Earlier today I expressed the dizzying complexity I found when investigating how to obtain cellular phone service once I land at London’s Heathrow airport from the USA later this summer.
After all that frustration and nuisance I found more information for the weary traveler who despises needless complication and hassle: most terminals at Heathrow include a SIM LOCAL STORE just METRES beyond the immigration check point. http://www.simlocal.com/
The shop sells unlocked phones and sim cards. I have emailed them to see what else is available and how they suggest I handle all of the cellular needs for the trip — the micro SD card, power adapter, airtime, etc.
Sim Local seems to be the little secret that USA electronics stores don’t want you to know about and T Mobile especially doesn’t want you to know about.
As best as I can discover, the reason for the $2/minute airtime fee is ROAMING, something I’ve not encountered for a very very long time. Of course I have not used TMobile since my first cell phone back in 2003. That lasted just a year or two since T Mobile had TERRIBLE coverage in New York City compared to competitor Verizon (which can only be used in USA).
I am still looking for more information and emailed SimLocal to learn more for my trip. But by all accounts I will save money by simply not adding any airtime to the T Mobile phone and using it just for this trip when in the USA to phone my taxi cab.
Yes, the new Sim card will cost me to purchase — about $20-$30 USD. But for a card that will give me local phone charges to use — it’s worth it!
And oh yes — Heathrow has PAY PHONES and seems to really offer a lot for international travelers! http://www.heathrowairport.com/
I will of course continue to update everyone on my British holiday adventures. Now if only I had been able to find this information BEFORE I bought anything at Best Buy! As a matter of fact, I’m wondering if I should ever shop Best Buy again!