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Thread: Three UK: how to activate SIM and top-up account from USA?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rs899 View Post
    I did not use giffgaff, but as of last year they will send you a free SIM card and it looked possible to me that it could be activated with a us credit card. But the deal didn't look better than 3uk.
    Yes.. In terms of the packages. Three looks fantastic.. They even give roaming immediately if the SIM is activated within UK (says their website). Giffgaff is not that strong in terms of minutes/txts/data combination, and won't give roaming until you spent 2 months in UK, but it runs on a different network (O2)..

    To me, either will work, because all I am looking for is about 1 GB of data per month, and maybe 150 min per month, with a good coverage. The SIM cards are easy to get for both, and it seems like I would need 10 British pounds of topup either way..

    What I don't know is how good/bad is the network and coverage.. I tried googling for this info, and it is either "good enough for my use", or "it sucks", with not much information

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacksurfer View Post
    Always buy the sim with credit from the seller. Why just buy the sim?
    possibly due to the duration of the trip, or trips.. I believe those sellers will add a 30 day plan to the SIM and sell as a package.. may not fit everyone..

    Just a guess..

  3. #18
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    For my September trip, I'm making the assumption that tourist areas in London and Glasgow will be sufficient for me on one of the big carriers. I'll hopefully avoid the UK equivalent of Sprint

    I just want enough data to get me through, assuming Wi-Fi in hotels are good enough, and tethering support to enable iPad usage without getting another SIM just for the iPad.
    iPhone 11 is my current primary phone. I have older model iPhones and Moto phones available on other lines. Trying to simplify to 2 prepaid lines, one on the Verizon network and a limited minute plan on ATT to improve coverage area. 12 month plans to help me fight the urge to switch. The good old days of contracts where you had to pay a hefty ETF to leave

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    What I don't know is how good/bad is the network and coverage..

    Where are you going?

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC_curious View Post
    Eric,

    Thanks

    Three does look better in terms of features. I wanted to see the actual performance in UK - coverage, data speed, those kind of things..

    Also I want to roam in other countries.. Seems like for this, Three requires activation within UK, and giffgaff will not give roaming to you until you prove residency or spend ~ 2 months in UK.. Just getting prepared for my trip and gathering information

    Thanks again!
    Can you please clarify your "Three requires activation within UK" statement?

    I hadn't read anything like that before.

    Also, that's contrary to what is reported at https://www.howardforums.com/showthr...5#post16859205 .

    Has something changed? Thanks!

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by rs899 View Post
    What I don't know is how good/bad is the network and coverage..

    Where are you going?
    Will be visiting Glasgow/Edinburgh area.. Then probably travel to Italy

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boz1 View Post
    Can you please clarify your "Three requires activation within UK" statement?

    I hadn't read anything like that before.

    Also, that's contrary to what is reported at https://www.howardforums.com/showthr...5#post16859205 .

    Has something changed? Thanks!
    Their website now says that.. Don't know if that is implemented or not..

    What they claim is that EU got rid of the roaming charges, and let people use their phones as if there are at home country, within EU. So EU cell phone companies now provide roaming without roaming charges, but they want to make sure that you are from the "home" area.

    So...

    giffgaff looks at your pattern for ~ 2 month (or you need to send them proof of residency) before giving you full EU roaming..

    Three will give you full roaming immediately, but they ask you to activate and make first call (or first chargeable event) within UK.

    I believe phones will work within EU, and in US, but I would expect that you will have significantly higher rates..

    Is this how they actually do it now? I have no idea..

    Here's the link

    http://support.three.co.uk/SRVS/CGI-...Case=obj(4141)

  8. #23
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    One more thing from the websites..

    giffgaff allows tethering from their pay as you go SIM

    Three says no roaming allowed from pay as you go...

  9. #24
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    NC_curious,

    Hmmm.....looks like Three UK either updated their website or did make some changes. Last Fall I activated a Three UK sim card here in the US. Everything worked fine in the US (talk, text, data). I then went to Germany via Denmark. The Three UK sim worked in Denmark and in Germany without ever being in the UK.

    The only thing I can say is: try activating a Three UK sim here in the US. When I activated mine, you just put the sim in the phone and waited for a text saying it was activated. Remember with Three UK sims, you don't pay for incoming calls, so you could try calling the Three UK number using Google voice.

    Eric

  10. #25
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    Well, shoot! I guess I'll have to test my Three SIM right away when I get it. It should arrive today or tomorrow.

  11. #26
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    Folks,

    Ok, I dug up the instruction sheet that came with my Three UK sim cards I ordered last Fall and I have another Three UK sim I ordered last month. Here's what it says concerning activation on the sim instructions from last Fall:

    Getting started

    Simply pop our SIM into your phone and top-up to start enjoying the lowest rates.


    Here's what it says in the sim instructions from last month:

    In order to use Feel At Home, we just ask that you first activate and use your account in the UK.

    So there is a difference in the instructions. I haven't activated one of the "new" Three UK sims, so I don't know if you really have to use it in the UK first? As the instructions mention above you just put the sim card in your phone and it activates once it's on the network.

    Last Summer there were major changes for roaming in the European Union. It could be that nothing has really changed other than they updated the instructions to include the information about EU roaming (the old instructions don't mention anything about roaming, the new instructions do).

    Eric

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boz1 View Post
    Well, shoot! I guess I'll have to test my Three SIM right away when I get it. It should arrive today or tomorrow.
    My Three SIM card arrived.

    I put it in my Moto E4 XT1768. After ~1 minute, it registered, and I received several texts and automatic APN settings.

    I registered it successfully on a newly created account at three.co.uk, which included receiving another text message from Three.

    I really wasn't planning to fund it yet, because I wanted to wait to see if the free unlimited 128Kbps that T-Mo provides would be sufficient after we arrive in France.

    I guess if I do, for £10, or ~$14 US, it will just be another funded international SIM card to go along with my TruPhone and Piranha Mobile SIM cards, lol! I'll think about that one for a while before making a decision, since we don't leave until May 26.

  13. #28
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    Boz1,

    Excellent news. I'm guessing it's just the instructions that have changed due to the EU roaming changes last Summer. Another important point. Even though the instructions say you can't use your phone as a mobile hotspot, you actually can. I use an iPhone SE and the hotspot feature worked fine in Germany and the UK when I was there in March. Prior to December 2017 you couldn't use the hotspot feature on your phone (I was able to last Fall by using a dual sim Moto E flashed to Lineage OS).

    I do the same when I travel to Europe: I bring my Truphone sim card, along with my Lidl German sim card (for when I'm in Germany) and my Three UK sim.

    Eric

  14. #29
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    Hmmm…now I have a question about Kwikpay.

    Since I now have a UK phone #, I was able to successfully register for Kwikpay.

    I was going through the motions to see what the process would be to add a top-up, but Kwikpay is asking for a Post Code.

    Did others experience that, and if so, what did you use for a Post Code?

  15. #30
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    Boz1,

    Yes, when I set up the KwikPay app, I just used a hotel address in London. Use Google to look up an address in the UK and use that. I use PayPal to pay for the top-up through the KwikPay app.

    Eric

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