Setting up a landline in London is simple. All you will need to set up your account are direct debit details and the postal code of your residence. Your credit will be checked. If you are new to the UK or do not have good credit you will likely have to pay a standard £50 refundable deposit. It may take up to 15 days to install your new line. However, if the line already exists, it should take no more than 48 hours to reconnect. The installation of a brand new landline, if there is no existing line in your new property, will cost between approximately £50.00 – £125.00. Most customers do not have to pay for a brand new installation as most places in London already have a existing line.
When choosing a phone provider you can mix and match. For example, you can get your line rental with one provider and your call package with another. Line rental costs around £12/month, depending on the carrier and the package that you purchase. Local call are not free unless stated in your contract, local rates range from 4 pence to 15 pence per minute.
There are many companies offering landline service in London. Here are the most popular:
- BT: http://www.bt.com
- Virgin Media: http://www.virginmedia.com
- Talk-Talk: http://www.talktalk.co.uk/
- Plus Net: http://www.plus.net
- Sky: http://www.sky.com/portal/site/skycom/skyproducts/skytalk
- Primus: http://www.primussaver.co.uk
To compare the current promotional offers go to http://www.uswitch.com. These offers generally discount packages for a period of 12 months and then the prices will increase. Make sure you are aware of the promotional rate and what the full price will be once the promotion period is finished.
Phone number finders are: Yell.com: http://www.yell.com or call 118-118. Once a year, you should receive a paper version of the yellow pages, free through your letter box.
This is an excellent option if you do not want to commit to a 12 or 18-month mobile phone contract in the UK. Prepaid mobile phone service is available from all major mobile phone companies in the UK. Rates are competitive. Texts cost around 10p each and calls are around 20p per minute. Phone prices vary but are affordable. All mobile phone companies offer Pay-As-You-Go. See the below Contract section for company details.
Phones4U (http://www.phones4u.co.uk) and Carphone Warehouse (http://www.carphonewarehouse.com) both have branches around the capital and can help you find a pay-as-you-go or contract setup.
In order to begin a contract with a mobile phone company you will be subjected to a credit check. The company will also take your direct debit details. Some companies might require a deposit if you do not have good credit.
Contracts are for 12 to 18 months. If you are new to the UK and don’t have a credit rating you will be required to give a deposit of approximately £150. Make sure to get this back if you leave the country!
- Carphone Warehouse: http://www.carphonewarehouse.com
Carphone Warehouse can assist you in finding the mobile phone provider that suits your needs. Instead of visiting each company’s shop, visit this one-stop place and compare packages. Branches are around London.
- Vodafone: http://www.vodafone.co.uk
This is another big mobile phone company operating in the UK. Sign up for 24 months and pay only £33 per month for unlimited minutes and unlimited texts and a free Samsung Galaxy. Shops are around the capital but you can set up your account online.
- Orange: http://www.orange.co.uk
A huge selection of plans and free headsets are available at Orange so get onto the website and choose the best plan for you.
- Virgin Mobile: http://www.virginmobile.com
Virgin also offers mobile phones and contracts. The company offers new specials every week. A basic 12-month contract gets you 200 minutes and unlimited texts for £23/month and the phone is free.
Useful Numbers International Dialing Codes
- 999 – Emergency services (police, fire, ambulance, coastguard) – for genuine emergencies only
- 100 – Operator (for help with calls in the UK and Republic of Ireland)
- 155 – International Operator (for help with international calls or calls to a ship)
- 118 500 – Directory Enquiries (phone numbers for UK people and businesses)
- 118 505 – International Directory Enquiries (phone numbers for overseas people or businesses)
The international dialing code for Britain is +44
To find the codes for other countries, search BT website: http://www.thephonebook.bt.com
Though the famous red boxes have been mostly sold off, you will find public phone booth all over London. In many of them you can use the internet to surf the net and send emails.
Internet/Skype & Calling Cards
WiFi is widely available in public places from libraries to pubs via hotel rooms and train carriages, there is no shortage of Internet cafes either so there should be no problem to use Skype, a company which allows you to make free Internet calls, visit http://www.skype.com.
For certain destinations such as Bangladesh it is cheaper to use calling cards. Once bought and charged, calling cards can be used on any landline phone, mobile or even payphones. There is a plethora of outlets to buy calling cards, note that supermarkets are often the easiest.