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Two nasty surprises with mobile providers

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Los Angeles...
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Two nasty surprises with mobile providers

I had two nasty surprises on our Edinburgh Fringe visit with UK mobile service providers that I wanted to share with other visitors from the USA. Briefly, don't trust what the vendor "3" (Three) says and be aware that calls using the vendor "MaxRoam" take one to five minutes to connect. The details follow.

The company "3" (Three) lied to me. I needed to have a "Personal Hotspot" to provide Wifi so we could use our older iPhones for Internet and apps even though they lack Europe-compatible mobile chips. Then we could use apps like Edinbus to see bus stops, routes, and arrival times and use Skype for phone calls. We planned to carry our new iPad, which has a Personal Hotspot built in, and which "3" advertises they support. But the Hotspot didn't work when we put in our "3" SIM. The manager at "3" on Princes Street finally fessed up--only customers with contracts get the Personal Hotspot! (Visitors can't get contracts.) Even just using the iPad directly, "3" gave no signal at several Fringe venues along George Street. Please learn from our experience with this untrustworthy provider.

MaxRoam at least works--eventually. I wanted SIMs for our older, "dumb" Euro mobiles as backup in case we had a problem with the iPhones (as we in fact did). We had used the provider "Orange" with complete satisfaction in 2008, but this time we needed phones that worked the moment we arrived, so I bought MaxRoam SIMs from the US. Unfortunately, every time you place a call using MaxRoam, there is a one to five minute delay while the phone searches for a VodaFone roaming connection in Edinburgh! On our next visit we will go back to Orange.

Whangarei, New...
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1. Re: Two nasty surprises with mobile providers

Had you left the Office at home, perhaps you may have had time to impart some positive feedback of your trip to Scotland that may be of interest ?

UK
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2. Re: Two nasty surprises with mobile providers

Are you always this dramatic? - "nasty", lied" , "fessed up", "surprises" ...

You couldn't get mobile signal, misunderstood a Three advert. Both of which meant you couldn't see when the next bus would come, or make a Skype phone call from a specific location? And that's it??

Maybe next year, turn this whole awful life-affecting crisis into a play for the Fringe?

(and FWIW you could just have bought a phone for £10-£15 and called home at 2p a minute, hardly worth the hassle of hotspots and skype)

Edinburgh, Scotland
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3. Re: Two nasty surprises with mobile providers

Almost every bus stop in Edinburgh, and probably every bus stop in central Edinburgh, is fitted with a display providing exactly the same information as the bustracker app, And there's free wi-fi in just about every corner coffee shop. So you didn't even need a mobile signal.

You must have looked really hard just to find something to complain about. Or is this some kind of fringe comedy stunt - I don't understand half their "jokes".

Edinburgh
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4. Re: Two nasty surprises with mobile providers

Agree bus stops are fitted with bus tracker and it works. What a lot of fuss bout nothing buy a cheap mobile next time and lighten up

United Kingdom
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5. Re: Two nasty surprises with mobile providers

Hi, Most hotel lobbies, B&Bs and very many cafes, restaurants, pubs and libraries in Edinburgh have free wifi. Heck there are even buses in Scotland that have free wifi. It's not hard to find free wifi in Edinburgh or cheap and cheerful cellphones to phone or text the folks at home without breaking the bank. Worth bearing in mind for next visit.

Edinburgh, United...
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6. Re: Two nasty surprises with mobile providers

Hi Lee,

I'm sorry you experienced these frustrations on your trip to Edinburgh, and thank you for taking the time to share your grievances with other travellers.

I feel it is a shame you have been met with a generally negative tone in the responses here - Not showing the Scotland forum in its best light, unfortunately.

As others have rightly pointed out, there are a number of ways of accessing wifi for free in public, but you may have reasons why a public wifi connection would not meet your needs (security, perhaps).

There are often threads on here from American visitors regarding cell phones in the UK - we have very different networks and phone plans compared to the USA. Perhaps an important point here is to spend some time researching the ins and outs of contracts, networks, fees and charges before a trip where you will be relying on connectivity.

Of note also, the networks 3 and Orange have reasonable coverage in Edinburgh and the 'central belt' of Scotland, but they are very poor in the Highlands and Islands, and would not be a good option for visitors planning to travel around the country.

Lee, I hope the responses you've received here don't put you off coming back and telling us a little more about your trip to Edinburgh and the Fringe.

Abs :)

Edited: 02 September 2012, 16:02
Essex
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7. Re: Two nasty surprises with mobile providers

Yes, Lee, annoying for sure.

However, Abs, Leebythesea says he has been to Edinburgh for the fringe for 4 years running, you would think he might have noticed a few things by now, eh? Especially the bus stops!

Also, he has never been on the forum to ask about options for 'phone and wi-fi, but only to moan that things went wrong.

Lee - there are many peeps here who would have helped you, well in advance of your travels if only you had asked.

Lincoln, United...
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8. Re: Two nasty surprises with mobile providers

Abs140

Hi Lee,

I'm sorry you experienced these frustrations on your trip to Edinburgh, and thank you for taking the time to share your grievances with other travellers.

I feel it is a shame you have been met with a generally negative tone in the responses here

-----------------

Couldn't agree more. What is the point of having a forum if everyone is always as nice as pie. Yes, the OP should have done more homework but to object that they even posted, seriously undermines the whole purpose of a forum.

As for using Three, not a totally bad company but not one that I would use again after my experience with them.

Ontario's Near...
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9. Re: Two nasty surprises with mobile providers

I do not understand these TA posters who seem to think they own the forums and heaven help someone who posts something they deem not worthy !! TA is exactly for the type of posts that this poster out on , it is information sharing and I for one appreciate the sharing !

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10. Re: Two nasty surprises with mobile providers

TA is exactly for the type of posts that this poster out on , it is information sharing and I for one appreciate the sharing !

======

"Information" distributed in a hysterical tone with ridiculous accusations? Well so you say so.

As to those posters you decry, you might note they provided several ways as to how the OP could have achieved their aims at less cost, indeed no cost in some cases.