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Can I Rent a Phone at Heathrow Terminal 5?

Can I rent a phone at Heathrow's Terminal 5? Preferably, an iPhone?

I've done the SIM swap before, and rented a phone at a Vodafone shop in London.

I'm aware of SimLocal and other shops in Terminal 5 that sell SIMs. SimLocal's site displays only a dumbphone for rent. (Their site also doesn't list a SIM for an iPhone SE, which is my current phone. For keep-things-simple reasons, I'd rather rent.)

Posted by
1309 posts

Are you going to put a UK Sim in the rented phone and run your US phone too.
Or swapping your US SIM over.

Posted by
970 posts

I want to rent a phone and buy a short-term coverage package. I don't want to swap a SIM into my U.S. phone. My carrier, ATT, offers an expensive temporary international package that's inadequate. So, I will turn that phone off until I'm back in the U.S.

Posted by
1309 posts

Sent you a PM.
Spoke to a company that does hire phones, but the rates are pretty terrible

Posted by
824 posts

When I looked into renting phones in Europe (both the UK and Italy) I found that the rental phones came with the service so a SIM wasn't required. The downside was the cost. It was much more cost-effective to just purchase a pay-as-you-go SIM for an existing phone. Plus, you have all your own contacts and apps...

If you don't want to use your primary phone while traveling, you might consider purchasing a used "unlocked" phone before leaving. That way, you can get it set up how you like it before leaving and it'll ready to go as soon as you pop a SIM in it.

Posted by
9363 posts

You can also buy a very cheap phone once you arrive. On my last trip, I could have purchased a phone at Vodaphone with 10 euros of service time on it for 10 euros. Even if it wasn't that cheap, the cost of a "burner" phone will be less than renting.

Posted by
8659 posts

I've used the ATT passport plan several times and been pleased. I am assuming that if it will be expensive for you that you generally use a great deal of data, something which I don't. Have you thought about the availability of Wi-Fi? Would it be possible to use your current phone on wifi only and not have a plan at all. You can turn off roaming and data roaming.
If instant access to data related services is important to you, I can see why you would not like the ATT plan.

Posted by
6824 posts

Unlless there's a compelling reason, disconnect while you're on vacation. Use your hotel's wireless to send messages. For me, a text upon arrival letting the children know I arrived is sufficient.

Posted by
102 posts

The best option is to switch to T-Mobile before you go. There is no roaming charge and you use your data plan and your own phone number. You can receive calls at no charge to those who call you from home.

Posted by
3265 posts

I recently looked at T mobile's international plan. It would cost more for my trip than if I bought a cheap phone and plan in Europe. I'm on a tour, as I previously said, so I have no need for a phone anyway.

Posted by
970 posts

As it turns out, I need to be at Paddington early the morning after arrival. Vodafone has a shop there, so I'll get a SIM for my (unlocked) iPhone and a short-term plan. SimLocal in Terminal 5 closes at 10pm, which might be an issue if my arrival is delayed a bit.

(Thanks, Richard, for the kind offer.)

Posted by
9436 posts

I agree with Suzanne about TMobile... my son switched to TMobile before a month trip to Thailand in November and it's the best imo. He wasn't charged anything extra and could use his iPhone there just like he does here. We're going to Paris in 2 days and wish I had TMobile for my phone. I'll be getting a SIM card there for my iPhone.

Posted by
7906 posts

We will be spending four weeks driving in Britain in October and don't want to upgrade our US phone for service overseas.

Not sure what terminal is our arrival terminal, but will be on American Airlines.

Where would we look for a shop to purchase an inexpensive phone? Want a phone just for calling, not a smart phone.

Posted by
1005 posts

@geovagriffith If you just want a phone just for calling, then you should consider an international plan from your US provider. Most of these plans are now reasonably priced, especially if you don't add on data roaming,

Posted by
970 posts

@geovagriffith: You'll probably arrive at Terminal 3. Check your flight info at AA to be sure. The heathrow.com site includes info about shops at each terminal, and other useful info. If you can't find a phone there, and are going into London, you find no shortage of places to buy phones. If your first stop after Heathrow is Paddington Station, Vodafone has the shop there I mentioned earlier. I bought a cheapie flip phone there several years ago.