Buying a Prepaid SIM Card in the Isle of Man Guide

Logos of Telecom Operators in the Isle of Man: Sure Isle of Man and Manx Telecom

The Isle of Man is home to the Manx cat, which is a unique type of cat with short or no tails. They are quite interesting, I would say.

What can you do in the Isle of Man? There are plenty of castles to explore, like the Peel Castle and Castle Rushen. Snaefell is a mountain that has a cable car to the top, and the Calf of Man is popular for boats. Also, you certainly have to visit the Manx Museum. The Isle of Man is a great adventure destination.

You probably want to share your Isle of Man experiences online, but roaming with your provider can be expensive in many cases. A local SIM card, like a Manx one, can be a cost-effective way to stay connected while in the Isle of Man.

In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in the Isle of Man. Let's get started.

Telecom Providers in the Isle of Man

The Isle of Man has 2 telecom providers:

  • Manx Telecom
  • Sure Telecom Isle of Man

Both operators have 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks.

What SIM card should you buy when visiting the Isle of Man? If you want to buy a SIM card in the Isle of Man, I would recommend going with either Manx Telecom or Sure Telecom. Both operators have good coverage throughout the island and offer similar perks for similar prices.

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Like many countries in Western Europe, and Europe in general, you do not have to register yourself when buying a SIM card in the Isle of Man.

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 Channel Islands SIM card buying guide if you are interested in the Channel Islands.  

The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown dependency. This means that it is not a country, nor is it part of the United Kingdom. However, the island is ruled by the British monarchy.

A special reminder for those from the EU/EEA: The Isle of Man is not part of the EU or EEA, which means that the Roam like Home rule does not apply in the Isle of Man. Therefore, it is recommended that European citizens with EU SIM cards buy a Manx SIM card instead of roaming with their providers. Some providers, however, offer free roaming in the Isle of Man, 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.

Manx is the demonym of the Isle of Man. In other words, that is how you refer to people and businesses from the Isle of Man. When I say “Manx SIM card,” I mean the SIM cards of both Manx Telecom and Sure Telecom Isle of Man, not solely Manx Telecom.

Do note that using your Manx SIM card when in the United Kingdom is treated as roaming by both Manx Telecom and Sure Telecom Isle of Man. 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 Isle of Man. Some phones may consider British networks as a local network while using a Manx SIM 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 Manx SIM card.

With that being said, let’s see what Manx Telecom and Sure Telecom Isle of Man have to offer to us.

Video Guide for Buying a SIM Card in the Isle of Man

Want to watch the video version of this Isle of Man local SIM card guide? You bet! Check the video down below, and make sure to subscribe!

Manx Telecom

Manx Telecom Logo

Manx Telecom is the largest operator in the Isle of Man. They have good coverage throughout the island.

Manx Telecom Pay-as-you-go SIM cards are sold for 5 GBP, with 5 GBP in credit, in the Manx Telecom store on Strand Street, Douglas. You can also get the SIM card at the information desk at Isle of Man Airport and from other retailers. Ask for their 4G SIM card when planning on using their 4G/LTE network.

Manx Telecom Pay-As-You-Go (prepaid) top-up vouchers are sold for 5 GBP, 10 GBP, and 20 GBP in many stores throughout the Isle of Man. To top-up, dial *142*VoucherCode#. For example, if your voucher code is 123456, then you would dial *142*123456#.

Manx Telecom does not really have data packs. Instead, you get perks for each top-up. The following 3 top-up perks are available:

  • 5 GBP: 5 GB for 7 days, 200 local minutes and SMS for 7 days, and 5 GBP credit for 90 days
  • 10 GBP: 1 GB for 14 days, 1 GB UK roaming for 14 days, 500 local minutes and SMS for 14 days, and 10 GBP credit for 90 days
  • 20 GBP: 20 GB for 30 days, 2 GB UK roaming for 30 days, 10 000 local minutes and SMS for 30 days, and 20 GBP credit for 90 days

Moreover, incoming calls are free when in the Channel Islands, in Ireland, or in the United Kingdom. You also get access to Manx WIFI for free.

