Prepaid SIM Card – Which Pay as you go SIM to Buy On Your Trip to UK?

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When one travels abroad, one often keeps in touch with family and business contacts back home. However, carrying home country SIM card abroad and using it is extremely expensive. One alternative to staying in touch with people back in home country is taking a prepaid SIM card of the visiting country. In this blog, find out how and where to buy a prepaid SIM card in UK.

Mobile Network Operators

At present, UK has 4 service providers which offer telecom services. These include EE, Vodafone, O2, and Three.

Packages*- UK Prepaid SIM Card

Each service provider offers a variety of plans for the user to choose from. The suitable offers from these providers are: Everything Pack by EE, Red Bundles by Vodafone, O2’s Big Bundles and Three’s Free SIM.

The cheapest plan of ‘Everything Pack’ by EE can be purchased for £10 with a validity of 30 days with benefits including 500 MB data, unlimited texts and 150 minutes. Vodafone offers Red Bundle which can be availed for minimum £15 with 1 GB 4G data, 1000 UK minutes, and unlimited UK texts, with a validity of 30 days. O2’s Big Bundles are offered at £10, 500 MB, 250 minutes, 1000 texts and a validity of 30 days. Three’s Free SIM’s cheapest call rate is 3p/min, 2p/text and 1p/MB.

UK SIM Card – Availability

All of the above service providers offer their brand of SIM cards either online or through their respective outlets across the country.

SIM Size

EE provides triple sized SIM card while Vodafone and Three offer a standard size SIM card; each of which can be trimmed down with a pair of scissors (if need be). O2’s SIM cards, on the other hand, can be availed for all three sizes including Standard, Micro and Nano.


Nearly all networks have an expiry policy of six months. A call received or an SMS sent, once in six months is sufficient to keep the SIM working (if required for long term).

Content Lock

In UK, Prepaid SIM cards come with a so called “Content Lock” which is put in place so as to protect children from accessing adult content. Owing to this, everything that has not been approved as non-adult will be treated as “adult”, hence, it will be difficult to use various services including instant messaging, emails, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc. Therefore, when you buy a new SIM card, it is recommended to insist to the seller to remove the lock right away. In case you look young, you may need to provide some form of ID to prove your age.


Topping up your SIM online in UK is a tricky task for travellers as it requires a UK-issued credit or debit card. However, there are some private service providers on the internet which accept international cards and do it for a surcharge. Another popular method of top up is via cash machines (ATMs) but again it is possible only if you have a UK-based credit or debit card.

Alternative: Download International Roaming App

At present, there are various roaming apps in the market which provide low-cost roaming solution. Easy and free to download, such apps facilitate the traveller in keeping in touch with friends, family, and co-workers, while travelling abroad. Being light on the pocket, these apps also work well in combination with a SIM card and without it too.

*Package rates are as per the service provider’s website.

Zoya Abdali

Zoya Abdali is a travel enthusiast who likes to share her thoughts and experiences on budget travelling, in the form of blogs. She is an avid reader and likes to read classics. Zoya can be reached at
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