Amazon fire stick and no landline

Hello again everyone,
One has questions… As a luddite… I know it’s been chewed over a thousand times, but please bare with me. We have no landline. Our fire stick runs over Tesco mobile, so him indoors gets all his telly. We have a bog standard satellite and a Freesat box. From next year Tesco are charging roaming. A landline is not an option for us. Him indoors warbles about a VPN… Can someone give us succinct instructions on what is practical? We also have french mobiles.
We are mildly bewildered…

If you are able to get a new UK SIM then a few operators still do roaming at no extra charge, iD mobile is one, I’ve just moved “the lad”'s account to them which seems to have gone smoothly including porting his old number - but reviews suggest not everyone’s experience is positive and they only have web chat support.

Othr operators who are not currently imposing roaming chanrges are listed here -

If you get a UK SIM I don’t think you will need a VPN - but do watch out for “fair use” caps even if extra roaming charges are not levied.

If you get a French SIM, you might (need a VPN), but there are apps to run on the Firestick itself - again the list here should be useful.

Could you get a 4g internet connection box? We had a Bouyges box which worked pretty well before we got fibre.

1 Like

I’m based in France but still keep a phone with a UK sim as many UK people prefer to call a UK number. When I’m in France, UK broadcast video channels/apps do not work on the UK phone unless I activate a VPN.

Don’t quite understand how you make it work logically n France without a VPN now regardless of what mobile you use.

VPNs cheat your location to the internet - they won’t change roaming charges.

You normally use a VPN on the fire stick for UK shows in France be it a local or UK SIM. So you may actually be using one now


The way it used to work was that data packets travelled in the GSM layer back to your operator in the UK (specified by the APN) and from there to the internet.

Having the phone still “tied” to the base operator even when roaming and therefore seeing “home” content such as ads actually makes sense if you think about it.

Certainly I find that there are UK only radio stations which I have to use a VPN to access in the house, that work perfectly well on the phone, even when roaming.

I’ll investigate further - I haven’t thought about this sort of thing in detail in years, so it could well have changed.

1 Like

It does make sense but it’s never worked that way for me. For example, if I try to visit I’m redirected to the ‘international’ site.

On my UK phone, while in France I can access the BBC Sounds audio player without a VPN. It all works well but there are two limitations:

  • I can’t save programmes for later listening.
  • Sometimes, a programme is blocked with an audio message saying ‘this programme is not available in your region because of rights issues’

As I said, I’ll see what atually happens on my phone when I’m over later this week, it’s one of those things I normally don’t think about too much. In the house I get “French” behaviour as I’d expect but that’s because the phone is on WiFi which defaults to routing through the Orange VDSL connection directly. The Internet radio is specifically set to route through the VPN ortherwise UK specific content doesn’t work.

But in the car, on the way to/from the house (and therefore on 3/4G) I definitely get UK only stations such as Planet Rock.

However, that *might* be a consequence of using the Radioplayer app to listen.

It is, as they say, complicated :slight_smile:

I can listen to uk stations via mobile network (and wifi) via my UK or French phone, live or on catch-up via the BBC iPlayer - apart from when there are ‘rights issues’. In addition, saving a download is not possible. The mobile signal acts as if it is geographically linked to the network to which it is tethered.

1 Like

In the car I can link the planet rock, absolute radio etc internet radio on my head unit through my mobile hotspot on my phone without any problem, get into the house fire up one of the pc’s and I need to use a VPN or my dedicated IP to access anything, the tablet is the same, I read that android 12 & 13 use location services differently as everything works on my phone bar Sky Go using my dedicated IP in the UK but on my older phone, tablet (android 11) and all the pc’s with windows 11 it works perfectly.

So when you open an app on a phone the source of the app thinks the phone is French, you need the VPN on, set to a uk server so that the app/web page thinks you are in uk. my UK sim is usually fixed on the Orange network over here .

1 Like

That make sense and could explain a lot.

1 Like

You don’t say why that is the case…?

You might find that the drive to install fibre everywhere might work in your favour eventually. Have you asked anyone about getting fibre?

Needs a bit of paper and a pencil.

I’ve just tried to use iPlayer on my 3 UK SIM and it works perfectly, as did my EE SIM before, so those two are clearly presenting as UK IP connections. I suspect that some apps use the phone location services to apply geo-blocking rather than just depend on what the network shows as location.

What does IP Location Finder - IP Lookup With Detailed Geolocation Data | KeyCDN Tools say for the phone? (or any other similar service).

It’s an imprecise art - presently it thinks my desktop is in Norfolk (hint: it isn’t) and my phone is in Birmingham (hint: not right either).

Certainly I suspect that this is a potential complicating factor on mobile devices with GPS

That does tend to back my theory - I’ll try with on my phone tomorrow, but I’m also with Three.

So, unsurprisingly, I get the exact same outcome as JohnH above. Given that I’m on the same network it would be odd to get a different result. Might be worth others chipping in if they are on one of the other UK networks.

But it would suggest that using a phone or 3/4/5G modem with a UK SIM should bypass the need for a VPN.

To slightly derail this thread by going back to the origional post. I believe tesco is only going to start charging for European roaming for people who took out contracts or upgraded after June 2022. So all might not be lost!