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Help please! Can you set up SIM card in US before going to England?

So....my husband had to get a SIM card before our trip and is trying to set it up in the US on his own. Is this even possible? Yes, we have Verizon, but our phones are unlocked, but something isn't working right. He purchased a Vodafone pay as you go SIM card. I did a search and couldn't find anything relating to this problem. I'd appreciate any input!

Edited to ad- Going to Scotland and England only

Posted by
1384 posts

Yes, I recently activated a Vodafone UK Pay As You Go SIM in my Android phone and added 5 GBP credit to it. I received a freetext from Vodafone saying that it is activated. I'll be taking it to Europe next month to confirm that it actually works.

Posted by
1384 posts

Is your SIM from Vodafone UK?

You may need to manually enter the Vodafone network settings in your phone for the PAYG SIM. I found these instructions to be very helpful:
https://lowdown.carphonewarehouse.com/how-to/how-to-manually-enter-vodafone-apn-settings/39805/

Then you'll need to follow the instructions for your phone model to select a network for your phone/SIM to use in the US:
General device lookup: https://deviceguides.vodafone.co.uk/

The instructions for my device were near-perfect and at the end, since I'm also a Verizon customer, I chose Verizon.

Have you done both of those steps? Where are you getting stuck? I'm not an expert at this, but I've tried to take good notes as I've gone through the process and may be able to help.

Posted by
23 posts

He can't seem to receive texts from Vodafone. I think he's just going to have to break down and call them. But now that we know setting it up in US is possible, that is a step in the right direction! Thank you

And yes, Vodafone UK.

Posted by
4684 posts

If he has the Vodafone SIM in place in the Verizon phone, he needs to enable roaming as well as mobile data. (Text messages may not work without data enabled.) Make sure the phone is on WiFi to avoid possible data use (I think that SIM comes with no credit, though, so probably no risk of using any data.) And then he'll need to roam onto either the T-Mobile network (probably) or the AT&T network. There is no Vodafone network in the US. He may manually need to register on one of those networks if not chosen automatically.

Posted by
14 posts

I have also ordered the Vodaphone UK SIM. This discussion has been informative. Has anyone been able to use the Vodaphone app in the States?

Posted by
4777 posts

You may need to discuss with Verizon as well, even though the phone is "unlocked" the settings may not allow a non-Verizon SIM card or you may need to go into the settings to add an APN for the SIM card.

I would start with Verizon, then if still no resolution, go to Vodaphone. I prefer to wait and get a SIM there, from an actual store (like CarPhone Warehouse) where they can do the set-up and verify it is working before I leave the store.

Posted by
4684 posts

If the phone is unlocked, then Verizon had nothing to do with it. Unless the phone is really new - bought within the last 60 days - then it is unlocked. No reason to call Verizon - why would they help you use a Vodafone SIM, anyway?

Posted by
1384 posts

Has anyone been able to use the Vodaphone app in the States?

Vodaphone UK will not allow you to use a US-based Google account to download their Vodafone UK app. I've read of others having success setting up a Google account with a UK address and being able to download the Vodafone UK app from the US.

Vodafone UK Account
I was able to create a Vodafone UK account and can use it to check my credit balance. It will not allow me to us my US credit card and address to add credit through the account, but I can check my balance. Also, the login process sends a freetext to the Vodafone UK SIM to confirm identity. You have to take that phone out of airplane mode momentarily to receive the code. They allow you to provide an alternate phone number to receive the text - but not a US phone number.

TOP-UP THE SIM (ADD CREDIT)
This site requires a UK address and credit card to top-up (add credit):
https://topup.vodafone.co.uk/topup

I was able to top-up (add credit) through this site using the PayPal option and my US credit card:
https://freesim.vodafone.co.uk/topup/

Two things I still need to confirm:
1) Big Value Bundles - just before I leave on my trip I want to use my credit to buy one of their 30 day Big Value Bundles
2) Use it in Europe! (I'm optimistic since I'm receiving texts from Vodafone UK)

Posted by
1384 posts

Rocket, thanks for that info for online chat support. Have you used your Vodafone UK SIM in Europe? Did you purchase a Big Value Bundle or do you use their Pay As You Go plan?

Posted by
1026 posts

CWsocial,

Yes I’ve used Vodafone UK in London as well as in some of their roaming countries in Europe. It’s worked fine for me and they have service in Switzerland too. I get the SIM when I get to London as I’ve never found a good way to activate one here.

In terms of plans I get a big value bundle. One of the smaller ones for short trips or a medium sized one for longer ones.

