The Phone Co-op

free sim card from The Phone Co-op

free sim card from The Phone Co-op

The Phone Co-op is, as the name suggests, a cooperative, although you do not become a member by subscribing, you have to buy shares, therefore in that sense, no difference from buying shares in any company and it is difficult to see how it differs from any shareholding company.

It functions like an open coop, in that it finances community projects.

To become a member, you register and buy shares in units of one pound, minimum shareholding one pound.

Sim cards are free. Rates reasonable, though by no means the best. A virtual network, that buys time on other networks.

A free sim card ordered and inserted in a Galaxy Siii mini. It did not work, whether this was because the sim was faulty or inserted as micro-sim not known. The phone did not recognise that a sim was inserted. It could even be because the sim expires after 30 days (though would expect error message on validating sim).

The Phone Co-op notified. Person who answered, could not answer any queries, suggestred call another day. Suggested phone could be locked. Not the case as phone worked when tried with a different sim (and surely if that was the case it would have given a warning phone locked, not no sim inserted).

A second sim ordered, and arrived within a few days. It was inserted in the phone. Sim recognised, activated by dialling 1250 (has to be activated within 30 days) but not possible to put money on using a credit card (it would not recognise the expiry date).

The Phone Co-op called again. No one has complained of this before. Yes, that is why notifying, so you know you have a problem.

Is it possible to register the card during this call? No. Why not? That is how our system works, you have to use our automated system. Yes, but that does not work.

The Phone Co-op supply Fairphone II. During the call it was noticed delivery had slipped from January to February.  Asked why (no explanation on website), it was stated manufacturing problems (unable to obtain materials).

Fairphone II is a 4G phone. Is their supplied sim card 4G  (it does not say 3G or 4G)? No, and they have no intention in the near future of supplying 4G. When asked why, no response. Thus have an anomaly, they are supplying a 4G phone with a 3G sim. When this was pointed out, would not accept anything wrong, instead suggested purchase the phone elsewhere if not happy, ie direct from Fairphone.

The concept of the Fairphone is good, two sims, 4G, modular, easy to repair, claimed to be future proof, except already dated and the specification poor for the price of the phone ( £395 from The Phone Co-op, 525 euros direct from Fairphone). Connection usb 2 not usb 3, relativly low resolution for the camera, lacks NFC (or appears to lack).

Note: Price of Fairphone II from The Phone Co-op ‘around £395 incl VAT’, a somewhat meaningless statement.

Note: Small print says delivery date an estimate only and price will be confirmed on delivery.

It was suggested buy a phone voucher.

Asked at a main Post Office. No, never heard of. Checked on their system, no, not shown.

They directed to a nearby newsagent that had PayPoint. Lady had never heard of. Checked on her system. Not shown.  Double checked, and managed to find.

A few days later, it was possible to register a card, and add ten pounds. They must have fixed the problem.

Adding money not good, press 1 for ten pounds, 2 for twenty pounds etc. Why not ten for ten pounds etc, as Virgin?

Their website a pig’s ear, poorly designed. Irritating images flashing across (though too many websites have this bad design).



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10 Responses to “The Phone Co-op”

  1. keithpp Says:

    32 GB SDHC card inserted in Galaxy S iii mini. Card recognised, waiting to be formatted.

    Sim card inserted in Galaxy S iii mini. Choice of two networks. Orange or a network never heard of. Chose Orange, comes up as T-mobile.

    Dial 1250 to register card.

    Text received, advising of mobile number, and how to top up and get help.

  2. keithpp Says:

    Charging Galaxy S iii mini from laptop usb port, from 4%

    1 hour —> 49%

    1 hour 30 mins —> 59%

    1 hour 45 mins —> 65%

    2 hours —> 72%

    2 hours 30 mins —> 85%

    2 hours 45 mins —> 93%

    3 hours —> 98%

    3 hours 15 mins —> charged

  3. Peter Coulson Says:

    Good luck with that, check your data usage. Google can chew up your data pretty quickly with their background backups and syncing.

  4. keithpp Says:

    Use wifi, not 3G or 4G.

    Wifi everywhere and free.

    I have no money on the sim.

    The price mobile operators charge for data is extortion.

    And if like Three, so slow as to be unusable.

    Three is only usable early hours of the morning. Problem is their masts cannot carry the capacity.

    To take on new customers when they know this is tantamount to fraud.

    Rather like Vue Farnborough fleecing punters for 3D when they know their screen is faulty.

  5. Peter Coulson Says:

    OK, I have to have data, WiFi isn’t everywhere! Would never use Three, their network is dreadful. Best networks for voice will always be O2 and Vodafone, by physical definition.

  6. Peter Coulson Says:

    …if you have no money on the SIM, you can’t make calls or send texts?

  7. keithpp Says:

    Free wifi is almost everywhere.

    I do not use a phone for data, I use a Google Nexus 7 (2012 edition).

    Phone for phone calls.

    And even then, international calls, use skype.

    Lack of wifi, connect laptop through phone (but expensive)

    Vodafone is crap, plus they dodge tax.

    But I agree Three crap, both the piss-poor network and the trained monkeys in India that read from a script, and have not a clue what they are talking about (and that is when they are capable of speaking coherent English).

    Correct cannot send texts or make calls if no money on sim, but sim only inserted yesterday, and have two other phones on different networks.

    All networks con people into expensive contracts. It is far cheaper to buy an unlocked phone and use a pay-as-you go sim from a third party virtual network.

  8. keithpp Says:

    The Phone Co-op appalling service

  9. John Dugeen (@Dugeen) Says:

    The Phone Co-op are well-meaning but they don’t have a clue what they’re doing. If they arrange an engineer for 3 days from now, he’ll turn up tomorrow or maybe next week. If they promise to have your broadband ported by September 30th, it’ll be working by December 30th if you’re lucky. If they promise to email you when your mobile phone is about to be despatched, the email will arrive a week after the phone if it arrives at all. And if they promise you big savings by switching to their unlimited broadband, you’re guaranteed a sheepish email a week later saying you’re too far from the exchange. If you want chaotically bad, laughably poor comms then the Phone C-op is the place to get them from.

  10. keithpp Says:

    The Phone Co-op are well-meaning but they don’t have a clue what they’re doing.

    Yes, sadly that sums them up.


    They give co-ops a bad name.

    I have a sim card.

    Their rates are not competitive, far from it.

    If a buy data, expensive, if it runs out, cannot top up until the end of the period.

    Now who has ever heard of a company refusing your money?

    If I call them about a problem they have caused.

    I am the one who has to pay.

    Putting credit on my phone is a nightmare.

    They really need to get their act together.

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