent company, O2. Customers on giffgaff get the same level of coverage as they would on O2 with the added benefit of substantially lower prices.

Most giffgaff members choose to buy one of their goodybag bundles. A giffgaff goodybag is a monthly package that includes a set amount of calls, texts and internet. The most popular goodybag is currently the £10/month offering: this comes with 500 minutes, unlimited text messages and 1GB of internet. For heavy smartphone users, unlimited data is available on the £12 goodybag. Data-only goodybags are also available for users of a tablet. Occasional mobile users can Pay As You Go at 10p per minute, 6p per text and 20p/day for accessing mobile internet (up to 20MB of data).

Giffgaff Payback

giffgaff members are rewarded through cash or free credit (see Payback scheme).

Being a no-frills network with much lower prices, giffgaff does things differently to its parent company O2. First of all, customer support is an online-only affair: you can’t get support in a high street store or by picking up the telephone and calling customer services. Secondly, you won’t have access to Priority Moments or other O2 customer exclusives. They aren’t available to customers on giffgaff.

What giffgaff has is a scheme that rewards members who contribute to the network. You can earn cash or Pay As You Go credit by recommending giffgaff to your friends. You can also earn money by posting in the online community. You can earn a maximum of £18 per referral and up to £360/year via the community. With members helping to shape the giffgaff network, giffgaff brands itself as “the mobile network run by you”.

At the end of 2012, giffgaff had 800,000 subscribers. As of 2014, they are now understood to have more than one million subscribers.

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Best Places To Buy A Moto E Smartphone: The UK’s Cheapest Deals

August 1st, 2014

The Moto E is one of the best budget Android phones available today. Prices start at £85 SIM-free, £79 on Pay As You Go or £7.50/month on a Pay Monthly contract.

Moto E

If you’re looking for a great value smartphone at a fraction of the cost of the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, the Moto E from Motorola should certainly rank amongst your top choices.

Starting from only £84.95 SIM-free and unlocked, the Moto E manages to distill the modern smartphone back to its basics. There’s no fancy bells or whistles on this low-cost device: gone is the eye tracking, the fingerprint security and the heart rate monitor found on flagship handsets. All you’re left with is a good value smartphone that manages all the basics quickly and efficiently.

Amongst the key features, the Moto E has a 4.3-inch display at qHD resolution (960×540 pixels). With 256 pixels per inch, the screen is much sharper than on many rival devices within the same price range. There’s Gorilla Glass protection and a water-resistant splash guard to protect your phone during everyday use.  The handset also includes a long-lasting 1980mAh battery, the latest version of Android (Android 4.4 Kit Kat with more than a million downloadable apps via Google Play) and a micro-SD card slot for your photos, music and videos.

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4GEE Extra: Is “Double Speed 4G” Really Worthwhile?

July 29th, 2014

If you’re joining EE, you now have a choice between two types of contract: the standard 4GEE and the faster double-speed “4GEE Extra”.

Double Speed 4GEECustomers joining EE now have a choice between two types of contract. There’s the normal 4GEE offering which gives download speeds of around 15Mbit/s (around 4 times faster than using 3G). There’s also the newer and more premium “4GEE Extra” which has double-speed 4G with typical download speeds of around 30Mbit/s (around 8 times faster than 3G). Customers on 4GEE Extra will also benefit from inclusive EU roaming (call & text from Europe at no extra charge).

On the regular plans with normal 4G, prices start from £14.99/month for 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 500MB of data. On the more premium 4GEE Extra, you’re looking to pay at least £22.99/month for 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of mobile internet.

Is double-speed 4G a worthwhile upgrade? How much difference does it actually make in everyday usage? Is normal 4G already fast enough? In this article, we’ll answer your questions about 4GEE Extra and double speed 4G internet.

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‘All You Can Eat’ Data Reviewed: Unlimited 4G Internet from Three

July 11th, 2014

With Three’s all-you-can-eat data, you get unlimited 4G internet and no download limits.

ThreeIn the UK, Three is fairly unique in having ‘all you can eat’ data without any download limits. All-you-can-eat data is available on a range of plans including Pay Monthly, SIM Only and Pay As You Go tariffs. You get access to Three’s ultrafast 4G network included with your plan (a 4G handset is required for this service) and there’s up to 4GB of tethering included every month (excludes Pay As You Go plans). There’s also the ability to use your phone abroad in 16 other countries at no extra charge.

In this article, we review Three’s all-you-can-eat data. We’ll look at the pros and cons of the service and review the range of tariffs offering unlimited data. We’ll also compare all-you-can-eat data to rival offerings from other mobile networks (e.g. giffgaff’s unlimited internet on their 3G goodybags).

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Best SIM Cards For Using Your Smartphone in Europe

July 1st, 2014

With the right SIM card, your smartphone can roam in Europe for as little as £1/day. We review the best SIM cards for travelling in Europe.

You can use your smartphone in Europe for as little as £1/day.

Smartphones can be a great asset when you’re travelling abroad. It’s incredibly useful to be able to pull out a smartphone and to use Google Maps to find the directions to your hotel. Likewise, having the ability to access online reviews can help you to get the most out of your trip. You can find a lesser-known attraction that’s off the beaten tourist trail and you can find the restaurant that the locals can’t stop talking about.

As well as providing you with access to online information, smartphones are also a great tool for staying in touch with friends and family. Whether you’re calling home to say you arrived safely or sharing photos with friends on Facebook and Twitter, there are many ways to stay in touch when using your smartphone abroad.

For anyone travelling to Europe later this summer, there’s some good news. As of July 1st 2014, the costs of using your smartphone in Europe have dropped substantially. Calls will now cost a maximum of 18.8p per minute and text messages shouldn’t cost more than 5.9p each. For data, costs vary widely depending on your operator. With the right tariff, you can use your smartphone abroad for as little as £1/day. This article looks at the best SIM cards for using your smartphone in Europe.

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Three’s Feel At Home: No Roaming Charges in the USA, Italy & 14 Other Countries

July 1st, 2014

Three has scrapped international roaming charges in sixteen countries. They include the USA, Italy, France, Australia and Republic of Ireland.

ThreeIt’s normally a hugely expensive affair to use your smartphone abroad. Hefty roaming charges for using your mobile can quickly add up to hundred of pounds. This can be a fairly substantial addition to the cost of your family holiday. At present, many people turn off their smartphones to avoid roaming charges.

Three has launched a new roaming package known as Feel At Home. For customers travelling to 16 selected countries, roaming charges have now been scrapped entirely. You can now use UK allowances including the data that comes with your plan (e.g. all-you-can-eat data). You can also call and text home without paying a penny extra. It’s great for sharing your holiday photos (e.g. Instagram and Facebook), finding your way around using Google Maps and staying in touch with your friends at home.

Feel At Home can be used in sixteen countries including Australia, France, Italy, the Republic of Ireland and the United States of America. You’ll need to have a SIM card from Three (this could be a Pay Monthly deal, a SIM only plan or a Pay As You Go SIM card with the All-in-One bundle). If your handset isn’t normally on Three, you can pick up a SIM card to benefit from the offer.

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