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United Kingdom: 6 Best eSIMs Compared + Discounts (2022)

The United Kingdom (UK) – consisting of England, Northern Ireland (not the Republic of Ireland), Scotland & Wales, is known for historical reasons – the British Empire.

Nowadays, it is famous for the Queen and various pop stars like the Beatles, Phil Collins & the Rolling Stones.

While the country is infamous for its depressing weather, it is still a popular travel destination.

From the Tube (London Underground) to castles. From Museums to the Red Phone Boxes, there is plenty to see and do in the United Kingdom.

While the country may not be the best place for a 2-week tanning summer holiday, there is no reason to be bored in the United Kingdom.

But, the country is not known for being cheap.

Sure, there are more expensive travel destinations in Europe, but the United Kingdom is not on the cheap side at all.

And it would be a shame if your travel budget would be wasted on expensive international roaming bills – roaming can be costly.

Luckily, there is a cheat code to avoid these rates – using a travel eSIMs, which are almost always cheaper than international roaming.

So, how much do British (travel) eSIMs cost?

You can get an eSIM for the United Kingdom for as low as 5 USD up to 99 USD from Airalo (with Uki Mobile), Holafly & Nomad, offering between 1 GB and truly unlimited data.

There are some mobile operators who will charge you 100 USD for only 100 MB of roaming data, so these travel eSIM offers are much better than most international roaming deals.

In this guide, I will go over the eSIM options offered by the British mobile operators (if available), Airalo, Holafly & Nomad. Let's get started.

Buying an eSIM for the United Kingdom Guide (logos of Airalo, Holafly, Nomad & Uki Mobile)

Original publication: 17th of August 2022. Last updated: 20th of August 2022.


Table of Contents

eSIMs offered by the British Mobile Operators

In order to get the best performance out there, it is often recommended to go directly with the local mobile operators because you will get a higher priority on the network compared to roaming.

Unfortunately, none of the mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers in the United Kingdom (yet).

But you still have several eSIM options.

Travel eSIM providers Airalo (with Uki Mobile), Holafly & Nomad offer attractive eSIMs for the United Kingdom, allowing them to be set up before arriving in the United Kingdom and activating them as soon as you land.

Very convenient, right? And I have used eSIMs from Airalo, Holafly & Nomad before, and I can assure you they work well!

Phone Travel Wiz Approved Seal

So let's check out all the options, shall we?


Airalo eSIMs for the United Kingdom (Uki Mobile)

United Kingdom Uki Mobile eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

Airalo eSIMs are my favorite travel eSIMs out there because they are always good value for money compared to other travel eSIM providers (especially travel eSIMs not mentioned in this guide).

And the same can be said for the Uki Mobile eSIM – 10 GB of data is available for only 22.50 USD.

The Uki Mobile eSIM uses the O2 UK network.

O2 Logo
© O2

So even if you go to some remote British town, you will still have reception with the Uki Mobile eSIM.

Alright, you have four British Uki Mobile eSIM options:

  1. United Kingdom/Uki Mobile 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 5 USD
  2. United Kingdom/Uki Mobile 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 10 USD (most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers)
  3. United Kingdom/Uki Mobile 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 15 USD
  4. United Kingdom/Uki Mobile 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 22.50 USD
United Kingdom Uki Mobile eSIM Airalo (with prices)

When I say that the 3 GB variant is loved by Phone Travel Wiz readers, all readers get the 3 GB variant.

So yeah, it is really popular.

For Airalo eSIMs, the links above will automatically get you the Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers available – a code is not necessary.

Honestly, the Uki Mobile eSIM gives you the best bang for your buck, and it is the eSIM I recommend the most for the United Kingdom.

Airalo Uki Mobile eSIM Pros

So, why should you get the Uki Mobile eSIMs? Well, because of the following:

  • You can purchase and set up your Uki Mobile eSIM before arriving in the United Kingdom (and activate it upon landing)
  • You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to O2 UK network
  • The eSIMs are affordable and have generous data allowances
  • You can avoid expensive international roaming fees

But it is not all good news with Airalo though – there are some disadvantages.

Airalo Uki Mobile eSIM Cons

So, why should you not get the Uki Mobile eSIM?

  • The United Kingdom mobile operators have much more generous data allowances
  • While you get access to O2 UK's network, your speeds will not be as fast as going with O2 UK itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
  • There is no 5G NR access with the Uki Mobile eSIM
  • You cannot call or text with the Uki Mobile eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
  • You cannot get in-person support (Airalo gets back to you by email fast, but you cannot visit an Airalo store because there are none)

Airalo Uki Mobile eSIM Overall Thoughts

Overall, the Airalo Uki Mobile eSIM is a great eSIM offering a lot for the money you pay (especially compared to many non-EU countries).

