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Temporary cell phone at Heathrow?

London, Canada
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Temporary cell phone at Heathrow?

We are going to London for 5 days in February and I need a cell phone. I have only the most basic cell phone at home and it won't take a sim card.

Is there a place where I can buy a cheap cell phone at Heathrow when we arrive - one that doesn't have a plan but to which I can add minutes on pay as you go basis?

Thanks!

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Temporary cell phone at Heathrow?

There aren't any shops landside that sell mobiles, but there are plenty of them in central London.

Have you booked a hotel yet, and if so where? You may find a phone that suits at Argos or Carphone Warehouse, with the latter ubiquitous throughout the city. PAYG phones are available for less than a tenner, and you'll need to buy a bit of airtime to get that very low rate for the handset itself.

No. California
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2. Re: Temporary cell phone at Heathrow?

There are phone shops all over London, as Travellerplus said. All over England for that matter. I was amazed at how cheaply you could buy one.

We had one within an hour after checking into our hotel. I wouldn't bother trying to find one at the airport.

Rochester, United...
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3. Re: Temporary cell phone at Heathrow?

You can now buy mobile phones for 99p - you have to put £10 credit on when you get it but I still thinik it's worth it.

Amsterdam, The...
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4. Re: Temporary cell phone at Heathrow?

Hamilton44 I agree with the other posters but I am curious that you have a cellphone with no SIM card. I've worked in telecoms most of my life and never seen or heard of such a thin (perhaps I should get out more!)

Just to satisfy my curiosity could you post the make (and model).

Sheffield, United...
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5. Re: Temporary cell phone at Heathrow?

Hi, The original mobile (cell) phones worked on an analogue system and had no sim card, my first in 1990 was NEC P3 model, the first "small" handset after the iconic Motorola "brick" the next was an Ericsson, which was on the "new" digital system and did have a sim card. I would be amazed if there were still any anolgue systems in operation.

Ivan

United Kingdom
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6. Re: Temporary cell phone at Heathrow?

In Europe (and most of the rest of the world) mobile phones work on GSM technology, but in north America some carriers operate CDMA networks and their phones don't have SIM cards. I believe Sprint and Verizon are the main CDMA carriers in the US (don't know about Canada I'm afraid). Other carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile use GSM (and therefore have SIMs) same as us.

Edited: 22 November 2010, 16:53
London, United...
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7. Re: Temporary cell phone at Heathrow?

Canada has both CDMA (e.g. Virgin) and GSM (e.g. Rogers) systems running.

Solihull
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8. Re: Temporary cell phone at Heathrow?

hamilton44, just for your info.

While the USA tends to call them "cell phones" here in the UK we call them "mobile phones".

Nobody here in the UK ever calls them "cell phones".

So if you are looking for one when you get here, it is probably best to ask for a "mobile phone" then everyone will know what you are talking about.

Edited: 22 November 2010, 17:27
London, United...
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9. Re: Temporary cell phone at Heathrow?

We do, indeed, call them "mobile phones" in the UK. But EVERYONE knows what a "cell phone" is.

Hitchin, United...
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10. Re: Temporary cell phone at Heathrow?

I think just about everyone knows what a cell phone is these days, we're not isolated from American cultural references. Not if you watch telly for more than about an hour a week anyway.

"You can now buy mobile phones for 99p"

Yes in theory, some phones are 99 pence, but the price you see on the ticket will be £10:99 including £10 talk time. It's not possible to buy a phone itself for just 99p, just so the OP is clear on that.

Carphone Warehouse have a simple Alcatel handset for that exact price with £10 talk time on Virgin Mobile.