Study, work or travel in the UK. British culture and life.
Using a mobile phone (cellphone) in the UK
|Buying a mobile phone (cellphone)|
|Cheaper mobile calls|
|Mobile phone theft|
|Guide (introduction to telephones in the UK)|
|International (cheap international phone calls from the UK)|
Put your SIM card into the phone. Recharge the battery (this
will take several hours; you cannot use the phone until you have finished this).
Make a note of the phone number. This is printed on the sticker on the box.
Make a note of your mobile phone's IMEI number. This is a 15-digit number which is different for each phone. To find the number, enter the code *#06# on your phone. Alternatively, open the back of the phone and look at the label behind the battery, or look at the box in which you bought the phone. If your phone is stolen, you should report this number to the police and to your mobile phone network provider.
You should register your phone by visiting the company's website.
You should get your mobile phone security marked.
You can ask about this at your nearest police station (to find this, see: Personal/Advice). You can also mark other valuables, such as electronic dictionaries, personal stereos, cameras or laptops. If you sell your mobile phone to someone, you may want to let that person know the details used to mark the phone.
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- Will the mobile telephone work in the UK and in other countries?Two UK mobile phone networks (T-Mobile and Orange) use a standard known as GSM1800. This uses a frequency of about 1800MHz.
- How much does it cost to have a mobile phone?
The cost of having a mobile phone depends on how you use it. As a guide, for
a pre-pay phone you might pay between 60 and 100 pounds for a handset,
then you might pay 15 pounds per month if you make 2 minutes of calls each day
at an average cost of 25p per minute (or 5 minutes of calls each day at an average
cost of 10p per minute).
- What type of pricing system (tariff) should I choose?
Pre-pay (also known as pay as you go) is the most common way to pay for mobile phone calls and is the cheapest if you do not use the phone much. You buy a pre-pay phone for the network you have chosen, and then buy voucher cards from a newsagent (the most common vouchers give you £10 of calls). You scratch the back of the card to see a number, which you then enter into your phone (instructions are given with the voucher). If you have a credit card or a debit card, you can also use this to buy call time, or you can ask for money to be added to your account (a top up) automatically.
A contract phone is an alternative to a pre-pay phone, especially if
you are staying in the UK for more than a year, use a mobile phone a lot, and
have a UK bank account. You sign a 1-year contract, pay a connection fee (perhaps
30 pounds) at the start, and you will be given a cheap (or free) handset. You
will pay a fixed monthly bill (a line rental charge); you may get some free
calls as part of this. You also pay for your calls, but the cost-per-minute
may be lower than for pre-pay phones. Bills are automatically paid from your
bank account (you will have to sign a direct debit mandate). This way of paying
for your mobile phone calls is sometimes called a conventional tariff or contract
tariff. If you choose an all-inclusive tariff you pay for a year's charges at
the start, including some call time.
- What equipment do I need?
You need a phone handset, a SIM card (SIM is short for Subscriber
Identity Module; it is a card placed inside the phone which contains information
about the phone's owner), and a battery charger (a connection to an electrical
supply, so that you can keep phone's battery charged up).
These are often provided together when you buy a phone.
If you have a pay-as-you-go phone, you can top up the credit online, from some newsagents or phone shops, or on your phone (using your credit or debit card).
- How do I choose a mobile phone network and tariff in the UK?The main mobile telephone networks in the UK are:
The services provided by each network are similar, and the cost of basic handsets
for each of the networks is similar, so usually the most important thing is
to find the one with the cheapest call charges (tariff). Unfortunately choosing
the best tariff can be complicated. You need to consider:
- How much you expect to use the phone (if you use it a lot and are in the UK for over a year, buy a contract phone instead of pay-as-you-go)
- If you normally make calls on the same day (some tariffs are cheaper after the first few minutes)
- Which network you will call the most (it is often much cheaper to phone someone on the same network, so check what your friends use)
- If you will use it mainly off-peak, in other words during evenings and weekends (some tariffs offer cheaper off-peak calls)
- How many text messages you expect to send (some tariffs will allow you to send some messages free).
- How much you expect to use your phone to access the internet (it is much cheaper to use an internet cafe).
- How often you expect to use voicemail to listen to a message you have missed (normally you are charged for this, but sometimes it is free)
- Any regular service charges (even with a pay-as-you-go phone, you may be charged a fee by the network)
If you live in a basement or in a mountainous or remote area, it is important to check that you can get a signal (ask someone who has a mobile phone with the same network).