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you for all the help! We are on different work schedules, so I'm not sure on the status of the phone. We live in a rural area, and I'm not even sure we can get TMobile where we are at, and AT&T is sketchy so that may be part of the problem. I think I'm waiting until I get there to do my phone after all of this :)

Posted by
4777 posts

If the phone is unlocked, then Verizon had nothing to do with it

Verizon for years sold their phones and plans as "unlocked" phones, realizing that people may want to change SIMS, maybe for something like International travel. Likely the OP still has a Verizon plan advertising an unlocked plan, not a phone off-plan that was then unlocked.

As an example, a couple years ago my Son took his Verizon Android phone to Germany, having a Verizon plan, and was told by Verizon that he could insert a German SIM, no problem. We get there, my unlocked/no plan phone took the SIM just fine, his Verizon phone did not. After about a half hour in a Vodaphone store to try to fix, it took a call to Verizon in the US to point out the settings needing changing to allow a non-Verizon SIM to work, the Vodaphone tech knew right away what was going on then and changed it, everything was fine. At the end of the trip, pop the Verizon SIM back in, no problem.

Posted by
4684 posts

Verizon for years sold their phones and plans as "unlocked" phones, realizing that people may want to change SIMS, maybe for something like International travel. Likely the OP still has a Verizon plan advertising an unlocked plan, not a phone off-plan that was then unlocked.

That wasn't why they sold their phones unlocked. They were required to do that as part of an agreement with the FCC, when they licensed their LTE bandwidth. To get some part of it, they had to unlock their phones. (Recently they've gotten that changed to be locked for 60 days after sold.)

As an example, a couple years ago my Son took his Verizon Android phone to Germany, having a Verizon plan, and was told by Verizon that he could insert a German SIM, no problem. We get there, my unlocked/no plan phone took the SIM just fine, his Verizon phone did not. After about a half hour in a Vodaphone store to try to fix, it took a call to Verizon in the US to point out the settings needing changing to allow a non-Verizon SIM to work, the Vodaphone tech knew right away what was going on then and changed it, everything was fine. At the end of the trip, pop the Verizon SIM back in, no problem.

Right - and that had nothing to do with Verizon. It was a setting to change in his phone. You didn't need Verizon's help to change it - they might not have known what to tell you to change, anyway.

Posted by
1384 posts

Rocket, thanks for that confirmation. This is my first time getting a SIM for Europe. I'm glad to hear the Vodafone UK SIMs have worked for you. Regarding activation in the US, I had read that people had trouble with that. It did take a few steps, but once followed the SIM activated just fine. If you're traveling to the UK, it's undoubtedly just as easy to buy and activate it there.

Posted by
1384 posts

This is an update that I was successfully able to do two things (from the US) with my (previously US activated) Vodafone UK SIM:

ADD CREDIT
Using this link I paid via PayPal, which allows me to use my US credit card on the back end:
https://www.vodafone.co.uk/my-vodafone-account/pay-as-you-go-top-up/top-up-online#paypal

When you select your VISA payment option, beware of PayPal's DCC. To pay in GBP:
Click on "currency options"
Choose "Currency for this purchase" as GBP
Gives you the dreaded fear message:
"your card issuer will determine the currency conversion rate and what fees they may charge …."

Payment PayPal shows as £5 from Vesta Payment Solutions UK Limited.

With the credit added to my SIM, I was then able to Purchase a BIG VALUE BUNDLE

If you're in Europe, you can use credit to purchase a bundle via text; in the US it would have used my data plan. So I did it by logging into MyVodafone UK account online:

  • Click on Big Value Bundles Pay as you go 1
  • Click on Big Value Bundles tab (if necessary)
  • Choose from the different sized bundled plans
  • Choose Pay with Balance (if you h ave credit) else Pay With Card (may require a UK credit card, I didn't try it)

Received this confirmation:
You've added a £10 Big Value Bundle to your mobile number.

The plan I purchased was £10 and gives within EU:
6 GB data (UK residents) / 3 GB (non-UK residents)
Unlimited - texts
250 - minutes

The only thing left to do is see if it works when I arrive in Germany in a few days. I will report back!

Posted by
1384 posts

The Vodafone UK SIM is working in Germany!

And it seems I have the full 6GB, despite some mentions of that "double your data" deal being only for UK residents.

Posted by
1 posts

Isn't it just easier to get this on arrival at the airport? I've done this in Spain and they're pretty helpful in setting all this up.