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Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

Old Oct 20th 2020, 6:57 pm
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Default Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

Hi, is anyone aware of a good way to keep a UK number running while living in the US? Primarily for receiving text messages for authenticating a variety of services including UK banks, government services etc. It would also be nice to keep the number as we may be back in the UK for long periods in the next few years.

I've been here in the US since Coronavirus hit, and cannot go back to the UK until early 2021 (or maybe even mid 2021 depending how long my adjustment of status takes) and my current provider (Three) is about to cut off my access as I've been out of the UK for too long. This is going to play havoc with bank access, filling in personal and business tax returns etc.
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Old Oct 20th 2020, 8:08 pm
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

I'm with 3 too and keep paying my bill. Haven't been back to the UK this year at all and it still works for me.
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Old Oct 20th 2020, 8:44 pm
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

I have kept my Three for the last few years. I just pay cheapest tariff, I think £11 a month
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Old Oct 20th 2020, 9:29 pm
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

Yes, that's what I was hoping. However they texted me yesterday to say as I had spent more than two months outside the UK, they were cutting off my service in 14 days unless I return to the UK. I don't know if this is a new policy, but I contacted them via online chat and on the phone, and they are very firm about cutting me off.
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Old Oct 20th 2020, 9:33 pm
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

Originally Posted by RussWithQuestions View Post
Yes, that's what I was hoping. However they texted me yesterday to say as I had spent more than two months outside the UK, they were cutting off my service in 14 days unless I return to the UK. I don't know if this is a new policy, but I contacted them via online chat and on the phone, and they are very firm about cutting me off.
actually..... I just checked my uk phone (I only look at it occasionally), and I have same text. first time in 2.5 years of being here. maybe its a new thing. thats a shame!
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Old Oct 20th 2020, 9:45 pm
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

Yes, I think it's a new thing (and pretty concerning) - it says "Above the limit of two months" however I have been here for seven months, I think they were not previously checking, and now have their IT bods running some kind of report on people out of the country for an extended time.

Is there anyone successfully using a provider other than Three? I also have the concern that a new SIM may not be able to activate outside of the UK, so I (or my phone) may need to travel back there.
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Old Oct 20th 2020, 10:44 pm
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

If you really want to keep it you could always port it to A&A - https://www.aa.net.uk/voice-and-mobi...obile-porting/

You can then receive texts via email and make/receive calls by using a SIP client.

When I moved here I just ended up abandoning my UK number - Lloyds Bank and HSBC can cope with a US number on file and I believe HMRC can too. I do keep a Vodafone PAYG SIM in my dual SIM iPhone for trips back to the UK though to save paying for Verizon TravelPass.
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Old Oct 20th 2020, 11:30 pm
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

I moved here 8 years ago, I was halfway through a 2 year contract with O2 so I had a chat with them to see what they could do. They agreed to pare down the charges and put me on a plan they offer to the military when they are deployed (it was about £10 p/m at the time), unlock the phone so I could use a US SIM and keep the phone, and after which they would put me on a PAYG tariff and allow me to keep the number (which I'd had since 1996, Felt like a good deal. Since then, I've put the SIM in a spare phone and use it when I'm in the UK, I've also bought a bolt on that allows me to top up in the UK with unlimited data for a month, I'm rarely there that long so it works for me.

No idea if you can still get deals like this but it's worth asking your provider what they can do for you, or switching if they don't offer you anything. (I did once try Vodaphone which led to a nightmare contract scenario that took me 13 months to get out of.)
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 8:35 am
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

I have a UK PAYG sim for banking OTP's and similar. I have to make a call or text at least every 90 days to keep it active. Receiving OTP texts doesn't count, I have to use up some credit. Top up is online.

You can check providers and see if any will post a sim to the US. Or can someone in the UK post it to you?

PS
I've made a quick search, it appears you can buy a sim on Amazon, or worldsim say they will deliver a UK sim worldwide. No-doubt other options exist.

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Old Oct 21st 2020, 8:55 am
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

If all else fails, you could register your US number with the UK banks and service providers. Technically it should work - I have my UK sim registered with my overseas bank accounts and receive OTP's successfully.

Tell the banks it is temporary, and change to a UK number when you visit the UK in early 2021 to avoid the risk of a bank closing your account if they consider you non-UK resident. This policy seems to vary by bank and change over time - some people say they register a UK bank account to an overseas address without a problem, others say the bank closed their account.
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 10:34 am
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

Originally Posted by tdrinker View Post
If all else fails, you could register your US number with the UK banks and service providers. Technically it should work - I have my UK sim registered with my overseas bank accounts and receive OTP's successfully.

Tell the banks it is temporary, and change to a UK number when you visit the UK in early 2021 to avoid the risk of a bank closing your account if they consider you non-UK resident. This policy seems to vary by bank and change over time - some people say they register a UK bank account to an overseas address without a problem, others say the bank closed their account.
My UK bank accounts are registered to my US home address and US phone number. They always contact me on that, never an issue. I think you're right though, it depends on the bank.
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 11:11 am
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

Originally Posted by Shezi59 View Post
I moved here 8 years ago, I was halfway through a 2 year contract with O2 so I had a chat with them to see what they could do. They agreed to pare down the charges and put me on a plan they offer to the military when they are deployed (it was about £10 p/m at the time), unlock the phone so I could use a US SIM and keep the phone, and after which they would put me on a PAYG tariff and allow me to keep the number (which I'd had since 1996, Felt like a good deal. Since then, I've put the SIM in a spare phone and use it when I'm in the UK, I've also bought a bolt on that allows me to top up in the UK with unlimited data for a month, I'm rarely there that long so it works for me.

No idea if you can still get deals like this but it's worth asking your provider what they can do for you, or switching if they don't offer you anything. (I did once try Vodaphone which led to a nightmare contract scenario that took me 13 months to get out of.)
One of my children signed with O2 last year and currently studying in US. All we did was cut back on data allowance, O2 left on free bolt-on features, and current charges are 9 ponds monthly. We didn't get USA SIM, using Whats App is helpful.
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 11:38 am
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

Originally Posted by morpeth View Post
... O2 left on free bolt-on features, and current charges are 9 ponds monthly. We didn't get USA SIM, using Whats App is helpful.
First thing I did when I arrived on these shores was have all my family download WhatsApp - it's saved me a fortune. My mum did ring me on my US network once, soon after my arrival. We had a nice long chat then she put dad on; he made it short, said he didn't want to run up a huge bill for me. I broke it to him gently...
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 3:32 pm
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

I was with VF and ported my number to 3 PAYG 2 years ago.
Top it up with £20 and it is still there... up and running.
No monthly payments or anything like that
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Old Oct 21st 2020, 3:34 pm
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Default Re: Maintaining a UK mobile number while in the US long term

Originally Posted by Shezi59 View Post
My UK bank accounts are registered to my US home address and US phone number. They always contact me on that, never an issue. I think you're right though, it depends on the bank.
Barclays for me has my US details and so far no problems.
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