eSIM offers many benefits when you're travelling abroad. It's more secure than a physical SIM because it can't be removed if your iPhone has been lost or stolen. With eSIM, you don't need to obtain, carry and swap physical SIM cards, which can also be lost, or wait for them to arrive in the post before you leave.
Traveling to the UK and planning your trip? Don't waste money on high roaming costs or slow overseas data roaming plans. The UK already has prepaid sim card deals with unlimited data for about $30 USD! In this guide you will read everything you need to know about buying a prepaid sim card in the UK: which provider has the best 5G network, where to buy a local sim card for the UK, up to date prices as per October 2022, EU roaming information, e-sim cards for the UK and much more.
You can of course use data roaming or overseas data plans, but did you know that your internet speed will be limited. Plus, why pay $5 per day when for $30 you can get unlimited 4G/5G data for a whole month!? Data roaming is always more expensive than local prepaid sim cards.
One of the best things the European Union came up with after the Euro was the ban on roaming costs within the EU countries. That means you can use the data on your UK sim card in more than 30 countries across Europe without paying anything extra. Calling minutes are also free within each country and back to the country where you purchased your sim card.
Brexit happened already in January 2020 which means the UK has officially left the European Union. For a long time UK prepaid sim cards allowed free EU roaming but that has changed unfortunately! As of October 2022 there UK prepaid sim cards do NOT allow EU ROAMING IN EUROPE! That means you will have to pay an extra fee if you want to use you UK prepaid sim card in other parts of Europe.
When arriving at London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted or London Luton Airport you are able to buy a Lebara sim card or a Lycamobile sim card at the airport. Both sim cards also work fine for traveling in Europe. The problem is they have a lot of restrictions and surprises, like limited EU roaming, etc.
NEWS! 3 UK just announced that there will be a GO ROAM UPDATE from 23 May 2022 and FREE roaming will from then on be chargeable! Go Roam within Europe will cost £2 per day and outside of Europe they will charge £5 per day for Go Roam. THIS IS VERY DISAPPOINTING Three UK!
For more info and offers check out the Three UK website for all the pay-as-you-go offers. Unfortunately online orders are only available for UK residence. For more on how to order a UK sim card online scroll down below!
Another big plus is that EE has the best 5G network in the UK, so may be that could play a roll when looking for the best pay as you go UK tourist sim card as well. But let first see the sim only deals EE UK offers in 2022:
In the above we can clearly see that also EE offers competitive data packages. An EE prepaid sim card is free and for £20 GBP you get 30 GB data + unlimited calls/text in the UK. Data roaming is not included anymore. For the latest EE sim only deals have a look at their website in the link.
Rates for GiffGaff UK sim cards are GOOD! All the pay-as-you-go data packages below INCLUDE unlimited calls/text within the UK. For £35 GBP ($50) you get unlimited calls/text AND DATA in the UK. EU roaming is NOT included in this UK sim card. Also the process of obtaining one is rather difficult. I tried it myself and
Lebara UK also offers a free UK sim card and only charges for the data bundles. The pay as you go bundles already start from £5 and gives you 2 GB data for 30 days. But there are more data bundles available.
For most tourists traveling to the UK the £15 sim only plan from Lebara is a good deal, but it give you much less value for money than Vodafone, EE, Three and O2. EU roaming is available but very limited. Lebara sim cards are NOT good for traveling in Europe.
What Lebara separates from the other Uk sim cards is that they offer free international calling minutes not only to the EU, but also to the USA, India, Thailand, Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Malaysia, Israel, South Korea, Singapore.
Another great thing about a Lebara UK sim card is that you can also buy them in mobile phone shops and convenient stores across the UK like Tesco, Wh Smith, Argos, Sainsbury's. If you see shops with a Lebara sign you can get the same deals as online. Lebara operates on the Vodafone UK network and allows free roaming in Europe.
When I updated my comparison of the UK prepaid sim cards in October 2022 I came to the conclusion that prices these days are more or less the same. However, when we take £20 and see what we can get at the different providers we see that EE and O2 are offering 30 GB data and Vodafone only 20 GB data for the same price and that is not even 5G but 4G. Three offers only 12 GB for £22, so they are ranked at the most expensive UK prepaid sim card.
