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Phones in the United Kingdom

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The United Kingdom has several telephone network operators which offer different types of services, whether for land line or mobile.

If you are settling in the United Kingdom, you will definitely want to keep in touch with your friends and relatives abroad. The country has many telephone network operators offering land line and mobile telephony services. You can choose the one which best suits your needs according to the duration and purpose of your stay in the country.

Land line

It can be quite difficult for an expatriate to obtain a land line although the country has numerous network operators. As a matter of fact, you can obtain your first land line only from BT which still holds the market's monopoly. Thus, you can visit any BT branch with your identification documents and proof of residence. Your residence permit will probably be requested.

Once the formalities have been completed, you will obtain your first connection within two days after subscription if your house already has a previous connection. Otherwise, you will have to wait for at least ten days. However, you will be bound by a one-year contract. Once this period has elapsed, you will be able to change operator if you wish.

 Good to know:

BT often offers flat rates for regional and international calls. You can check these with the BT agent during subscription.

 Useful links:

BT home.bt.com
Open Telecom www.open-telecom.co.uk
Titan Telecom www.titantelecom.co.uk
Onetel www.onetel.co.uk

Practical information

To make calls abroad, dial "00" followed by the country code (or city and area code) and the phone number without the initial "0". Here are some examples:

US: 00 1 phone number without the initial "0"
Switzerland: 00 41 phone number without the initial "0"
Italy: 00 39 phone number without the initial "0"
Australia: 00 61 phone number without the initial "0"
Canada: 00 1 area code phone number without the initial "0"

Mobile

The mobile phone penetration rate in the United Kingdom is much higher than the one of land lines. It is wiser for expatriates to opt for mobile phones. The country has many mobile network operators offering competitive services and prices.

If you already have a mobile phone, it should work if you come from a European country as British mobile operators operate on the GSM network. You only need to buy a new SIM card. Make sure you have unlocked your phone before traveling. Nevertheless, you will need to buy a new cell phone if you come from outside of Europe.

You can choose to subscribe to a mobile line or prepaid. Prepaid may be more appropriate for an expatriate.

 Good to know:

If you are spending only a few days in the country, you can simply activate international roaming on your mobile phone. But call rates may be higher.

 Useful links:

O2 www.o2.co.uk
Orange UK www.orange.co.uk
EE ee.co.uk
Three www.three.co.uk
Vodafone www.vodafone.co.uk
Virgin store.virginmedia.com
One Tel www.onetel.co.uk

Rates

Different mobile network operators offer various solutions for local, regional and international calls. Prepaid cards are especially designed for different types of calls. Rates for Pay Monthly plans for local calls usually start as from £10 per month. Regarding international rates, you will pay an average £5 for a call to a land line and £ 15 for to a mobile phone.

Payphones

You can also find public telephones in almost all streets. These generally require prepaid cards. But you can also find coin phones.

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