Vodafone UK – 4G

Vodafone

All the Providers are talking about their 4G Coverage in London. Of course the 4G Services is only available to Contract numbers, not Pay As You Go or Top Up lines. In my case I have a contract line and upgraded to 4G contectivity with a max of 8GB per month for 36 GB per month, you can change from month to month, but only stay on 4G.

I was happy and thought I would get the same service as I do in Kuwait. At full signal I was getting 50+ MB/s which was impressive. Out of all the companies – EE, Orange, O2, Vodafone, & 3 – I read that Vodafone has the best 4G coverage in London as well as the fastest.

It seems their definition of coverage is similar to swiss cheese, lots of holes in the network. 4G was fine as long as I had 4G coverage, spotty would be putting it nicely. The coverage in London’s main metropolitan area is a disaster. Every building I go into, there is almost little to no coverage, and even when we are outisde it is max one or two bars. Rarely do I see full bars, I don’t know how they planned their coverage but Vodafone falls far behind Zain or any of our Mobile Companies in Kuwait. Zain has spoilt us, our expectations are too high.

Sim Card Cutter Blunder

SimCard

Just before traveling I bought a MicroSim Cutter since now all my phones are Micro Sims, got it from one of the phone shops on Khalid bin Waleed Street in the city. Simple process, it was on my to do list so a few hours before my flight I cut my US, UK, and then I decided to cancel my BB service at last and I cut that chip too and switched phones around.

Did that really quickly.. too quickly.

I wanted to put the chip in the phones and it looked a little too small. Turns out the guy sold me the iPhone 5 Nano-Sim cutter! I was pissed, now I have to get new Sims and some of them I can’t get except when I land, thats ridiculous. I’m an idiot for not checking, and that guy must have switched them, and then I blame Apple for changing the Sim Card sizes every time they change a number on their damn iPhone! Very annoyed!

Vodafone vs. Zain Data Roaming

Vodafone

I have been planning to write this post since I was getting fantastic service from Vodafone UK while traveling in Europe. And the funny part is the day I landed in Kuwait I get a text msg from Zain stating “Welcome back your loved ones are waiting for your call”, then an hour later my phone gets disconnected, luckily it isn’t my primary phone.

Data Roaming Pricing Structure

Zain

  • 0.006 KD per Kilobyte so about 6.144 KD per 1MB

Vodafone:

  • Europe: 85p a MB up to 5MB, then £4.25 for each 5MB after that
  • Rest of the world: £3 a MB up to 5MB, then £15 for every 5MB after that

ZainBlackLogoSM

What Vodafone does better then Zain:

  • There is a charge of 50 British Pounds for data, not including normal call charges
  • This charge cap can be removed if requested by the user, also you get notifications when you are 50%, 80%, or 100% at the Cap where ever you are roaming
  • They disconnect the Data and not your phone line when you reach the cap, unlike Zain who disconnect everything and no notification
  • Also a side note if you have a Vodafone plan then you can also get a package for 40 British Pounds per month to get 25 MB a day to use with your phone line which is very useful and more then enough for your phone

Overall my normal phone with the vodafone line used about 300 MB worth of data in one week, it was my only access to the net so it was very Data intensive period for my regular phone. This cost me a total of 255 British Pounds or 113 KWD, if I did the same type of data roaming on Zain it would have been 1843.2 KWD which is insane. I had my Blackberry on which had a Zain line in it, I would never call from it or do anything with it except replies to BBMs, and as soon as I arrived back in Kuwait they sent me a welcome message and disconnected my phone within an hour, no notification, no call, no nothing. TMobile & Vodafone both manage to contact the customer even when abroad for irregular activities and make sure that the charges aren’t ridiculous but Zain doesn’t mind cutting off the customer in the middle of no where.

I can understand Zain saying that they can’t provide the same prices in Europe as Vodafone has, since Vodafone does cover Europe. But even in the Middle East where Zain is based we get charged insane prices, they don’t have agreements across their own networks when it comes to Data. I know that Kuwait’s international phone lines are controlled by the Ministry of Communication so they can’t give us local calling all over the Middle East but at least Data is controlled by the operator, you would think they have a system in place for their Data charges or have packages in place, and they would be able to come to an agreement between STC and Etisalat to provide mutual data services across each of their networks, it is a long process but something that would benefit the customer at the end of the day. But with the way things are now we will always get the short end of the stick.

3G – UK

3GUK

Since I’m going to be in London for a little while I thought it would be best to remain connected through one of the mobile Broadband providers. I wanted to have fast internet coverage where ever I am and most of the companies offer Pay As You Go USB Sticks but not all offer Pay As You Go MicroSims for the iPad. I had five options to work with for Pay As You Go:

  • Vodafone (No iPad)
  • 3
  • O2 (No iPad)
  • Orange
  • Tmobile (No iPad)

I went to several of these companies and went to carephone warehouse to get the best deal. I also wanted to try a few of them because I might not have the best coverage at home. All of them have limited plans of 1 to 3 GB max per plan and you can top it off to increase the limit. ranging from £15 to £35 depending on the plan and type of USB stick. Out of all of them O2, Orange and Tmobile weren’t that good. Vodafone had a good plan but the coverage by my place isn’t too good but when I’m out its really good, but surprisingly the best out of the bunch for the Laptop and the iPad is 3 Network. And one other note, Mobile Broadband Internet in Kuwait is ALOT faster then the UK, but they can have the option of fiber to home but I was surprised how crappy their Mobile Broadband service in the United Kingdom.

Vodafone – Pay As You Go

Vodafone Pay-As-You-Go service has always been very convenient because you can keep those lines for a very long time, but it seems my time is up. I have lost the number and it has gone back into the number rotation. Meaning that the life of my line has come to an end, and it has gone back to the Pay-As-You-Go lottery numbers and anyone can pick it up, and I have had this number for 5 years, since the summer of 2004 and after talking to a UK Vodafone agent I can’t seem to get it back.

When I spoke to them before they said as long as I have credit on the number that it can’t go back to rotation and last I checked was that I had 100 GBP (Pounds) on the card, but after talking to several representative for a while, it seems I didn’t really have an option of getting it back. He said that to keep a line alive I have to use the line once or top it up once every 3 months, and if it gets disconnected I have a total of 9 months to re-activate it and get the line back but I passed that mark making the assumption that I can’t lose it if I had credit on it from another representative. Having a UK line even when roaming Europe is a lot cheaper then using a Zain line on Roaming, something Zain’s charges are always higher and its convenient that your able to top it off using Vodafone cards from other countries using the Euro currency. Now it seems I either have to get another Pay-As-You-Go line or get a subscribers line, I will weigh my options when I’m at the Vodafone store. Just a thought popped into my head, I remember a long time back it was MTC/Vodafone so they can get the red from under Wataniya but I don’t know when the relationship went sour between them.