You get fast speeds and access to O2 UK without standing in queues or dealing with SIM card registration bureaucracy.

But if making actual phone calls and sending real text messages are important to you (so not through an app like WhatsApp), you may want to buy a British SIM card instead.


Holafly eSIMs for the United Kingdom

Holafly Logo
© Holafly

The second eSIM provider I recommend is Holafly.

It started something revolutionary in June 2022.

Holafly offers unlimited data plans for the United Kingdom, many other European Union member states & a few other countries.

From what I know, Holafly is the first to offer unlimited data plans for so many countries WITHOUT a Fair-Use Policy.

And that is super exciting!

Now, I have to say that the unlimited data plans offered by Holafly are more expensive than the Airalo Uki Mobile eSIM or the eSIMs sold by Nomad.

But if you do not want to worry about data allowances, Holafly is the one to go for.

The Holafly eSIMs use the Vodafone UK & Three (3) UK networks.

You have the following seven options with Holafly:

United Kingdom eSIMs Holafly

While I do not know which variant Phone Travel Wiz readers go with, I can tell you that the Holafly eSIMs are popular with those who simply do not want to worry about data caps.

And based on the emails I have received, the 20-, 30- & 60-day plans are popular because those who buy Holafly eSIMs tend to stay in the United Kingdom for a prolonged period to explore the country.

As I recently started my collaboration with Holafly, it offers 5% off each purchase whenever you use code PHONETRAVELWIZ – how cool is that?

Of course, there are some pros and cons with going with Holafly, so let's go over them.

Holafly United Kingdom eSIM Pros

So, why should you get the Holafly eSIMs? Well, because of the following:

  • You can purchase and set up your Holafly United Kingdom eSIM before arriving in the United Kingdom (and activate it upon landing)
  • You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access on the Vodafone UK & Three (3) UK networks – the best network in the United Kingdom
  • You do not have to deal with data caps because you get unlimited data (65 GB – here I come!)
  • You can avoid expensive international roaming fees

But it is not all good news with Holafly though – there are some disadvantages.

Holafly United Kingdom eSIM eSIM Cons

So, why should you not get a Holafly United Kingdom eSIM?

  • While the British mobile operators do not offer unlimited data plans (yet), their plans are much cheaper than Holafly
  • While you get access to the Three (3) UK network – the best network in the United Kingdom – your speeds will not be as fast as going with Three (3) UK itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
  • There is no 5G NR access with the Holafly eSIM
  • You cannot call or text with the Holafly eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
  • You cannot get in-person support (Holafly gets back to you by email fast, but you cannot visit an Holafly store because there are none)
  • Holafly is the most expensive travel eSIM provider in this guide

Holafly United Kingdom eSIM Overall Thoughts

Overall, the Holafly United Kingdom eSIM is an excellent eSIM for those who hate data caps and just want to use data the way they want.

You get fast speeds and access to the Three (3) UK network, which has the best 4G/LTE network in the United Kingdom.

However, Holafly is the most expensive option in this guide and may not be the best for budget travelers.

Luckily, we still have one more United Kingdom-specific travel eSIM to go through, which is cheaper than Holafly and has an option offering double the data allowance of Airalo, which is…


Nomad eSIMs for United Kingdom

Nomad eSIMs Logo
© Nomad

The last eSIM provider I recommend is Nomad.

Nomad is just in the middle.

But that does not mean Nomad is bad – not at all.

The Nomad United Kingdom eSIM uses the O2 network.

Nomad is a bit more expensive than Airalo's Uki Mobile eSIM but cheaper than Holafly.

You have the following five options with Nomad:

  1. United Kingdom 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 5 USD/5 EUR/4.50 GBP/6.50 CAD
  2. United Kingdom 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 9 USD/9 EUR/7.50 GBP/12 CAD
  3. United Kingdom 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 11 USD/11 EUR/9.50 GBP/14.50 CAD
  4. United Kingdom 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 14 USD/14 EUR/12 GBP/18.50 CAD
  5. United Kingdom 20 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 21 USD/21 EUR/17.50 GBP/27.50 CAD
United Kingdom eSIMs Nomad
United Kingdom Value Pack eSIMs Nomad

By the way, you can get 3 USD off of your first Nomad purchase by using code ADU123 – how cool is that?

Of course, going with Nomad has some pros and cons, so let's go over them.

Nomad United Kingdom eSIM Pros

So, why should you get the Nomad eSIMs? Well, because of the following:

  • You can purchase and set up your Nomad United Kingdom eSIM before arriving in the United Kingdom (and activate it upon landing)
  • You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to O2 UK network
  • The eSIMs are affordable and have generous data allowances
  • You can avoid expensive international roaming fees

But it is not all good news with Nomad though – there are some disadvantages.

