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Most smart phones are locked to a specific network - they are subsidised by the network
You can buy unlocked ones, but they cost a packet. I just checked the wholesale price of a Samsung Galaxy Nexus and its £441+ VAT, so the retailer is going to put another 10-20% on that. Same company had some Nokias going for £350+ but I'd steer away from those given Nokias current problems
You probably will need a new SIM card - many of the older ones can't handle data
As for roaming - take a look at T-Mobile, I believe they offer globally priced contracts
Both Carphone place and Argos do "offers" on yesterdays must have phones. Drop in and have a look.
For a first smart phone, you do not need a Nexus/Galaxy S2/Iphone whatever. (You do not need the £400 ++ flash phones).
Start with a reasonably cheap job such as a Galaxy Y or Galaxy Ace or a W, and expect that to last of for sometime. My Galaxy Apollo (no longer sold, unless BOAC has found yet another source for them) is now a couple of years old and is fine. It is v. slow compared to daughter's Galaxy S2 which is lightning quick, bit I'm not lightning!!
I always buy sim free, and have sim-only "contracts". I get more than I use for £15/month.
Last month, Tesco had a better deal, sim only, for £12,50 month.
I use Vodafone as they are sometimes honest. Honesty has not been a notable attribute of my experience with 3.
I turn off the data thingie when I'm not using it. My allowance is half a whatever. I've never got near to my limit. Daughter does not turn off her data access, and does not hit her limit of half a whatever. Turning off the bits of the phone that costs loads when you go abroad is very, very easy with Samsung.
Come over to Belgium and buy something like the Galaxy Ace (wot I have) for almost €30 LESS than you pay in the UK for the same sim-free phone (without contract). All phones over here are "unlocked", it's against the rules to sell a phone tied to a network here.
Sim card? I have a 5 year old card in mine with no problems regarding data use or anything.
Roaming? One way to cut costs of calls, if you have a wifi connection, is to use things like Skype or Viber. That means free calls. Another way is to have one of them "international" sims which you can swap to when overseas. There's been plenty discussion on the forum about them.
How much data will you use? That, my friend, is up to you!!
there is a network in the UK, rhymes with riffraff, does a top up for £10 a month with 240 mins talk, unlimited text and unlimited data! Seems like the Skype option would make this workable if I ever need to rabbit more than an hour a week........ never have before.
I find that their site has the instructions and downloads of code to let their new users unlock their phones (most models I contemplated can be done) so off to Carphone Warehouse to see what lies right in my hand.
I unlocked my old iphone 4 (after a year with o2 they unlock it for free) i then went with vodafone pay as you go and i buy a freedom freebie pack for £20 which gives me 3000 texts 600 mins and 500 mb of data... Needless to say i dont use it all! Im happy
You could look at Giffgaff pay as you go uses the O2 network
£10 per month 250 mins unlimited text unlimted data ! order on my link and you also get £5 free (which can't be bad http://giffgaff.com/orders/affiliate/jxc
after some dithering about I was tempted by an offer from the karfun wher ous. A free Galaxy Ace, 240 mins chatting, loads more texts than I have written ever and 500 MB data for just £7.50 a month. Picked it up yesterday, spent all evening playing with stuff on it, connecting to our WiFi etc. This morning it had still failed to connect with the phone network.
I rang the local branch and was informed that it can be 24 hours, sometimes, to get it registered if you have a new number (I do) but I could try removing and re-fitting the SIM just in case.........
I did, it is working now.
Good game. The "get you started" sheet is woefully inadequate for someone who is new to Android, there is too much that needs signing up for and nobody tells you that nothing works till you get yourself a G**gle account. I have sussed the basics with a bit of help from a friend.
1. Do let us know how you get on. SWMBO is tempted by that £7.50 offer. I might even change myself. 2. My one moan about my older Galaxy Apollo is that it is slow on the internet. Changing sites can be very slow compared to daughter's Galaxy II. How does the Ace feel?? Simple measure - is it OK, frustratingly slow, or "chuck the bl***y phone away" slow? 3. A warning about Kies. With Samsung, you are encouraged to use Kies to connect your phone to the pc for syncing/downloading music, piccies etc. Kies is a pile of ****.
Aincient Observer, the £7.50 Galaxy Ace offer ran out TODAY, I guess there will be something similar soon.
I am probably not going to get too fussed with connecting to a PC and syncing. I tend to email stuff (web based Yahoo) to myself when I do need files from one machine to another, the WiFi in the house lets me do this easily without using up my "tariff units". I guess I will be able to attach photos from the phone camera to yahoo emails when I get into it a bit more.
Using it today suggests that there is a slight reduction in web page download speed compared with my 1.4GHz netbook, both on the same WiFi, not really surprising, the Ace is only 835MHz. I've not tried it on a mobile phone connection yet, that will be interesting as I want to use the Ace as a mobile WiFi hotspot for my netbook when flying/touring away from home.
I have checked out the usability of the Ace for getting the Notams and Met from the NATS and Met Office, good enough for when you can't get onto a PC before flying.