Jersey and Guernsey are known as the 2 main islands for the Channel Islands. You also have Alderney, Brecqhou, Herm, Jethou, and Sark.
What can you do in Jersey? You can visit the Elizabeth Castle, Mont Orgueil Castle, and the Jersey War Tunnels. What about Guernsey? You have the Castle Cornet, the Little Chapel, and Victor Hugo House. Both islands are full of history.
What should also be history is dealing with expensive roaming bills you get from roaming with your provider in the Channel Islands. Roaming can be expensive in many cases, which is wht many travelers prefer to buy local SIM cards.
In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in the Channel Islands. Let's go.
Telecom Providers in the Channel Islands
The Channel Islands have 3 telecom providers:
- Sure Jersey and Sure Guernsey
- JT Jersey and JT Guernsey
All these providers have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.
Best SIM Card in the Channel Islands
If you want to buy a SIM card in the Channel, I would recommend going with either Sure, JT, or Airtel-Vodafone. All operators have good coverage and have similar pricing and perks. Sure is, however, the fastest operator in the Channel Islands.
Like many countries in Western Europe, and Europe in general, you do not have to register yourself when buying a SIM card in the Channel Islands.
The Channel Islands are self-governing British Crown dependencies. This means that they are not countries, nor are they part of the United Kingdom. However, the islands are ruled by the British monarchy.
The Channel Islands consists of, besides Jersey and Guernsey, of the following 5 permanently inhabited islands:
Only the Guernsey counterpart considers the smaller islands as on-net usage. In contrast, the Jersey counterpart treats those islands as off-net networks.
Some think the Isle of Man is part of the Channel Islands. That is not the case. Whereas the Channel Islands is in the English Channel, the Isle of Man is in the Irish Sea. Check the Isle of Man SIM card buying guide if you are interested in the Isle of Man.
Do note that Sure/JT Jersey/Guernsey are separate operators, even though they are from the same company. Prices are almost always the same on both islands. However, one may include both islands in their allowances. At the same time, the other only allows you to use your perks for local use (either Jersey or Guernsey). In all cases, the combo plans cost the same on both islands and come with the same allowance (in terms of size).
A special reminder for those from the EU/EEA: The Channel Islands are not part of the EU or EEA, which means that the Roam like Home rule does not apply in the Channel Islands. Therefore, it is recommended that European citizens with EU SIM cards buy a local SIM card instead of roaming with their providers. Some providers, however, offer free roaming in the Channel Islands (usually either Jersey, Guernsey, or both), but this is not the case for all. Be sure to check your provider’s site to learn whether you can roam for free or not.
Do note that using your Channel Islands SIM card when in the United Kingdom is treated as roaming by all operators. It is, therefore, recommended to turn off data roaming when in the United Kingdom, and even turn off regular data if not planning on roaming.
The country code in the United Kingdom is +44, which is also used in the Channel Islands. Some phones may consider British networks as a local network while using a Channel Islands card, which could result in roaming charges. That is why it is also recommended to turn off normal mobile data when not planning on roaming with a Channel Islands SIM card.
With that being said, let’s see what the Channel Islands have to offer to us.
Sure Jersey & Sure Guernsey
You can get a Sure Pay-As-You-Go SIM card for free at Sure stores (High Street in Guernsey and King Street in Jersey) and from other retailers. Although the SIM card is given away for free, you have to top up at least 5 GBP before it gets activated.
Sure top-up cards are widely available in denominations of 5 GBP, 10 GBP, and 20 GBP. To top up, dial *#101*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, you would dial *101*123456#. Dial *#100# to check your Sure Balance.
Sure has 2 Pay-As-You-Go (prepaid) SIM cards, which are
The Classic SIM card does not have any (data) bundles and will charge you 0.05 GBP per minute, SMS, or MB (or 51.20 GBP/GB) with Sure Guernsey. Sure Jersey will charge you 0.06 GBP per minute, SMS, or MB (or 61.44 GBP/GB). The Rewards SIM card does come with data packs, which is why I recommend them over the Classic SIM card.
Sure has 3 bundles with their Rewards plan:
- 5 GBP: 5 GB, 500 minutes, and 500 SMS for 7 days
- 10 GBP: 10 GB, 1000 minutes, and 1000
- 20 GBP: 20 GB, 10 000 minutes, and 10 000 SMS
JT Jersey & JT Guernsey
JT SIM cards are sold for 3 GBP and come with 3 GBP in credit. Jersey has 2 JT shops: Queen Street and High Street. Guernsey has 1 shop at High Street. Top-up vouchers are sold in many establishments. Dial *#133# to check your JT balance.
JT has 3 combo plans. The credit amount you top-up will be valid for a year, whereas the perks have a short validity:
- 5 GBP: 5 GB, 500 minutes, and 500 SMS for 7 days
- 10 GBP: 12 GB, 1000 minutes, and 1000 SMS for 14 days
- 25 GBP: 20 GB, 10 000 minutes, and 10 000 SMS for 30 days
Note: In Jersey, the minutes can be used for JT to JT calls. In Guernsey, the minutes can be used for off-net calls as well. With JT Jersey, you can make off-net calls for 0.04 GBP/min for 4 GBP per month instead of the usual 0.39 GBP/min. Dial #145*50# to activate this feature and #146*50# to deactivate it.
Be aware that the data allowances mentioned above are applicable when activated with the JT app. If enabled online (website) or in a JT shop, you will get 500 MB, 3 GB, and 10 GB, respectively.
Airtel-Vodafone is the youngest operator in Jersey and Guernsey, which entered as a partnership between Bharti Airtel (India) and Vodafone UK in 2007. Their coverage is on par with Sure and JT.
You can get an Airtel-Vodafone Pay-As-You-Go SIM card for free in Airtel-Vodafone stores (Castle Street in Jersey and High Street in Guernsey). They have 2 types of SIM cards:
- Island Plan
- Switch SIM
The Island plan is sold for 15 GBP and comes with 15 GB and unlimited local calls and calls to the United Kingdom for 30 days.
The Switch SIM comes with 2.50 GBP in credit. The following 4 combo plans are available:
- 2.50 GBP: 2 GB, unlimited Snapchat, Facebook, and Facebook messenger, and 25 local minutes and SMS for 15 days
- 5 GBP: 5 GB, unlimited on-net minutes, and 50 minutes and SMS to Bangladesh, the Channel Islands, India Poland, Portugal, Romania, the United Kingdom, all for 10 days
- 10 GBP: 10 GB, unlimited on-net minutes, and 100 minutes and SMS to Bangladesh, the Channel Islands, India Poland, Portugal, Romania, the United Kingdom, all for 20 days
- 20 GBP: 20 GB, unlimited on-net minutes, and 250 minutes and SMS to Bangladesh, the Channel Islands, India Poland, Portugal, Romania, the United Kingdom, all for 30 days
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Channel Islands
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Channel Islands
Getting a SIM card from either Sure, TJ, or Airtel-Vodafone would do you well when considering a Channel Islands SIM card.
Local Prepaid SIM Cards in Other European Countries
Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.
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