Lovely to see you again, you Weekend Warriors who are moving to London! Last week I suggested you familiarize yourself with your nation’s embassy in London to be sure you know where to go/who to contact/etc. Today, I’ll briefly address another UK-factor you can be looking into prior to your London move as well: phone providers.
I’ve discussed previously how internet calling services like Skype are probably the cheapest way to call long-distance (Skype calls are free to other Skype users!), as well as how mobile phones (cell phones) offer flexibility in service packages for your physical phone—i.e., thanks to the phones not being locked to one provider as they are in the States, interchangeable SIM cards make that one less unnecessary expense (and provider service contracts can be at least six months shorter than their U.S. counterparts). Where mobile phones go, first check to determine whether your current mobile (cell) phone provider does offer services in the UK. Some carriers have a sister company that could make for a seamless transition. Four major mobile phone operators in the UK are Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2, and Orange, and I highly recommend Carphone Warehouse for comparing your options and making the purchase.
A lot of expats relocating to London are only doing so for the short-term, so often bypass a landline phone altogether in favor of saving money on just the mobile. It also simplifies the impending move by having one less utility to think about transferring if moving within London or canceling if leaving the country. Nonetheless, the reliability of a landline phone as at least back-up can give peace of mind, and all the major UK TV subscription services like Sky, Virgin Media, and British Telecom (BT) offer cable, internet, and phone bundles that can save you money on calls. Five major landline phone operators in the UK are Virgin, BT, TalkTalk, Vonage, and Primus, and sites like HomePhoneChoices and uSwitch can help you make the comparison to find your best option.
Calling patterns vary by the individual, so it’s up to you to research your options and see which calling packages best match your needs at the best price. I do hope, though, that the resources offered here point you in the right direction to save you some time as you make the most of your Warrior Weekend and prepare efficiently and productively for that London move!