Coming to the UK: Getting a mobile phone
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Rich has moved to the UK and needs a mobile phone deal. There are lots of deals to choose from! The language focus is on the words and phrases you need to speak about mobile phones and the different types of mobile phone contracts you can buy in the UK. Your task is to tell us about the mobile phone deals that are available in your country. Don't forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess, too. Enjoy!
Welcome - Coming to the UK - Getting a mobile phone
Jack: Hello my name’s Jack
Rich: and I’m Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: We recommend that you listen to this podcast on the Premier Skills English website because that is where we have the transcript, language examples, activities, quizzes and a discussion page to help you understand everything we talk about.
Jack: However, if you’re listening on Spotify or Apple Podcasts, you can leave answers to our questions in the review section. We do read all the reviews and would love to hear from you.
Rich: In this week’s podcast, we’re going to continue our series of essential things you need to do when you come to the UK to live or study.
Jack: Last week, we spoke about the language you need when renting a house or flat. We looked at phrases like ‘I’m here about the flat.’ , ‘Do I have to pay a deposit?’ and ‘When can I move in?’.
Rich: We also looked at lots of vocabulary we use to describe rooms, such as, spacious, light and cosy.
Jack: And we looked at vocabulary to describe appliances we find in a flat such as dishwasher, fridge-freezer and oven.
Rich: If you want to go back and do this lesson you can find it on the Premier Skills English website by clicking skills>listen>podcasts. If you are on Spotify or Apple Podcasts you’ll find it in the playlist it’s called ‘Coming to the UK - House-hunting’.
Jack: In this podcast, we are going to talk about the language you need when you want to get a new mobile phone or mobile phone deal or package.
Rich: That’s right. Everybody needs a mobile phone and if you move to a different country you need one even more. You need to keep in contact with friends and family at home and new friends you make in the UK.
Jack: You probably have a phone already but you might want to get a new one and if you are staying in the UK for a long time you will definitely want to change your mobile phone deal to a local one.
Rich: Yes, it can be very expensive to stay on the deal you have at home. You will want to avoid all those extra charges.
Jack: So, we’re going to look at some of the language you might need in a mobile phone shop when you want to get the best and cheapest possible deal. First we will have two roleplays for you. In the first, we’ll talk about some of the problems Rich had when using his mobile phone abroad.
Rich: And then in the second roleplay, Jack will be the shop assistant and I will be the customer in a mobile phone shop.
Jack: And, after these roleplays, we will look at some of the language we used in the conversations.
Rich: We will also have a task for you to do, which is when we ask you to use your English. This week we’re going to ask you about the mobile phone packages people have in your country. Are they a good deal?
Jack: And, don’t forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have another football phrase for you to guess.
Football Phrase 1
Jack: But, before we look at all that, let’s look at last week’s football phrase. If you didn’t hear it last week we’ll give you one more chance to guess and give you the correct answer at the end of the show when we give you a new football phrase.
Rich: The phrase was to _________. The phrase was originally used in boxing to describe a boxer who hits his opponent to the floor. In football, it means to beat another team in a cup competition which results in the other team’s elimination. Manchester United _________ PSG in this season’s Champions League.
Jack: Well done if you got the right answer last week - some of you who got it right were: Idzingirai from Zimbabwe, Liubomyr from Ukraine, Elghoul from Algeria and Coreuser from Saudi Arabia - all of you wrote the correct answer on the Premier Skills English website.
Rich: We’ll tell you the answer to this football phrase and we’ll have a new football phrase at the end of the show.
Introduction to Roleplay
Jack: In this week’s podcast, we are going to talk about getting a new mobile phone or mobile phone package or deal. We are going to do two roleplays.
Rich: In the first, I’m going to speak about using my mobile phone abroad.
Jack: And in the second, Rich is in a mobile phone shop looking for a new deal and I work in the shop.
Rich: After we finish the roleplays, we will look at some of the language we use but the first thing we want you to do is to answer some questions while you listen.
Jack: We’ve just got one question for each roleplay. The question for the first roleplay is: Why does Rich wish he hadn’t taken his mobile phone on holiday?
Jack: Hey, Rich. Did you have a good holiday? You were in Tunisia, weren’t you?
Rich: Yes, I had a great time. To be honest, I didn't do that much exploring. I stayed on the beach most of the time. The beaches were fantastic - golden sand and crystal blue water.
Jack: You were probably just lying there playing Candy Crush on your smartphone all day.
Rich: I don’t play Candy Crush! Although, it’s funny you mention my phone because I did have a couple of problems.
Jack: Oh? Was it stolen? Did you lose it?
Rich: No, it’s that there wasn’t WIFI on the beach and I probably did check the football scores and play a bit of FIFA.
Jack: How much data did you use?
Rich: Quite a bit. A bit silly really. I don’t know what network I was using but I’ve got a bill for a few hundred Euros.
Jack: Disaster. You can get hit with some big costs for Roaming when you use your phone abroad. You should have set a data limit or cost limit before you left or turned data off. You should have just used WIFI.