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Sure Telecom Isle of Man

Sure Telecom Logo

Sure Telecom Isle of Man, just Sure Telecom, is Manx Telecom’s rival on the Isle of Man.

Sure Telecom has 2 Pay-As-You-Go (prepaid) SIM cards, which are both sold for 5 GBP in Sure stores (Strand Street, Douglas and Orchard Walk, Port Erin) and at other retailers. Officially, the Sure SIM cards are free, but they require a 5 GBP top up to be activated. The 2 prepaid SIM card variants are:

  • Classic
  • Rewards

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). The Rewards SIM card does come with data packs, which is why I recommend them over the Classic SIM card.

Sure Telecom 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 SMS + 1 GB, 100 minutes, and 100 SMS when roaming in Zone 1 destinations for 14 days
  • 20 GBP: 20 GB, 10 000 minutes, and 10 000 SMS + 2 GB, 200 minutes, and 200 SMS when roaming in Zone 1 destinations for 30 days

Zone 1 destinations are: Guernsey, Ireland, Jersey, and the United Kingdom

Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Isle of Man

Now you know everything about buying a SIM card in the Isle of Man, but what are your other options? Although buying a local SIM card is almost always the cheapest option, the cheapest option would be using free WIFI connections in the Isle of Man, but you can also roam with your provider in the Isle of Man, use an international SIM card in the Isle of Man, or use a mobile hotspot in the Isle of Man. Let’s see what our options are.

Using Free WIFI hotspots in the Isle of Man

Using something free is always better than paying for something. However, sometimes, free stuff may be of bad quality. Sure, you do not have to pay anything for using a free hotspot (unless you are required to purchase a beverage or meal at an establishment), but it may be a challenge to find a free hotspot. Moreover, the connection may be so slow that it is practically useless.

In the case of the Isle of Man, there will be many hotspots around.

Do note that public hotspots are unsecure. Hackers love to steal sensitive information on unprotected connections because it is apparently easy to do so. That is why I use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when using a public hotspot, and I would encourage you to do so too.

What a VPN does is creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the hotspot so that your data will stay private. I use NordVPN, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your NordVPN subscription now!

Roaming with Your Provider in the Isle of Man

Roaming is a term used in wireless telecommunication that indicates a mobile device is outside the range of its home network and has connected to a different, available cell network. Let’s say your provider is Gibtelecom from Gibraltar, then you would be roaming with Gibtelecom in the Isle of Man.

Roaming may be the most convenient way of using your phone abroad. You do not have to buy a new SIM card, which, in turn, means you do not have to swap SIM cards. As a result, your friends and family from home can easily reach you on your cell. With many providers, the only thing you need to do is to turn on the data roaming setting on your phone, and you are good to go.

No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!

Although roaming with your provider may be the most convenient way of staying connected in the Isle of Man, it can also be the most expensive option. There have been many horror stories where people have racked up roaming bills up in the thousands and even more than ten thousand.

Luckily, many providers have affordable roaming plans, allow you to roam for free in some destinations like the Isle of Man, or allow you to use your plan’s allowance in the Isle of Man. For example, with Virgin Mobile Canada, you can use your plan’s allowance for 12 Canadian dollars per day. This may be affordable in some destinations for a small number of days, but it will be expensive for prolonged periods.

If you are unsure about the roaming options of your provider, I have written many articles about roaming with various operators around the world. I analyze them in-depth and give you my advice on whether you should roam with your provider or not. If yes, I also state for how long you should roam to take the most advantage of the offer.

One thing that should be avoided at all costs is to Pay As You Go roaming where you pay per minute, SMS, or MB. This is how many people get expensive roaming bills because the roaming prices for data are usually extremely high.

If you want to roam, make sure to get a roaming plan. Unless your provider offers extremely low Pay As You Go roaming rates, which is only a handful of providers, then you can consider doing so. Furthermore, if your provider lets you roam for free in the Isle of Man, then you should go for it. Just note that your speeds will be lower as a roamer than if you were to buy a Manz SIM card.

