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Best eSIM providers and plans in United Kingdom 2024

Are you searching for the best eSIM option for your travels in the United Kingdom? We’ve conducted numerous tests and evaluated many popular eSIM providers to handpick the top eSIMs for UK in 2024. To select the best of the best, we focused on simplicity, convenience, flexibility, and affordability.

eSIMs, or embedded SIM cards, eliminate the hassle of physical cards, offering seamless connectivity on the go. They provide global roaming and flexibility with local plans, ensuring uninterrupted services during your UK adventures.

Choosing from multiple different eSIM providers can be tricky. That's where we come in. Whether you're a frequent traveler or plan an upcoming vacation, we've got you covered. This guide will help you find the perfect eSIM solution tailored to your needs.

Top 5 eSIM providers for United Kingdom

What to consider when choosing eSIM for traveling in United Kingdom

When choosing an eSIM for traveling in the United Kingdom, there are a few key factors to consider if you prioritize smooth communication:

  • Destination coverage. A key factor to consider is whether or not the provider’s eSIM covers the country you’re traveling to or a broader region, including Europe or neighbouring counties.
  • Communication needs. Decide if you require only data or if you also need to make calls and send messages. Some eSIM providers offer phone numbers for calls and SMS communication, while others may only allow you to receive calls and SMS.
  • Data options. Consider the amount of data you'll need during your trip. Choose from fixed plans, pay-as-you-go options, or top-up availability to add more data if necessary.
  • Validity period. Check the validity period of the eSIM, which indicates how many days it remains active from activation. Ensure it aligns with the duration of your travel.
  • Tethering support. Determine if the eSIM provider allows tethering, which enables you to share your device's data connection as a mobile hotspot. This feature can be beneficial for connecting multiple devices during your travels.

Best eSIMs for UK – our detailed list

To help you choose the best eSIM for traveling in the United Kingdom, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. We’ve tested and selected top eSIM providers based on factors such as destination coverage, data options, and pricing.

1. Saily – best UK eSIM for budget-conscious travelers

Saily esim banner
Coverage150+ countries, including the UK
Starting price:From $4.69 (7 days, 1GB)
Regional plans:No

Saily is an eSIM provider that simplifies mobile connectivity for travelers, offering virtual SIM cards for instant activation. It's recommended for travelers seeking hassle-free access to global networks without changing physical SIM cards, ideal for those prioritizing seamless international connectivity on a budget.

Accessibility. It is unclear which network providers Saily supports in the United Kingdom; however, the eSIM provider promises reliable connection from the UK’s “best networks.” It works with all smartphones with the eSIM technology, and you can easily activate the plan before you commence your trip. All you have to do is choose a plan, download the app, and install the eSIM.

Customer support. Saily offers 24/7 live chat support to ensure you have someone to consult with if any questions or problems arise.

eSIM plans. Saily does not offer regional plans, so it might not be ideal for those who are planning to travel across Europe. However, the pricing of local plans is user-friendly, and there are different options to choose from. Note that Saily’s plans are data-only, meaning you will not be able to make phone calls or text messages.

Pricing. Although Saily doesn’t offer regional plans, its local plans are fairly priced. You get to choose from 5 different options that come with an increasing number of mobile data. The cheapest option ($4.69) covers 1GB for 7 days, while the most comprehensive plan ($33.99) gives you 20GB for 30 days.

2. Airalo – best overall eSIM for traveling the UK

Airalo banner
Coverage200+ countries and regions, including the UK
Starting price:From $5.00 (7 days, 1GB)
Regional plans:Yes

Airalo offers eSIM plans designed for travelers, enabling them to access mobile data without needing physical SIM cards. Airalo offers data-only options, but the activation process is easy, pricing is competitive, and the network coverage in the UK is reliable.

Accessibility. Airalo partners with reputable local mobile service providers in the UK (O2 and Three UK), ensuring reliable data coverage with LTE connectivity. Airalo activation is hassle-free and easily conducted through the Airalo app.

Customer support. Airalo offers responsive customer support through live chat and email, assisting promptly to address any queries or concerns.

eSIM plans. Airalo offers a regional eSIM plan called Eurolink that covers 39 countries, including the United Kingdom. This is beneficial for travelers who are set to explore multiple destinations in Europe. Local plans are available as well.

Pricing. Eurolink plans (for 39 countries in Europe) cover from 7 to 180 days, and the costs vary from $5.00 (1GB) to $185.00 (100GB). Local (Uki Mobile) plans cover from 7 to 30 days and cost from $5.00 (1GB) to $36.00 (20GB).

