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UK Roaming experience?


iansltx
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I'll be heading to the UK in a few months and am trying to figure out whether it's worth it to switch off of Open World (this'll be my first time out of the country, so it's not like I'm using CA/MX data anyway) and grabbing a week pass for while I'm there.

Specifically, does anyone know which network Sprint roams on in the UK, and whether it's LTE roaming?

If the roaming situation is less than ideal, I figure I'll keep Open World and swing by an EE or Three store to pick up a local SIM, using my 3-cent-per-MB Open World data to get there. But if I can get solid coverage on LTE, I'll gladly do the week pass thing to save the hassle of finding a SIM.

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19 hours ago, iansltx said:

Specifically, does anyone know which network Sprint roams on in the UK, and whether it's LTE roaming?

O2 (Telefónica) and Vodafone. According to Sprint there should be LTE roaming on O2 on LTE bands 1, 3 and 20. Obviously you'll need a phone that supports LTE on one, two or (preferably) all three of those bands.

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using a GS9 in London now. Spent the $25 for a week of high speed data. 5 days in and I'm almost at 2GB so for high data usage its better to go this way than keep open world. The main network for Sprint is O2. I think I connected to Vodafone once so far. I do have problems connecting once in a while and dropping to HSPA. Speeds are slow but I think this is due to not having all the bands on the GS9 and not having CA for the Bands I have. Haven't gone past 15Mbps download. 

 

I also brought my Essential phone and put an EE sim card in. they are known as the biggest and fastest LTE network. They use band 7 which is also 2600mhz and when i connect to that and/or CA I've seen speed over 100mbps. on the glaxy on O2 I haven't seen faster than 15mbps

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Was in London two weeks ago and roamed mostly on Vodafone with my iPhone 8s. 

The free roaming is fine if you’re very patient, but at $5/day the high-speed option was very worthwhile for me.

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You can force it to roam on any of the carriers that Sprint has an agreement with. Under wireless settings, you can select which network you want it to use.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

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19 hours ago, ingenium said:

You can force it to roam on any of the carriers that Sprint has an agreement with. Under wireless settings, you can select which network you want it to use.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
 

on the GS9 you can only do that if you change the network mode to GSM/UMTS mode which means no LTE roaming

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on the GS9 you can only do that if you change the network mode to GSM/UMTS mode which means no LTE roaming
Oh interesting. I last successfully used it in January 2017 in Peru, but none of the carriers had LTE deployed. When I tried in Indonesia a little over a year ago, it gave me this error (but I assumed it was just a temporary bug). So maybe it doesn't let you actually change it while connected to LTE.
dfc548abb9df147532b372fdf38046e5.jpg

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

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I spent 3 weeks in the London area last summer for work.  EE was far superior to the others in my experience.  I was able to get a prepaid SIM for 30 Pounds which had unlimited calls, texts, and 18 GB of data which allowed mobile hotspots.  It was perfect for connecting my work computer to since our jobsite had little/no internet.  You also get automatic connections to wifi in the subways provided by mobile carriers.

If you do end up getting a sim while you are there, keep in mind that over there, different stores have very different promotions, even in the same city.  I ended up being lucky and stumbling into this store which had the deal mentioned above: https://goo.gl/maps/TGCw1tkXpPF2

After seeing how great my EE service was, my coworker (who was paying $10/day for Verizon international roaming) decided to stop into a different store on the east side of the city looking for the same deal.  We ended up going all the way across town to the same store I visited so he could get the same deal.  

 

In summary, depending on how long you're visiting and what the purpose is (work/vacation), Sprint roaming could suffice.  If you look for a local SIM, don't be afraid to stop into a couple different stores if you don't find a deal you like because your options WILL vary.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 8/19/2018 at 3:18 PM, mirskyc said:

using a GS9 in London now. Spent the $25 for a week of high speed data. 5 days in and I'm almost at 2GB so for high data usage its better to go this way than keep open world. The main network for Sprint is O2. I think I connected to Vodafone once so far. I do have problems connecting once in a while and dropping to HSPA. Speeds are slow but I think this is due to not having all the bands on the GS9 and not having CA for the Bands I have. Haven't gone past 15Mbps download. 

 

I also brought my Essential phone and put an EE sim card in. they are known as the biggest and fastest LTE network. They use band 7 which is also 2600mhz and when i connect to that and/or CA I've seen speed over 100mbps. on the glaxy on O2 I haven't seen faster than 15mbps

I'll be heading to london in October and bringing my note 8. I'm guessing I should be good for decent speeds as you noted. I will be on my phone alot so consistent useable data would be great. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/20/2018 at 6:38 PM, snowmobiler487 said:

I spent 3 weeks in the London area last summer for work.  EE was far superior to the others in my experience.  I was able to get a prepaid SIM for 30 Pounds which had unlimited calls, texts, and 18 GB of data which allowed mobile hotspots.  It was perfect for connecting my work computer to since our jobsite had little/no internet.  You also get automatic connections to wifi in the subways provided by mobile carriers.

If you do end up getting a sim while you are there, keep in mind that over there, different stores have very different promotions, even in the same city.  I ended up being lucky and stumbling into this store which had the deal mentioned above: https://goo.gl/maps/TGCw1tkXpPF2

After seeing how great my EE service was, my coworker (who was paying $10/day for Verizon international roaming) decided to stop into a different store on the east side of the city looking for the same deal.  We ended up going all the way across town to the same store I visited so he could get the same deal.  

 

In summary, depending on how long you're visiting and what the purpose is (work/vacation), Sprint roaming could suffice.  If you look for a local SIM, don't be afraid to stop into a couple different stores if you don't find a deal you like because your options WILL vary.

 

So does your phone need to be unlocked to get a local sim? I have the note 8 so I'm wondering if i should get the local sim or pay the 25 bucks.  I understand that wifi is everywhere there but i mainly want the calling or texting to the USA.

Thanks

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1 hour ago, jthawks said:

So does your phone need to be unlocked to get a local sim? I have the note 8 so I'm wondering if i should get the local sim or pay the 25 bucks.  I understand that wifi is everywhere there but i mainly want the calling or texting to the USA.

Thanks

In order to use a local sim, your phone will at least need to be unlocked internationally.  While I was there, all of my calls back to the US were through FaceTime audio (VoIP on iPhones).  If you’re looking to make calls using your number and don’t want to hassle with a VoIP solution, you may be better off just paying sprint for the roaming.  Just remember, calls are $0.20/min on top of the $25 you mentioned.

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3 minutes ago, snowmobiler487 said:

In order to use a local sim, your phone will at least need to be unlocked internationally.  While I was there, all of my calls back to the US were through FaceTime audio (VoIP on iPhones).  If you’re looking to make calls using your number and don’t want to hassle with a VoIP solution, you may be better off just paying sprint for the roaming.  Just remember, calls are $0.20/min on top of the $25 you mentioned.

Thank you for that.  My girlfriend is on t mo and seems like she will not have good roaming plan. What is a good idea for her if you know of any ideas. 

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My experience is that Sprint will work fine (although, as noted, slowly without a data pass); however, you may experience decreased battery life as your phone may try to stop roaming and find Sprint's network every once in a while.

If you're going to be in London in particular, a prepaid local SIM makes a great deal of sense, in part so you can benefit from the free WiFi access on the Underground which requires a UK SIM card. You can get a local SIM and several gigs prepaid along with a bucket of texts and minutes from all of the providers for £10-20 (i.e. $25 or less) depending on how much data you want. I've had good experiences with both giffgaff (prepaid on O2, will send SIMs to the U.S. for free) and Three (3).

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