Carphone Warehouse WebsiteCarphone Warehouse is a main phone retailers in the UK.
They sell p.a.y.g and contract mobile phones and sim cards.
In England (UK) the main mobile phone companies are EE UK WebsiteEE (who currently own T-Mobile and Orange, as well as providing their EE service), O2 UK WebsiteO2, Three UK WebsiteThree and Vodafone UK WebsiteVodafone. And the main companies offering Telephone (Landline), Digital Television and Broadband (E-Mail and Internet) services are TalkTalk UK WebsiteTalkTalk, SKY UK WebsiteSKY, Virgin UK WebsiteVirgin and BT UK WebsiteBT. There are other companies out there such as PlusNet UK WebsitePlusNet (Broadband and Telephone).
With the vast amount of packages, price plans and special offers available it can be confusing which company to sign up with; especially when these companies are always changing their packages, price plans, special offers and more importantly buying each other's companies.
As an example of the just said: The BT Group were considering buying EE in March 2016 (and now they have) and Three were considering buying O2 (but were blocked by the EU), which usually means existing customers are forced to upgrade to the newly merged companies' rebranding policies (i.e. they may be forced to change their existing e-mail account and/or telephone number). Check online the problems caused when TalkTalk bought OneTel and Tiscali. Also check what happened when BT dropped Yahoo.
Usually word of mouth, special offers, overall pricing and online reviews are a help when deciding which company to sign up with, but not always! One thing is for sure though: SKY has always been classed as a very expensive Digital TV provider and BT a very expensive Telephone (Landline) provider, with Virgin and TalkTalk being more known for their flexible packages and price plans that can be broken down into Telephone Only or Broadband Only for example.
The reason I point out the above is because, while at the moment, you have a separate two tier system of Landline, TV and Broadband companies versus Mobile Phone companies, the two are fast becoming one. TalkTalk for example now sell Mobile Phones with their own branded Sim Cards - Original landline (purely Telephone) companies are now buying into the Mobile Phone industry whereby they can offer Landline (Telephone), TV, Broadband (E-mail and Internet) and Mobile Phone services.
It is for the above reasons (scenarios/problems) why it is so important before joining a particular company that you ask them questions. Questions such as "Are you currently in talks to purchase another mobile phone company?" and "Is there a cancellation fee if/when I want to break the contract?". The last thing you want is to join EE now, for example, only to be told later you must upgrade to BT for example; because it was in the Terms & Conditions you signed years ago.
Before choosing a company to sign up with, you should consider the following:
Before you can watch any kind of television channel in England (UK) your household MUST have a valid TV Licensing UK WebsiteTelevision License, which currently costs £147 per year. Pensioners aged 75 years or older are automatically entitled to a free television license (renewable every three years).
To receive a quality television signal, especially for Digital Set-Top Boxes, you should invest in an Exterior Aerial; An Indoor (Interior) Aerial will normally require a signal booster to achieve the same signal strength as an Exterior Aerial.
Broadband Speed varies from 8Mbps up to 18Mbps (standard broadband connection), and up to 200Mbps (fibre optic connection), in the UK; depending on which company you sign up with. In Europe you can get up to 1000Mbps. I would say up to 18Mbps is still okay though, for average use.
Unlimited in the UK does NOT truly mean Unlimited. You have to read the Terms & Conditions of the package you want to sign up for, to know exactly what the word Unlimited means with regards to that company, its packages and broadband speeds.
If the premises you want a broadband telephone line inside does not currently have a broadband telephone line, the company may charge you for a new broadband telephone line to be fitted. EE currently charge EE Charges PDF File£60 for this service.
Before signing up with a company, ask them what happens if you move premises. Ask them if you will be able to keep your existing telephone number (transfer it over to your new premises) and keep your existing contract; with its current package and price plan. For example: If you would be getting free International Calls, make sure that feature can move with you to your new premises.
If you are moving out of a certain borough (district) or region (town) the company might tell you that your existing number does not meet the requirements of your new borough or region (i.e. it uses a different area code).
The minimum length of a contract used to be 12 Months, but these days most companies like you to sign up for 18 Months. The technical detail you need to ask about here is whether or not you can switch to a different company (i.e. a different broadband provider/company) or break the contract. And if so, do you have to pay a cancellation fee for breaking that contract.
Before signing up with a company, ask them what happens if you decide to cancel the contract halfway through it for example. Will you have to pay for the remaining months or will there be a one-off cancellation fee? Also ask them if you would be allowed to keep their equipment (i.e. Mobile Phone, Digital TV Box Set and Broadband Router).
When you have a telephone line (fixed landline) in the UK, you must pay a landline rental fee each month (a bit like a service/maintenance/administrative) charge; normally costing between £12 and £18 per month, depending on the company you sign up with. Many companies now have an offer where if you pay a one-off charge for 12 months of line rental, they will only actually charge you for the equivalent of 10 months. Saving you two months' worth of money (i.e. saving you £56 per year).
In these days of technology and online, the companies like you to pay by Direct Debit (i.e. monthly bank payments) and may charge if you do not set up a direct debit with them. So if you prefer to pay cash for example they might add a £5 charge for the privilege! Furthermore, if you want a paper bill (paper statement), as opposed to an online bill, you might be charged £1 to £2.50 for that privilege, if not £4.50.
When you have considered which company to sign up with, the actual registration (sign up) process is very simple. Using BT as the example for signing up for a landline (fixed telephone line):
You visit their website and enter your postcode and house number, so that an online 'landline speed check' can be performed for the address you entered; If a physical landline (physical cable/box), active or not, exists at that address of course. Once that has been verified, you then select your preferred package with predefined price plans and any extra features (add-ons) you would like to add to that package; such as International Calls and/or Broadband. You then fill in the application form whereby a credit check is performed and bank/payment details are required.
If your application is successful, you will be given a Connection Date (date of landline activation, and date of broadband activation if you chose a broadband service). You will also receive details in the post, giving you the option to cancel your contract within 30 days; without questions/reasons. Your broadband connection (if you chose a broadband service) should be activated at the same time as your landline connection, which is normally done within two weeks, but sometimes the broadband connection is activated a day or so later.
If you are moving into a new property and/or taking over an existing landline and/or broadband service, you might have delays while those transitions are being implemented. And if you need a new landline installed, for whatever reason(s), it will cost you BT New Landline Charge£130. However, it will be a free installation if you sign up for a broadband package as well as a landline package; which is what many people do in the UK these days simply because it works out better/cheaper.
Registering for a monthly mobile phone contract follows roughly the same process as the above landline registration - Just walk into a mobile phone shop (such as Carphone Warehouse UK WebsiteCarphone Warehouse or Three's, O2's or Vodafone's own shop), pick a mobile phone package with a predefined price plan, show them your proof of address and identity (i.e. a driving license and bank statement) and pay for that mobile phone package.
Although many packages include a mobile phone, you can just buy a pay-monthly sim card if you want. Contracts are normally between 12 and 18 months, but can also be 24 months; depending on the service provider. As a rule: The longer the contract, the better the deal. EE and O2 have good price plans at the moment.