Nomad United Kingdom eSIM Cons

So, why should you not get a Nomad United Kingdom eSIM?

  • While you get access to O2 UK's network, your speeds will not be as fast as going with O2 UK itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
  • There is no 5G NR access with the Nomad United Kingdom eSIM
  • You cannot call or text with the Nomad United Kingdom eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
  • You cannot get in-person support (Nomad gets back to you by email fast, but you cannot visit a Nomad store because there are none)
  • Airalo is cheaper than Nomad with all variants

Nomad United Kingdom eSIM Overall Thoughts

Overall, the Nomad eSIM is a great premium eSIM offering.

However, just like the other travel eSIMs mentioned in this guide, you do not get a (local) phone number with the Nomad United Kingdom eSIM.

Moreover, Nomad is not the cheapest option out there (that would be Airalo).


Best eSIMs for in Europe (not just United Kingdom)

So what if you plan to visit neighboring Belgium? Denmark? France? Or any other country in the European Union?

Unfortunately, you cannot use your Airalo Uki Mobile, Holafly United Kingdom, or Nomad United Kingdom eSIMs in any country than the United Kingdom.

However, the three eSIM providers do have eSIMs covering all of the European Union and European Economic area + some other countries.

I highly recommend these Europe eSIMs if you plan to visit multiple European countries to save money!

Airalo Eurolink Europe eSIM

Eurolink Europe eSIM Airalo
© Airalo

The Eurolink eSIM is the most popular Airalo eSIM, per Phone Travel Wiz readers.

Most readers tend to visit multiple European countries, so they would rather have a travel eSIM covering multiple countries than just one (like the United Kingdom).

The Eurolink eSIM can be used in 39 countries in Europe, including all nations in the European Union (EU).

The eSIM can be used from Iceland to Ukraine and Norway to Spain.

Below is a complete overview of countries the Eurolink eSIM works in:

With the Eurolink eSIM, you can save a lot of money by skipping the initial SIM card costs per country you visit – averaging 10.78 USD/country in Europe!

Below is an overview of how much each Eurolink eSIM costs:

  1. Europe/Eurolink 1 GB eSIM for 1 day, costing 5 USD
  2. Europe/Eurolink 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USDmost popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  3. Europe/Eurolink 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USDvery popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  4. Europe/Eurolink 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 37 USDvery popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
  5. Europe/Eurolink 50 GB eSIM for 90 days, costing 100 USD
  6. Europe/Eurolink 100 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 185 USD
Eurolink Europe eSIM Airalo (with Prices)

Honestly, the Eurolink eSIM is my favorite Europe travel eSIM out there. Affordable, extensive & good value for your money.

I also used it during my 1-month tour throughout Europe in 12 countries.

Airalo Eurolink eSIM Review by Phone Travel Wiz

So yeah, you can say I have some experience with the Eurolink eSIM 😏.

Holafly & Nomad eSIMs for Europe

Holafly and Nomad also have eSIMs covering all of the European Union (and more).

But honestly, the Eurolink eSIM is superior (but you can consider the Holafly Europe eSIM if you want unlimited data in 30+ countries – just do not forget about code PHONETRAVELWIZ if you go with Holafly).


Overview of the Best eSIMs for the United Kingdom

Unfortunately, none of the British mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers.

But that is fine – we discussed several other options in this guide!

In terms of the travel eSIMs, this would be my recommendation order:

  • Airalo's Uki Mobile United Kingdom eSIM (best value for money)
  • Airalo's Eurolink Europe eSIM (best value for money when also visiting other European countries)
  • Holafly United Kingdom eSIM (truly unlimited data plans at premium prices)
  • Nomad United Kingdom eSIM (switches to the best network, allowing for excellent reception at all times)
  • Holafly Europe eSIM (truly unlimited data plans when also visiting other European countries at premium prices)
  • Nomad Europe eSIM (the best of both worlds in terms of pricing and performance)

Remember to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for Holafly eSIMs and code ADU123 for Nomad eSIMs – a code is not necessary for Airalo eSIM purchases.


Buying a SIM Card in the United Kingdom

Want to just use a SIM card but not your current one because roaming will be criminally expensive?

Consider getting a British SIM card instead – local SIM cards are the cheapest way to stay connected abroad.

Buying a SIM Card in the United Kingdom Guide (logos of EE, Vodafone, 3/Three, O2, VOXI, ASDA Movile, GiffGaff, iD Mobile, Lebara, Lycamobile, Superdrug Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Vectone Mobile & VOXI)

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