Using an International SIM Card in the Isle of Man

International SIM cards are SIM cards that work internationally. Most SIM cards do work abroad, but then you have to roam with your provider. International SIM cards, however, let’s you use one SIM card in many destinations around the world for, often, the same price. This way, your friends and families can still reach out to you while traveling.

International SIM cards are, however, much more expensive than buying a local SIM card in many cases, but they are often cheaper than to roam with your provider. There are many international SIM card providers out there, but a few providers I can recommend are OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner.

simoptions banner
Surfroam Banner

International SIM cards are useful for those who frequently travel for leisure or for business. That way, everyone can reach you on one number instead of a handful of local numbers scattered around the world.

Moreover, many destinations in the world require you to register yourself before you can buy a local SIM card. In some countries, the process is quick, while others require much more of your time. Furthermore, the registration process may be cumbersome in countries.

Finally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some. It can be a challenge dealing with a salesperson who does not understand you. They may try and sell you the most expensive option out there. Luckily, you know the prices of SIM cards and packs in the Isle of Man, so you cannot be taken advantage of.

My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple destinations in one trip, an international SIM card could be handy. If you want to learn more about international SIM cards, check out my international SIM card comparison article, where I analyze 10 international SIM card providers so that you do not have to.

Using a Mobile Hotspot in the Isle of Man

A mobile hotspot is a portable, battery-powered wireless router that allows you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are compact and lightweight so that you take them along with you whenever you need internet access on the go.

Many companies have created mobile hotspots (just have a quick search on Amazon, for example, you will find many). Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi are reputable pocket WIFI providers I know. You can get a discount if you rent a router through Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ. Cellular access with Skyroam starts at $8 a day while using a Vision Global device starts at $2 a day. Travelwifi offers Teppy, the name of the pocket WIFI, starting from $7 per day. All these services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.

Travelwifi banner

I often recommend mobile hotspots to those who are traveling in groups or with families. They can save groups a lot of money if they are visiting destinations where buying multiple SIM cards would become an expensive endeavor.

I recently wrote an article analyzing the 7 Best Mobile Hotspots for Travelers like yourself, which should be an interesting read if pocket WIFI is something you are considering. I do reviews of individual devices every now and then, so check out my mobile hotspot category to stay up to date.

The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in the Isle of Man

Getting a SIM card from either Manx Telecom or Sure Telecom would do you well when considering a Manx SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.

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You could also consider getting an international SIM card or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards like OneSimCard, SimOptions, Surfroam, BNESIM, and SimCorner are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots like Skyroam, Vision Global Wireless, and Travelwifi will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.

Going to other countries in Western Europe (or Southwestern Europe)? Check out my Western Europe SIM card buying guide, covering other West European nations, such as (Andorra), Belgium, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, (Portugal), (Spain), and the United Kingdom

What about other places in Europe? My Europe SIM card buying guide covers all European destinations, such as Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, and Turkey.

Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.

What is next?

Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!

Book Your Flight for the Isle of Man

It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to the Isle of Man. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to the Isle of Man drop.

Travel by Train within Europe with InterRail or EURail

Although low-cost carriers are a big thing in Europe, they are not the best way to experience Europe. Everyone knows that the European railway system is awesome. InterRail/EURail makes it much easier to explore Europe by train by having one ticket for participating countries instead of having to buy multiple tickets per country. InterRail is for European citizens and EURail is for non-European citizens.

Book Your Accommodation for the Isle of Man

I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in the Isle of Man. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a Manx hotel.

Get Your Travel Insurance for the Isle of Man

You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in the Isle of Man, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.

Get a Travel Debit Card

Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to British Pounds for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.

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Enjoy your trip!

Ernest Adu

Ernest Adu, going by just Adu, is the founder and editor at Phone Travel Wiz. He has been a traveler for 6 years. Although from Europe, the Netherlands, Adu's favorite region in Asia, in particular, East and Southeast Asia. He currently lives in Tainan, Taiwan, and plans on exploring Oceania and more of East and Southeast Asia.

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