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Guide to Getting the UK SIM Card That Suits You Best

Guide to Getting the UK SIM Card That Suits You Best

There are a lot of SIM card service providers in the UK. Most of them have set up a local store for you to walk in and ask questions, but some of them have not. It is very common for international students to get confused. Therefore, we are here to help. With this brief article UVIC will give you a heads up on what you should do when you start your UK journey.

Choose the plan that suits you best according to your need for:

  • voice minutes,
  • text messages, and
  • mobile data.

There are 2 main plans for your SIM card:

  1. Pay Monthly
  2. Pay-as-you-go

Remember, you will need a valid UK address to get into a contract or obtain a sim card. Let us know if you need help on getting your paper proof of address.

Pay Monthly

As the name suggests, you will pay for your mobile service with a fixed price per month through a yearly contract.

Some contracts include a phone (mostly with an upfront fee), and they are usually 24 months long. Be careful not to sign up for a contract that lasts longer than your stay! The fee to terminate your contract early is very high.

Popular service providers for pay monthly contracts:
O2, Vodafone, Orange, EE, 3 UK*

Be aware that some plans do not include calling to landlines.

*Detail note: 3 UK does offer a one-month contract, which will renew (keep rolling) itself until you call them up and terminate the service.


Pay-as-you-go is for people who do not use their mobile as much. You go top-up your SIM card with a certain amount of money, and your credit will only be deducted when you use your phone to make calls. This is generally more popular among international students as these providers usually offer a cheaper rate for international calls.

Popular service providers for pay-as-you-go:
Lebara, Giffgaff*, Lyca Mobile.

These providers do not have their own local stores, you usually have to order their SIM cards using a valid UK postal address. Or come to UVIC’s London office to get your own Lebara SIM card for free.

*Detail note: Giffgaff is slightly different from other pay-as-you-go services, as it is more popular with their bundles. Basically like a month contract, but they do not automatically continue.

If you want some more advice from previous international students, tweet us @UVICedu on Twitter or leave a post on UVIC’s Facebook page (facebook.com/uvicfanpage), and we will answer your question 1-to-1.