Randomness (r_ness) wrote,

Notes on my mobile phone experiences.

These notes are mostly for myself, although they may perhaps be useful for others at some point, so I'm leaving the post public.

On my first day in the UK, I bought a pay-as-you-go Tesco Mobile SIM from the local Tesco supermarket for the handset I was carrying. It cost £2.49, including £1 of airtime. (Since then, the price has apparently dropped to £2.23, although this may be an internet-only price. See http://www.tescomobile.com/sim_only.aspx?pc=22&us=1&h=1)

Unfortunately the handset was broken, so I had to buy a handset. I didn't get around to it for about a week because of a hugely busy schedule.

However, I still managed to get a phone during a post-Christmas sale at Carphone Warehouse (http://www.carphonewarehouse.com). I got a Motorola C139 for £15, £10 for the handset and £5 worth of airtime on a pay-as-you-go Orange SIM. The C139 was simply the cheapest phone I could get. The cheaper Motorola C115 was £12.49, including £5 on the Orange SIM, but it was, and at the time of writing still is, sold out. (Both phones have now reverted to their pre-sale prices: £24.99 and £19.99, both including airtime. Unfortunately, they are also now both out of stock with the Orange SIM, although you could pay more for the C139 and get a SIM from another provider instead.)

Oh, another key selling point was that both of the phones from Carphone Warehouse were unlocked, which was important as I was going to be swapping in a German SIM on arrival in Germany.

I subsequently found out that the C139 has longer-than-average battery life, which is nice.

I decided to use the Tesco Mobile SIM as the tariff was cheaper for what I wanted to do, particularly because I could get half price calls and SMSs to three numbers I registered. I topped it up once, for £10, at a Tesco in Hammersmith. I used the Orange mobile SIM to call the States because I noticed there was a free credit of £3 one could get to call outside the UK, or to use the phone outside the UK, if you went into an Orange shop and asked for it. I went into the shop at Paddington and got my £3 credit, and burned a chunk of it before it expired.

Total expense: £27.49, including £16 of airtime, not including the bonus £3. Net expense for a handset and two prepaid SIMs: £11.49.

In Germany, I borrowed a spare SIM from my host. It's a Vodaphone CallYa SIM (€19.99, including €10 airtime). There are apparently a lot of different plans around. http://www.teltarif.de is a good comparison site. So far I haven't spent any money on the phone, since it still had about €4 of airtime left.
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