Rich: Yep. Ah, well. I’ll know for next time, won’t I?
Jack: You might not be able to afford a next time!
Rich: Mmm. Thanks for your support!
Rich: The question for roleplay two is: Which mobile phone deal would you get?
Jack: Hi there. Can I help you?
Rich: Err. Yes, probably. I’ve just arrived in the UK and I have a Spanish phone and I want to change it.
Jack: Do you want to change your phone or just the network you’re on? You’ve got quite a nice smartphone there. Is it unlocked?
Jack: Is it locked to a network in Spain?
Rich: No, it’s SIM-free. I only bought it a couple of months ago.
Jack: So, you just need a new SIM card. You can get a contract deal or a Pay as You Go deal.
Rich: What’s the difference?
Jack: Well, a pay as you go deal is when you buy a SIM and pay a specific amount of money to go on your phone. When you’ve used it you have to buy some more credit. You don’t have to sign a contract or have a bank account in the UK.
Rich: And for a contract deal I need a UK bank account?
Jack: That’s right. You sign a contract, maybe for a year, and pay a specific amount every month.
Rich: And what deals do you have?
Jack: Are you a student?
Rich: Yes, mechanical engineering.
Jack: Nice, well we’ve got some great discounts for students. One of the best pay monthly deals we have is unlimited data, minutes and texts for £26 per month.
Rich: That’s for a year.
Jack: Yep, you pay that each month for a year. If you want something cheaper we can give you 4GB of data and unlimited calls and texts for just £10 per month or 30GB for £18.
Rich: And these are all pay monthly deals?
Jack: That’s right. You pay every month and you are tied in for a year.
Rich: And can I call abroad?
Jack: International calls and texts aren’t included but you can buy an add on and calling Spain will only cost about 3p per minute anyway.
Rich: And Pay as You Go?
Jack: Our best deal is unlimited data, texts and calls for £90.
Rich: Err.. can I use it whenever I want?
Jack: Yep, but you need to use it within 90 days then you have to top up again.
Rich: With the same?
Jack: Or something else. You can get 2GB for £10 or 36GB for £27.50. The more you use the more money you save.
Rich: It’s all a bit confusing.
Jack: Here’s a leaflet if you want to have a think.
Rich: Thanks for your help.
Jack: You’re welcome.
Jack: Before we take a look at the language we used in the roleplay, let’s give you the answers to those two questions we asked you.
Rich: The first question was: Why do I wish I hadn’t taken my mobile phone on holiday?
Jack: Well, I think it was because you went to Tunisia and played too much Candy Crush on the beach and didn’t do any sightseeing.
Rich: No, it wasn’t. It was because I used a bit too much data on my phone and ended up with a huge bill to pay.
Jack: The second question was: which mobile phone deal would you choose? Which one would you choose Rich?
Rich: I think I’d go for a 12-month contract with lots of data. That seems to be cheaper because I use quite a lot of data.
Jack: Ah, yes, to play Candy Crush and other games for kids!
Rich: Enough. Let’s look at some of the language we used in the roleplay.
Jack: We’re going to focus on the words and phrases that are important when talking about mobile phones and buying a mobile phone package. Let’s start by looking at some important words that are often used in connection with mobiles.
Rich: Most people these days have a smartphone. A smartphone is a mobile phone that has many of the functions of a computer such as the ability to access the internet.
Jack: The words mobile phone or cell phone in the United States or just phone, mobile or cell are still usually used to also describe smartphones.
Rich: Another word you heard a lot in the roleplays was data. Data is the information we send and receive when we are online.
Jack: So, data is needed to go on the internet and it’s usually measured in gigabytes as you heard in the roleplays. You will usually just see the letters GB.
Rich: Great Britain.
Jack: No the letters don’t stand for Great Britain they stand for Gigabyte.
Rich: And when you go abroad with your phone it’s a good idea to set a data limit or turn your data off and just use WIFI.
Jack: Yes, because if you don’t you might have to pay expensive roaming charges as Rich did. A roaming charge is a price you have to pay to connect to a different network - usually in a different country.
Rich: We usually just call it roaming and say things like: Have you got roaming on? Or more importantly, have you got roaming off?
Jack: We mentioned the word network there. A network is a company that provides you with a mobile phone service. In the States, they are called cell phone carriers.
Rich: When you come to the UK to work or study the best thing to do is check out all the deals that different networks offer and choose the one that is right for you.
Jack: Some of the most common networks in the UK are Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three but there are loads of others to choose from, too.
Rich: Your options are usually to get a pay monthly deal or a pay as you go deal.
Jack: A pay monthly deal is a contract to pay an amount every month and a pay as you go deal is when you buy credit when you need it.
Rich: Another two important words connected to phones are ‘top ups’ and ‘add ons’. Both of these can be used as nouns and verbs.
Jack: To top up or get a top-up is usually connected to pay as you go deals because it means to add credit. You can top up online or at bank machines or go to a post office to top up or get a top-up voucher.