3. Nomad – budget-friendly eSIM for the UK

Nomad banner
Coverage170+ countries, including the UK
Starting price:From $4.00 (1 day, 1GB)
Regional plans:Yes

Nomad provides eSIM solutions tailored for travelers seeking seamless connectivity. It's particularly beneficial for those who need flexible data options while exploring the UK and beyond. Nomad plans include both regional and local coverage. Unfortunately, UK users can only choose from data-only plans.

Accessibility. Nomad partners with reputable local mobile service providers in the UK (O2 UK, Three UK, and Vodafone), offering reliable data coverage. Internet connectivity options include 5G, 4G, and LTE.

Customer support. To support customers, Nomad offers a troubleshooting guide. There’s also a request form that you can fill out on the provider’s website if you have more specific and unique questions.

eSIM plans. Nomad offers regional eSIM plans, including the Europe Travel eSIM plan. The UK is included in both 30 and 36-country packages; however, you will get 5G support in the UK only if you opt for the 36-country plan. The 30-country plan supports 4G and LTE.

Pricing. Regional plans range from $5.00 (7 days, 1 GB) to $35.00 (30 days, 20GB). However, there are local plans as well. Day Plans range from $4.00 (1 day, 1GB) to $13.00 (10 days, 1GB/day). Regular Plans range from $7.00 (7 days, 1GB) to $21.00 (30 days, 20GB).

4. JetPac – budget-friendly eSIM for the UK

JetPac banner
Coverage100+ countries, including the UK
Starting price:From $1.00 (4 days, 1GB)
Regional plans:Yes

Traveling to the UK can now be even better with the fantastic JetPac eSIM deals. By choosing this provider, you won’t only have access to the Internet at any time but also cut the expensive roaming costs!

Accessibility. JetPac supports some of the biggest UK network carriers, including Everything Everywhere, Three, and O2. Also, you can use 3G, 4G, 5G, or LTE Internet connectivity.

Customer support. One of its most prominent features is the customer support. Not only will you be able to contact them 24/7, but you’ll also receive an expert solution that will guide you through the problem and help you solve it immediately.

eSIM plans. The UK is one of the countries that JetPac covers. So, you can choose from its 7 different eSIM plans and get either 1, 3, 5, 10, 15, 30, or 40GB of data. This makes your trip even better as it prevents paying extra for roaming.

Pricing. At the moment, the UK JetPac eSIM plans start at $1 for the 1GB, 4-day plan. However, this provider is highly affordable, meaning even the 40GB plan is not that expensive. In fact, this lengthy option costs only $50.

5. aloSIM– best eSIM for hassle-free activation

aloSIM banner
Coverage170+ countries, including the UK
Starting price:From $4.50 (7 days, 1GB)
Regional plans:Yes

aloSIM specializes in providing eSIM solutions tailored for frequent travelers, offering virtual SIM cards that ensure uninterrupted mobile connectivity globally and eliminating the need for physical SIM cards. Ideal for those who travel to both the UK and Ireland.

Accessibility. aloSIM partners with reputable local mobile service providers in the UK, ensuring reliable data coverage. Internet connectivity options include 5G and LTE networks. In the UK, aloSIM supports 3, O2, and EE networks. On Android devices, the data package will not activate until you complete all activation steps. But on iOS devices, this could happen during eSIM installation, which is why it’s best to install it right before the trip.

Customer support. There’s a comprehensive FAQ section on aloSIM’s website to help you find answers to the most common questions yourself. But if you have a more complex issue or question, you can also use the support chat.

eSIM plans. aloSIM offers regional plans and local plans. If you plan to travel to the UK and Ireland, there’s a plan that covers both regions. Unfortunately, the United Kingdom is not included in the list of countries covered by the European plan.

Pricing. If you opt for the joint UK-Ireland-Scotland plan, you can choose from 4 plans that range from $4.50 (7 days, 1GB) to $20.00 (30 days, 10GB). There are 6 local UK plans, each with an increasing amount of mobile data. They range from $5.00 (7 days, 1GB) to $36.00 (30 days, 20GB) in pricing.

6. Instabridge – trusted eSIM with easy setup

Instabridge banner
Coverage190+ countries, including the UK
Starting price:From $2.50 (7 days, 1GB)
Regional plans:Yes

Instabridge is one of the most budget-friendly options for travelers. You can get eSIM plans for as little as $2.50 for a local plan, and regional plans start from just $3.00.

Accessibility. Instabridge partners with local Wi-Fi providers and businesses to offer extensive network coverage in the UK, ensuring reliable internet connectivity. Instabridge activation is simple and does not require a physical SIM card. Users can download the app, create an account, and start using the service.

