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Cheapest provider for apple watch cellular?

tommydog

Regular Member
I am thinking of buying the Apple Watch SE GPS + Cellular to use as an emergency call device when sea swimming alone. But how does the esim work and does anyone know the cheapest way of going about this? These are the current plans I have:

1) Giffgaff £20 Golden goddybag SIM pay as you go monthly – permanently installed in a MikroTik RBLHGR&R11e-LTE6 dish outside. I use this for all my internet at home (I don’t have a land line and the 100gb per month allowance suits me). Although it has unlimited calls, I don’t use any of the calling plan as it is permanently installed in the MikroTik dish

2) Smarty Sim £6 pay as you go monthly. This has unlimited calls and 4GB of data. This is in my phone which I use for all my calls and very infrequent data use (4GB more than does me for the month).

3) I have a vodaphone pay as you go sim card which has zero credit on it. I simply use it to receive calls on a spare phone I have.

I don’t think I can add the Apple watch to any of my current plans? Therefore what is the best way of going about things? As I say I would only ever use the watch to call emergency services when swimming, or to call family in a real emergency. Data / call usage would be almost zero unless there is an emergency. I would even consider other cellular watches other than Apple, if cellular connection would be cheaper, however the Apple devices is reported to have decent GPS tracking in the water and has decent waterproofing.

Any idea of the best way of going about this?
 
Last edited:

CarlO1460

Top Member
I am thinking of buying the Apple Watch SE GPS + Cellular to use as an emergency call device when sea swimming alone. But how does the esim work and does anyone know the cheapest way of going about this? These are the current plans I have:

1) Giffgaff £20 Golden goddybag SIM pay as you go monthly – permanently installed in a MikroTik RBLHGR&R11e-LTE6 dish outside. I use this for all my internet at home (I don’t have a land line and the 100gb per month allowance suits me). Although it has unlimited calls, I don’t use any of the calling plan as it is permanently installed in the MikroTik dish

2) Smarty Sim £6 pay as you go monthly. This has unlimited calls and 4GB of data. This is in my phone which I use for all my calls and very infrequent data use (4GB more than does me for the month).

I don’t think I can add the Apple watch to any of my current plans? Therefore what is the best way of going about things? As I say I would only ever use the watch to call emergency services when swimming, or to call family in a real emergency. Data / call usage would be almost zero unless there is an emergency. I would even consider other cellular watches other than Apple, if cellular connection would be cheaper, however the Apple devices is reported to have decent GPS tracking in the water and has decent waterproofing.

Any idea of the best way of going about this?
Cellular only works with the main providers so EE/O2/Vodafone, as far as I’m aware, only they deal esim offers, you can’t buy just the watch or plan from them as I’ve recently been looking, and just purchased non cellular series 6 44mm off Apple directly.

I don’t think they will sell you a plan without having an Apple device through them either. Three have pulled their esim offering for the moment.
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
Cellular only works with the main providers so EE/O2/Vodafone, as far as I’m aware, only they deal esim offers, you can’t buy just the watch or plan from them as I’ve recently been looking, and just purchased non cellular series 6 44mm off Apple directly.

I don’t think they will sell you a plan without having an Apple device through them either. Three have pulled their esim offering for the moment.
I got a Vodafone pay and go esim from eBay. It's a bit riskey doing it that way but it worked for me. Don't get an Apple watch, get a Samsung watch as they last a lot longer and are MUCH comfier on the wrist.
 

tommydog

Regular Member
I don’t think they will sell you a plan without having an Apple device through them either. Three have pulled their esim offering for the moment.

To be fair I don't even have an iphone and was just going to buy a cheap iphone 6s from ebay to set the watch up. I suppose I could still do that and then buy the watch from the provider? But then again, I would just prefer to buy the watch outright up front, unless it somehow worked out much cheaper on contract?

Secondly, I wonder if a European or international provider would be an option just for a call plan? Don't care about call charges / data chargers etc as it would only be for emergencies.

