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Buying SIM Cards in the United Kingdom

Buying SIM Cards in the United Kingdom

Formed by England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom is one of the biggest, powerful and influential country in the world. There are alot of things that makes this country famous; from their accent, unique culture, cities and marvelous natural wonders. Another thing that makes this country unique is that the United Kingdom’s monarchy is still very much alive at the same time its past still lingers in its cities. The country has great abundance in castles that is preserved and maintained throughout the centuries. Besides from the countries rich history, there’s also the bustling cosmopolitan city of London, one of the most saturated cities in the world. It also boasts cities like Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow. To give contrast to this, the country also holds a lot of natural wonders. For one there’s Seven Sisters cliff in Sussex, where you can witness a classic dramatic panoramic view of its cliffs. Another is Fingal’s Cave in Scotland which holds one of the most unique coastlines.

One of the most diverse country in the world, both in its tourist destination and people. The United Kingdom surely has something for everyone. A classic staple for both first time and experienced travelers. Are you excited to travel to this great country yet? We’ll help you get one thing off your mind. We will guide you on buying a SIM card for your travel in the United Kingdom.

The First Thing You Need To Do

The first thing you may want to do is to check if your phone is unlocked. This is a necessary step if you are a planning to switch your SIM card with a foreign one especially if your phone tied to a specific service provider. By unlocking your phone this is allows it to be utilized with a foreign SIM card in it. You can do this by contacting your service provider or simply seeking help from small independent tech shops.

Choosing A SIM Card

For now, the United Kingdom is still a part of the European Union (though this is vulnerable to change) hence country still applies the “roam like home” policy. In 15th of June 2017, roaming services for countries which are a part of the European Union are cancelled meaning there are no additional charges for utilizing data, texts and costs without additional costs. We would like to emphasize this as this is only applicable to countries belonging to the European Union and not Europe itself and it is not applicable to countries like Turkey and Switzerland.

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So, if you’re coming from other parts of Europe it’s not really necessary for one to buy a new SIM Card as it will work fine in the UK though do this with precaution and inquire with your service provider as terms and conditions may vary from one European Country to another and might cost unwanted charges. The best thing to do is call your service provider and ask for additional costs.

Identification such as passports aren’t necessary when buying a SIM card in the UK. This makes the process easier compared to other European countries. There are four major service providers in the UK:

EE

EE is the largest service provider in the country and one of most user friendly among travelers. They offer their SIM cards for free but you must buy credit for it to be activated. There are packages they offer along with the SIM card: £1 Data Pack which costs £1 comes with 100MB worth of data, 10 minutes of call and 10 text messages, £10 Everything Pack which costs £10 comes with 500MB worth of data, 150 minutes of call and unlimited text messages, £10 Data Pack which costs £10 comes with 1GB worth of data, 100 minutes of call and 1000 text messages, £12.50 Everything Pack which costs £12.50 comes with 1GB worth of data, 300 minutes of call and unlimited text messages, £15 Everything Pack which costs £15 comes with 2GB worth of data, 500 minutes of call and unlimited text messages, £15 Data Pack which costs £15 comes with 4GB worth of data, 250 minutes of call and unlimited text messages, £20 Everything Pack which costs £20 comes with 3GB worth of data, 750 minutes of call and unlimited text messages and £25 Everything Pack which costs £25 comes with 4GB worth of data, 1000 minutes of call and unlimited text messages.

They also offer data only bundles for £1 you can have 100MB worth of data good for seven days, for £3 you can have 500MB worth of data good for seven days, for £5 you can have 500MB worth of data good for 30 days, for £7.50 you can have 1GB worth of data good for 30 days and for £15 you can have 3GB worth of data good for 30 days.

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Vodafone

Vodafone comes next to EE as the countries largest service provider. Unlike EE, they do not offer there SIM cards for free. However their packages are pretty close, if not cheaper to those of EE. The packages they offer are: for £5 you can have 100MB worth of data, 100 minutes of call and 250 text messages good for 30 days, for £10 you can have 1GB worth of data, 200 minutes of call and unlimited text messages good for 30 days, for £20 you can have 6GB worth of data, 1000 minutes of call and unlimited text messages good for 30 days and for £30 you can have 20GB worth of data, 1000 minutes of call and unlimited text messages good for 30 days.

Another thing that Vodafone offers is a reward system. For example a £10 top up will give you 500MB worth of data for free or a £20 top up will give you 1GB worth of data.

O2

O2 comes as the third largest service provider in the country. They offer their SIM cards along with these packages: for £10 you can have 500MB worth of data, 250 minutes of call and 1000 text messages good for 30 days, also for £10 you can have 1GB worth of data, 100 minutes of call and 100 text messages good for 30 days, for £15 you can have 2GB worth of data, 750 minutes of call and 2000 text messages good for 30 days, for £20 you can have 3GB worth of data, 1500 minutes of call and 4000 text messages good for 30 days, for £25 you can have 5GB worth of data, 3000 minutes of call and 4000 text messages good for 30 days and for £30 you can have 20GB worth of data, 3000 minutes of call and 4000 text messages good for 30 days.

O2 also offers data only packs. For £3 you can have 100MB worth of data, for £6 you can have 500MB worth of data, for £10 you can have 1GB worth of data and for £13 you can have 2GB worth of data

Three (3)

Three is the smallest service provider among the four but is quickly catching up with their competetive prices. Three offers PAYG (Pay-as-you-go) SIM cards that comes with several packages: Internet Daily Pass which costs £0.50 comes with 120MB worth of data and is good for 24 hours, Mobile Internet Pass which costs £5 comes with 500MB worth of data and is good for 30 days, All-in-One-10 which costs £10 comes with 1GB worth of data, 3000 text messages, 3000 minutes of call and is good for 30 day, All-in-One-15 which costs £15 comes with 5GB worth of data, 3000 text messages, 3000 minutes of call and is good for 30 day, All-in-One-20 which costs £20 comes with 12GB worth of data, 3000 text messages, 3000 minutes of call and is good for 30 day, All-in-One-25 which costs £30 comes with 30GB worth of data, 3000 text messages, 3000 minutes of call and is good for 30 day and All-in-One-35 which costs £35 comes with unlimited data, 3000 text messages, 3000 minutes of call and is good for 30 day,

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The service provider also offers data packages. For £2.99 you can have 500MB worth of data, for £10 you can have 1GB worth of data, for £15 you can have 3GB worth of data and for £25 you can have 7GB worth of data.

In terms of coverage, all the service providers have good to average coverage throughout the country though may have weak spots in rural area. It is strong in major cities but one may experience congestion problems due to the number of users.

Where do I buy one?

If you are in the city, you can find SIM cards practically everywhere . From supermarkets, convenience store, gas stations, train stations, airport shops, cigar shops and corner store. Though we recommend you to buy it from the official stores and authorized resellers as assistance in setting up the SIM card is readily available. If you’re planning to stay in rural areas or go hiking make sure to buy one in the airport or in a city.

Conclusion

If you want to utilize your own phone, remember to get it unlocked beforehand so that it can accommodate a foreign SIM card. Other than that buying a SIM card in the UK is a pretty straight forward transaction as there are no IDs required in the process. All of the service providers offer pretty much the same when it comes to prices. So make sure that what you’ll get is what you need.

Written by Gear Up To Travel

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