UKC

Are SIM cards too easy to buy in the UK

New Topic
This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
 Uncle Derek 22 Sep 2022

As part of my planning of a trip to India, I have been looking into buying and Indian SIM on arrival, which appears to be a lot trickier than it used to be.
From what I can understand, to buy a SIM you need to be identifiable, and the easiest way is with an Aadhaar card, but basically the government want to know who you are and where you live.
This is a bit of a pain as a tourist, however from what I understand "burner" phones are involved in a lot of crime in the UK and are ubiquitous in prisons.
Are we striking the right balance in the UK, where for, a few pounds one can be up and running with a mobile phone which is very difficult to trace back to a particular person?

24
 elsewhere 22 Sep 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

Is there evidence that criminals in India lack burner phones?

OP Uncle Derek 22 Sep 2022
In reply to elsewhere:

> Is there evidence that criminals in India lack burner phones?

I have not looked TBH, but there is  evidence* that criminals have easy access to them in the UK, and that they are a problem. Hence my question about balance.

Possibly you will come up with some evidence.

*An acquaintance of mine, a Deputy Governor of a prison told me so.

10
 elsewhere 22 Sep 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

I have no evidence in favour of Indian law. I can think of ways to bypass a requirement for ID and I don't even have a criminal mind.

  • mug people for phone
  • "mug" people for phone
  • retailer "accidentally" failing to recognise fake ID 
  • send a kid in to buy a hundred sims
Post edited at 08:35
4
OP Uncle Derek 22 Sep 2022
In reply to elsewhere:

> I have no evidence in favour of Indian law. I can think of ways to bypass a requirement for ID and I don't even have a criminal mind.

> mug people for phone

> "mug" people for phone

> retailer "accidentally" failing to recognise fake ID 

> send a kid in to buy a hundred sims

Mugging is not as easy as nipping into Tesco with a Tenner.

A retailer would get caught eventually, and if a phone they had sold was involved in a crime would possibly end up in prison.

Why would the vendor sell 100 SIMs to a Child without ID.

I think you are having a Knee Jerk reaction to what you see as possible erosion of your rights, possibly to privacy ¯_(ツ)_/¯ .



 

13
 Jenny C 22 Sep 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

Look at Lebara mobile in the UK. 

It's a monthly pre pay sim (starts at £5/month), and was originally set up to enable cheap calls "home" for those who had emigrated to the UK. Pretty sure their international roaming covers India, so would allow you to just use your UK SIM card whilst out there.

 montyjohn 22 Sep 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

I remember it being tricky to buy a SIM when I lived in Bangalore for a stint. I remember complaining to a local colleague there, and he showed me a shop, about 2 minutes from our office where you can buy one no questions asked.

I ended up doing this as it was cheap and instant.

I was plagued with spam text messages however which drove me mad.

So I suspect the extra hassle of getting a sim does nothing to reduce crime.

OP Uncle Derek 22 Sep 2022
In reply to Jenny C:

That is really helpful, thank you very much. I shall look into it this.

 elsewhere 22 Sep 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

> Mugging is not as easy as nipping into Tesco with a Tenner.

Don't forget pretend "mugging".

> A retailer would get caught eventually, and if a phone they had sold was involved in a crime would possibly end up in prison.

Really?

> Why would the vendor sell 100 SIMs to a Child without ID.

Money. I'd assume the kid would have ID as plenty have that.

Post edited at 09:23
4
 yorkshire_lad2 22 Sep 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

If your phone is a newer model that will take an eSIM, that may be worth considering.  If you want to try that route, I would suggest something like https://www.airalo.com/ (their customer service was good, although I didn't manage to get the eSIM to work, my misunderstanding though), and also purchase before you leave home.

OP Uncle Derek 22 Sep 2022
In reply to montyjohn:

Thank you, that is interesting. Plan A is to buy one at the Airport if possible, they are more used to overseas purchasers, and I will try and have all my documents in order. 
 

I guess if I ask in the hotel, they may have some ideas.

Failing that I may ask a child to go and get me one, but the word on the street is that children only buy SIM cards by the 100, as it looks less suspicious.

 john arran 22 Sep 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

I've done contracts in many countries and restrictions on SIM purchase have gradually become more and more common over the years. In some countries I've literally been handed a free SIM card no questions asked at the airport from a phone company touting for new business. Nowadays the norm is for any new SIM card to be registered with the ID/passport of the buyer. I'm sure there still will be opportunities for ne'er-do-wells to get hold of SIM cards anonymously, but I'm equally certain types of petty crime will have been made more difficult due to the added hurdle of getting hold of anonymous SIM cards.

Not sure what the situation is in the UK, but given the UK's almost pathological aversion to any kind of citizen identification scheme I wouldn't have thought it would be too hard to get hold of a SIM without giving genuine ID and address details that can be verified in any coordinated way.

 Jenny C 22 Sep 2022
In reply to john arran:

Changed providors in January. Applied online and was asked for name and contact details, but no checks or request for ID.

In reply to john arran:

Last I read the UK never enacted the then proposed legislation (back in 2019?) to ID check Payg sims.

 Jenny C 22 Sep 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

Make sure your handset is unlocked before you travel. 

OP Uncle Derek 22 Sep 2022
In reply to Jenny C:

> Make sure your handset is unlocked before you travel. 

Got that covered thanks.

From what the Pieman says, it sounds like ID checks are on the cards.

 

 freeflyer 22 Sep 2022
In reply to Uncle Derek:

Also make sure that if you go with a UK SIM, that your payment plan covers roaming abroad. I've lost count of the times I've lent my phone to other group members while they sorted that out with their UK provider.

Last time I was in India (I think 2018) it had just become impossible to get the SIM at the airport, however we found a Mr Fixit who got us the necessary SIMs and met us at the airport with them. Possibly your hotel or wherever could help - definitely worth a call before you travel.

An Indian SIM is highly preferable imo, and coverage appears to be everywhere that I've been, even in the mountain. You can picture the scene - shepherds, fire, unnameable boiling brown liquid,  goats, doggies, stars, chapatti, young Indian helpers all on the phone to their girlfriends.

ff


New Topic
This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Loading Notifications...