Thirdly, what do people think of this idea - I could buy the apple watch from Amazon and then take out an iphone contract with a network provider. This would then allow the provider to setup the esim on the watch. Once the esim is setup on the watch, I could then cancel the iphone contract within 14 days and return the phone. I believe consumers have the right to cancel a mobile phone contract within the 14 day cooling off period.

Not sure what other options I have?
 

tommydog

Regular Member
I got a Vodafone pay and go esim from eBay. It's a bit riskey doing it that way but it worked for me. Don't get an Apple watch, get a Samsung watch as they last a lot longer and are MUCH comfier on the wrist.

Not sure about the Samsung watch lasting longer, as I have know 2 people ruin Samsung watches in the sea.

How do you go about getting a vodaphone esim off ebay? I already have a vodaphone pay as you go sim, but it's not an esim. Why is it risky from Ebay? I can't even see any vodaphone esim's for sale on ebay?
 

CarlO1460

Top Member
To be fair I don't even have an iphone and was just going to buy a cheap iphone 6s from ebay to set the watch up. I suppose I could still do that and then buy the watch from the provider? But then again, I would just prefer to buy the watch outright up front, unless it somehow worked out much cheaper on contract?

Secondly, I wonder if a European or international provider would be an option just for a call plan? Don't care about call charges / data chargers etc as it would only be for emergencies.

Thirdly, what do people think of this idea - I could buy the apple watch from Amazon and then take out an iphone contract with a network provider. This would then allow the provider to setup the esim on the watch. Once the esim is setup on the watch, I could then cancel the iphone contract within 14 days and return the phone. I believe consumers have the right to cancel a mobile phone contract within the 14 day cooling off period.

Not sure what other options I have?
Purely a waste of a credit check doing it that way.

As mentioned in another post, maybe look at alternative watches as it may be easier to set those up, especially if you already have android then maybe a Samsung active etc might work better for you.
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member
You just cant use an Apple Watch without an iPhone, what android are you using? If Samsung your better off with a Samsung smart watch. One of my cousins have the galaxy watch S3 and go swimming and canoeing with it regularly and it still works. Here’s the link to the Vodafone pay and go esim I ordered.
 

Bubblesthefish6

ULTIMATE Member

The Wee Bear

ULTIMATE Member
Virgin mobile now offer esims tommydog, you have the choice of a normal physical sim or an esim when you sign up.

Cheapest they do at the moment on sim only is 4GB for £7

Bear in mind it's a 12 month contract and uses the Vodafone network.

Just letting you know in case you have your heart set on an esim. :giggle:

Virgin Mobile
 

tommydog

Regular Member
You just cant use an Apple Watch without an iPhone
You only need an iPhone to setup the device for the first time (a cheap old iphone off Ebay will suffice). If you get the cellular version of the Apple Watch it 100% works to make calls without an iPhone. The native Workout app also works on the Apple Watch to track open water swimming in real time without the need for an iPhone.
 

tommydog

Regular Member
Virgin mobile now offer esims tommydog, you have the choice of a normal physical sim or an esim when you sign up.

Cheapest they do at the moment on sim only is 4GB for £7

Bear in mind it's a 12 month contract and uses the Vodafone network.

Thanks for that, £7 is fine on a 12 month contract, but does that plan support the Apple watch? It does not say on their website that it does? If I signed up for the Virgin £7 12 month contract, how would I go about allocating the esim to the apple watch?
 

tommydog

Regular Member
If you buy something like this from amazon
https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08ZVBJKZZ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glc_fabc_1PNEH3Q9SV4W0CBSNA0G
Then buy the aforementioned Esim you would have a functioning watch with no contract and a sim which you only need to top up from time to time.

I have read a few reviews on the Samsung watch and it's really not as good as the Apple watch in terms of GPS accuracy and waterproofing (my swims are a few hours at a time in the sea). Actually the Garmin swim 2 beats all of them for GPS accuracy, but it does not have a cellular connection. For me a cellular connection is very important for emergency use. I also like the implementation of emergency calling on the Apple watch. I am definitely not an Apple fan boy, but I really like the watch.
 