Customer support. To contact Instabridge support, you can fill out a form on the provider’s website. Support agents will contact you via email. There are also support articles and FAQ answers available.

eSIM plans. You can use Instabridge’s eSIM when you travel to the UK either with the local UK plan or the comprehensive Europe plan that covers 34 countries. Once your data runs out, you can continue using the service using pay-as-you-go rates.

Pricing. There are three options to choose from if you opt for the European plan. You can either pay $3.00 (7 days, 1GB), $8.00 (15 days, 3GB), or $17.00 (30 days, 10GB). The local plans are identical to the regional plans when it comes to terms and data amount, except that the pricing is $2.50, $6.00, or $12.00.

Does my phone support eSIM?

Before getting an eSIM, you need to check your phone’s compatibility. This will largely depend on the make and model. Fortunately, most new smartphones support eSIMs. In fact, some don’t even have physical SIM card holders anymore.

Here’s how to check if your phone supports eSIM:

  • Android. Go to Settings > Connection > SIM card manager. If the Add eSIM option exists, the technology is supported by your device.
  • iPhone. Go to Settings > General > About. If you see the Available SIM option and a 15-digit IMEI number, eSIM is supported.

Another issue to consider is locked phones. If your phone is locked, you might not be able to use an eSIM. This shouldn’t be a problem for European travelers, but if you live in the US, for example, you will want to contact your operator and ask them if your phone is locked and if it’s possible to unlock it.

Benefits of using an eSIM in the United Kingdom

Using an eSIM in the United Kingdom offers several benefits, including:

  • Instant data access. Activate your eSIM immediately upon arrival and gain instant access to data services without the need to wait for a physical SIM card.
  • Effortless activation. Skip the hassle of visiting a store – activate your eSIM instantly for quick and efficient connectivity, saving time and effort.
  • Retain your number. Keep your usual phone number while utilizing the eSIM for seamless access to data services, ensuring continuity and convenience.
  • No physical SIM is required. Avoid the inconvenience of removing your physical SIM card or searching for a store to purchase a new one while traveling, streamlining the process of getting connected.
  • Cost and speed benefits. Say goodbye to expensive and slow roaming data offered by your home country's mobile SIM card providers – eSIMs offer competitive rates and faster connectivity options.
  • Easy data top-ups. With some eSIM providers, you can easily replenish your data allowance, allowing for quick top-ups when needed, ensuring you stay connected without interruptions.

Things to know about using an eSIM in UK

When using eSIM in the United Kingdom, keep these crucial factors in mind:

  • Ensure your phone is unlocked. Locked phones are tied to a specific local mobile service provider, restricting the use of eSIM cards.
  • Check phone compatibility. Not all mobile phones support eSIM cards, so verify that your device is compatible before purchasing an eSIM plan.
  • Calling and phone number features. Understand that not all eSIM plans support calling and provide a phone number. Some eSIMs may only allow receiving calls and SMS, not outgoing calls or SMS.
  • Timing of activation. Be aware that the validity of some eSIM cards begins after installation, while others start upon connecting to a supported network for the first time. Some eSIM cards also must be activated before the trip commences. Avoid activating the eSIM card too early or too late to maximize its validity period.
  • Activation process. It’s important to understand common activation methods such as QR code activation, app-based activation, or SMS activation. Choose the method that suits your preferences and follow the instructions provided by your eSIM provider.
  • Expiration period. Note that there may be a time limit for activating the eSIM card, typically within 1-3 months of purchase. After this period, the eSIM may expire, so it's essential to activate it within the specified timeframe to avoid any issues.

How to make calls with eSIM

Ready to make calls with your eSIM? Here are the options available to you:

  • Choose an eSIM provider with a calling option. Seek out eSIM providers that offer plans with phone numbers for making calls, ensuring you have the necessary features for voice communication.
  • Utilize a domestic SIM card. While eSIMs primarily offer data plans, you can use a physical SIM card from your home country for calling purposes. This allows you to use your existing phone number and plan for calls while using the eSIM for data services.
  • Employ VoIP apps. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) apps such as Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime, or Google Voice provide an alternative option for making calls over the Internet. These apps use your data connection to make calls, bypassing traditional cellular voice networks and offering cost-effective communication solutions.

Final thoughts on eSIMs for UK

We've thoroughly tested and selected the finest eSIMs for traveling in the United Kingdom and neighbouring countries. Whether you're after budget-friendly data plans, effortless connectivity, or dependable customer support, our curated list of best eSIMs is here to save the day.

Saily is the best eSIM for UK travelers because of its easy setup, professional 24/7 support, wide global coverage, and great prices. While the cheapest option costs just $4.69 and covers 1GB for a whole week, for $33.99, you can enjoy 20GB for a whole month.

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