As EE has the best 4G/5G network in the UK in 2022 and also offers free WiFi hotspots at the London tube and gives you 100 GB without any data and speed limitations, my conclusion is that EE is the best prepaid UK sim card in 2022!
Unless you have a suitable deal for roaming, the costs of international roaming in the USA can add up very quickly. This is because the average smartphone user can easily consume more than 100MB of data per day.
Hi Ken. I have read through the recent posts and one point is still unclear to me! I have a Samsung Galaxy A32 4G with twin sim slots. If I understand all your advice correctly, I would benefit from a Three paygo sim for my forthcoming trip to the US rather than paying the extraordinary BT roaming charges. I will get data as per price and calls & texts free. However, are those calls & texts restricted to calls to UK numbers only OR will it cover calls and texts to US numbers while I am in the US. My family in the US all have US cell phones as they reside in the US permanently, hence my query. Clarification would be great. Chris
Some plans that started before 10 May 2017 came with EU roaming data included. If you're on one of these plans, you may not need a roaming add-on until you've used up this data. Plans that include roaming data are:
Both EE and Vodafone will allow customers to buy a pass that avoids the daily charge. Vodafone will charge £1 a day for an 8 or a 15 day pass, EE will offer a 30-day pass for £10 (this pass will be included for free for subscribers on a Full Works plan). Three is yet to announce an alternative to the £2/day fee.
Overseas roaming used to be one of those things people warned you about. We have definitely checked, with cold sweat on our foreheads, whether we remembered to turn roaming off as we first switched on our phone upon landing. But things have changed quite a bit in the last few years. Several mobile providers around the globe have brought down the once-exorbitant cellular roaming rates into cheapo realms, and this includes roaming in Japan.
While previously, getting either a pocket wifi router or a prepaid Japanese SIM card were the best ways to stay connected while traveling in Japan, cellular roaming may now also be a viable option. We have reviewed Japan roaming rates for some of the most popular mobile phone networks in the USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia.
If you are on a Simple Choice Plan, you have a slow roaming version for Japan included in your package. Calls are fairly cheap, US$ 0.2 for both outgoing and incoming calls, with unlimited texting and unlimited but slow data (128kbps). This might work for someone who just wants to use maps and check locations on the go, but otherwise plans to rely on the hotel or Airbnb wifi.
For Australia, Telstra offers what seems to be a somewhat reasonable roaming plan, but a pocket wifi or Japanese SIM card would likely still get you a better deal if you are coming from this part of the world.
This article is intended only as an initial guide. Information may change, though it was accurate at the time of writing. Please carefully compare all options and prices before making any decisions about cellular roaming in Japan.
VOXI is among the rare MVNOs that charge you to roam even in Europe. The network charges £2 per day, though you can get discounts for longer periods, with an eight-day roaming pass costing £8 and a 15-day one costing £15. This pass will cover you in Europe up to your standard data allowance or a 20GB fair usage limited, whichever is lower.
With the UK now out of the EU, one concern for travellers was the change in roaming charges when travelling between France and the UK. When the UK was in the EU, mobile phone operators were subject to a ban on additional roaming charges in EU countries; now, they are free to charge additional fees for using your mobile phone in France.
The good news for British residents in France with a French mobile phone contract is that no French operators will be adding additional roaming charges for the UK (although, as always, be sure to check the rules regarding data usage and allowance of your specific mobile phone plan).
For frequent callers, the Lyca Globe plan offers 3000 minutes to 40 destinations for 10 pounds every 30 days and unlimited calls and texts to other Lyca SIMs. This includes Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, and the United States, as countries outside traditional EU roaming coverage. You can trade that setup for 1,000 minutes to India if needed.
Alternatively, the All In One 10 SIM covers the same countries but drops the international minutes to just 500. However, this offer includes unlimited UK texts and 6 GB of data, making it handy for UK use. Lyca has introduced All in one Plus 15 and 20 plans, which pack unlimited international minutes for 15 or 20 pounds per month. 2b1af7f3a8