TTJJ

ULTIMATE Member
If it’s just for emergencies, being a cellular device, wouldn’t calls to emergency services just work without a SIM plan or even any connected network?
 

The Wee Bear

ULTIMATE Member
Thanks for that, £7 is fine on a 12 month contract, but does that plan support the Apple watch? It does not say on their website that it does? If I signed up for the Virgin £7 12 month contract, how would I go about allocating the esim to the apple watch?
Sorry, not sure about the process for apple watches tommydog.
I believe you have to download a profile for a particular device once you have your esim number.

Virgin Mobile have only offered esims over the last couple of weeks as I first spotted it in my account settings.

Theres a section in there if you want to change to an esim or back to your physical sim.

Screenshot_20210712-071947.jpg
 

grabaar

Casual Member
You can get it quite cheap on O2. There’s currently a 12 month 12gb 5G with unlimited calls/texts for £8/month on uswitch. If I remember correctly, adding an Airtime eSim for an Apple Watch costs £5/month so you would be looking at approx £13/month total. Adding the eSim was easy as you add a data plan from the iPhone Watch app.
 

vcommsmind

Top Member
Secondly, I wonder if a European or international provider would be an option just for a call plan? Don't care about call charges / data chargers etc as it would only be for emergencies.
The only thing supported for "roaming" use which is what you'd be doing is emergency calls (eg 999/911 etc) - and that's also only a feature on more recent Apple Watches, so a non starter.
 

vcommsmind

Top Member
You only need an iPhone to setup the device for the first time (a cheap old iphone off Ebay will suffice). If you get the cellular version of the Apple Watch it 100% works to make calls without an iPhone. The native Workout app also works on the Apple Watch to track open water swimming in real time without the need for an iPhone.
All true, but if you use the workout functions and have 4G enabled at the same time, the battery will not last very long (if the workout uses GPS, with those features too, you can expect an hour to an hour and a half from fully charged to flat - the combination absolutely rinses the battery).
 

tommydog

Regular Member
you can expect an hour to an hour and a half from fully charged to flat - the combination absolutely rinses the battery).

90 minutes will not do me, as some of my open water swims are longer than 3 hours. Can the 4G not be turned off and then activated automatically when using the emergency SOS function? I thought emergency SOS would automatically activate the 4G connection, even if 4G is turned off?
 
Last edited:

vcommsmind

Top Member
90 minutes will not do me, as some of my open water swims are longer than 3 hours. Can the 4G not be turned off and then activated automatically when using the emergency SOS function? I thought emergency SOS would automatically activate the 4G connection, even if 4G is turned off?

That's actually a good question, I don't know the answer, and I'm not sure I can easily test that - I couldn't find anything suggesting Apple will force it on for those scenarios, but it would equally make sense if they did. Either way, yes, you can turn the 4G off to improve battery life.

Apple claims you can get up to 6 hours with 4G and GPS etc but that has not been my experience. I can run the watch on 4G for several hours, not actively using the 4G. I can use the watch for a workout with GPS for more like 3-4 hours, but once you combine both it hurts. The strength of the 4G signal will hugely impact this too but the watch also has a much weaker antenna setup (although very respectable for the size of device) than the iPhone so you get into issues far faster too.
 

tommydog

Regular Member
You can get it quite cheap on O2. There’s currently a 12 month 12gb 5G with unlimited calls/texts for £8/month on uswitch. If I remember correctly, adding an Airtime eSim for an Apple Watch costs £5/month so you would be looking at approx £13/month total. Adding the eSim was easy as you add a data plan from the iPhone Watch app.

If I went for that deal, my thinking is that once the esim has been provisioned and the 12 month contract is up, could I not request a PAC code and transfer to any network plan, even if they don't offer Esim initial provisioning? I would be thinking about something like Vodaphone Pay As You Go 1. I could then load it up with credit and it would last me forever without any monthly fees. Would this work after the 12 month contract is up?
 
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