If you want a phone with video (called a third generation or 3G phone), a new network has been created by:
- Which handset should I choose?
After you have chosen which network and tariff is best for you, you should
then choose a handset which uses that network.
Popular phone makers include Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony and Siemens.
Some of the questions to consider when choosing a handset are:
- What is the cost of the handset? Buying an expensive handset may make it more likely to be stolen.
- Which mobile phone network can you use, and what are the charges (tariffs) for that network?
- Can you understand how to use the menus? Are the menus available in your language?
- Can you use it outside the UK?
- Is it WAP enabled - in other words, does it allow access to the internet and e-mail?
- What type of keypad does it have?
- How easy is it to write text messages? "Predictive text" can make writing messages much faster (see below)
- What sort of call alert does it have (eg vibrating)?
- Can you use it to take photos?
- Can it send picture messages (known as MMS)?
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- Cheap international phone calls
For details of how to make cheap international phone calls from a mobile phone, see: Life/Telephone/International
The same method can also save money on calls to other mobile phones in the UK, especially at weekends
- Other ways of reducing mobile phone call charges
Make a record of how much you use your phone and compare the costs for the
different tariffs. There are a large range of different tariffs for contract
Send text messages instead of speaking on the telephone. The charges are usually lower (note that you may be charged for more than one text message if you send a long message (for example: more than 160 characters).
It is often cheaper to make a call to a conventional telephone (a fixed landline) instead of calling a person's mobile telephone. If your friend is at home, call that person's landline instead of his/her mobile telephone.
It is cheaper to make calls to the same mobile telephone network. If you have
to make a long call to someone on a different network, ask the person you are
calling if he/she can borrow a friend's phone which is on your network.
If your tariff is cheaper at off-peak times, call your friends at these times.
If the cost of the first few minutes of calls each day are more expensive, make
several calls on the same day instead of a few calls each day.
Some companies provide phone numbers for customers which can be called for free if you use a fixed line telephone (including public telephones). These telephone numbers often start with 0800. Such calls are not free if you use a mobile phone, so you may wish to find a fixed line telephone to make these calls.
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It is usually cheaper to send a text message than to speak to someone.
You can also use SMS (Short Message Service) to chat with a friend using short text messages.
Abbreviations are often used in text messages, to make them quicker to type. For example:
B4 - before; BF - boyfriend; BRB - be right back; BTW - by the way; CU L8R - see you later; CU@7 - see you at 7 o'clock; FYI - for your information; GF - girlfriend; IC - I see; K - alright (OK); LOL - laugh out loud; PLS - please; RU -are you; TNX - thanks; TXT - text message; W8 - wait
Emotions can be expressed by typing the following:
:-) Happy ;-) Happily winking :-P Sticking out tongue :-( Unhapy :~( Crying :-| Unemotional :-O Surprised
Note that some phones have smart input, so if you type 7 8 8 3 3 6 8 it will automatically guess the word STUDENT (this can be much quicker than pressing each number several times to select each letter individually, which in this case would require you to enter 7777 8 88 3 33 66 8)
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Advertisement feature (by CPP)
|Top Mobile Phone Theft Hotspots Revealed.... Glasgow is the worst place
to be if you want to hang on to your mobile, according to new research out
today. Belfast and Liverpool come a close second and third. The newly released
CPP figures show we are most vulnerable to thieves while enjoying a pint
in the pub with our friends, surrounded by people. A massive 22% of victims
reported having their mobiles stolen in a bar compared to just 9% who said
their phones were taken while they were in the high street. The majority
of thieves strike in the early evening and the most popular times of year
for stealing mobiles are the first two weeks of May and the last two weeks
of July. But although half of mobile theft victims simply feel annoyed that
they didn't look after their phones better, we are becoming more vigilant.
Almost half of those who have had their mobiles stolen reported the incident
within the hour. And there are ways we can protect ourselves. Nearly all
phones are fitted with security codes which once activated prevent any SIM
cards except yours working on your handset. You can also register your mobile
with Immobilise.com increasing the likelihood of it being returned to you.
Most important of all, be aware of who is close to you if you are making
a call in public and use your phone's vibrate facility so you can decide
whether it is safe or not before answering it. For more information on how
to protect their phone visit http://www.cpp.co.uk
Here are the CPP's top tips to help you keep your mobile safe:
1. Note down your IMEI number - printed on the inside of your handset's
battery case - if your phone goes missing your service provider can use
this number to blacklist your phone.
TOP 10 CITIES FOR MOBILE PHONE THEFT
1. Glasgow (31 per cent)