Rich: An add-on is an extra payment you make for something such as extra data that is not covered by your mobile phone deal. You might need a bit of extra data at the end of the month if you have run out and you can add it on.
Jack: Add-ons are usually connected to pay monthly deals.
Rich: Right, we’ve got lots more vocabulary connected to mobile phones on the Premier Skills English website. Find this lesson on the homepage or in the skills section and you will find lots of activities, the transcript and a quiz to test your understanding.
Jack: And that’s where you can write your answers to this week’s task, too!
Jack: This week’s task is to tell us about the mobile phone packages you have in your country. Are they good deals?
Rich: Let’s compare the mobile phone deals people have in different countries and see which we think is the best. To talk about your deals we’ve got a few questions to help you.
Jack: One: Do people in your country usually go for pay monthly deals or pay as you go deals?
Rich: Two: What do people generally use their phones for most; calls, messages or data?
Jack: Three: Do people try to use WIFI more than their mobile phone network?
Rich: Four: What kind of prices do people have to pay for mobile phone deals? Does it depend on how much they use their phones? Do you think it’s possible to get a good deal?
Jack: Five: What about you? Do you think you have a good mobile phone deal? What kind of mobile deal would you need if you came to study or work in the UK?
Rich: OK, so that’s your task this week. Write your answers in the comments section at the bottom of the page on the Premier Skills English website or in the review section on Apple Podcasts.
This week’s football phrase:
Jack: The final section this week is our football phrase.
Rich: The football phrase is ************* *****. This phrase describes the time, in the middle of the season, with no club football because players are playing for their national sides. There are no Premier League matches this weekend because there is ** ************* *****.
Jack: Let’s see who can get it right! If you know the answer, write it in the comments section at the bottom of the page. We will announce your name in next week’s podcast if you get it right.
Rich: We also need to give you the answer to the football phrase we set at the beginning of the show. The answer as many of you know already was to knock out.
Jack: Right, that’s all we have time for this week. Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. Do you know the words in bold?
If you are staying in the UK for a long time you will definitely want to change your mobile phone deal to a local one.
There wasn’t WIFI on the beach and I probably did check the football scores and play a bit of FIFA.
You’ve got quite a nice smartphone there. Is it unlocked?
You pay every month and you are tied in for a year.
There were a few more tricky words and phrases in the podcast. Do you know what they all mean? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words. This can really help your understanding.
In this week's podcast, Rich was complaining about extra charges on his mobile phone when he was on holiday. Here are some of the phrases that were used in the roleplay:
You were probably just lying on the beach playing Candy Crush on your smartphone all day.
You can get hit with some big costs for Roaming when you use your phone abroad. You should have set a data limit.
I don’t know what network I was using but I’ve got a bill for a few hundred Euros.
It can cost a fortune to use your phone abroad. You will want to avoid all those extra charges.
What advice would you give to people taking their phone abroad (to another country)? Can you think of three pieces of advice using the words in bold and other words and phrases connected to mobile phones we used in the podcast?
Getting a mobile phone deal
In the second roleplay, Rich has arrived in the UK to study and he wants to get a mobile phone deal. Here are some of the phrases from the podcast:
You just need a new SIM card. You can get a pay monthly deal or a Pay as You Go deal.
If you already have a phone which is unlocked (not attached to a network), you only need to get a SIM card (the little plastic card that keeps information about the phone). Your two main options are:
- Pay monthly deal: this option is usually cheaper but you have to sign a contract and agree to pay for a period of time such as one year. You pay the same amount every month and need a UK bank account.
- Pay as you go deal: you pay a specific amount of money to go on your phone. When you’ve used it you have to buy some more credit. You don’t have to sign a contract or have a bank account in the UK.
There are some other important words and phrases connected to getting a mobile phone deal. Have a look at these sentences from the podcast. Do you understand the words in bold?
We’ve got some great discounts for students.
If you want something cheaper we can give you 4GB of data and unlimited calls and texts for just £10 per month.
International calls and texts aren’t included but you can buy an add on. You can get cheap calls to Spain from just £5 per month.
You can top up online or at bank machines or go to a post office to top up or get a top-up voucher.
Try the activity below, you need to read the dialogue between two people in a shop and write the missing words in each gap. All of the words were used in this podcast.
How good is your mobile phone deal?
This week’s task is to tell us about the mobile phone deals you have in your country. Are they good deals?
Let’s compare the mobile phone deals people have in different countries and see which we think is the best. Here are some ideas to help you with this task:
- Do people in your country usually go for contract deals or pay as you go deals?
- What do people generally use their phones for most; calls, messages or data?
- Do people try to use WIFI more than their mobile phone network?
- What kind of prices do people have to pay for mobile phone deals? Does it depend on how much they use their phones? Do you think it’s possible to get a good deal?
- What about you? Do you think you have a good mobile phone deal? What kind of mobile deal would you need if you came to study or work in the UK?
Write your answers in the comments section below and don't forget to make a guess at our football phrase.