Do you regularly call a number of people in different countries outside of the UK? Maybe you’re in a business that requires you to call overseas clients or maybe you have family who live abroad.
Making a lot of international calls on a standard rate can get expensive, so you might be thinking of getting an international SIM card. Whatever your reason for making frequent calls abroad, an international SIM or an international calls bolt-on to your existing mobile plan will save you a lot of money. We've laid out all the options right here.
There are two options for calling abroad with EE. The first is an international SIM – choose from the £10 International Pack or the £15 version. The SIMs last for 30 days. The £10 package comes with 500MB data, 150 minutes, and 150 texts. Or for £15, you get 3GB data, 250 minutes, and 500 texts. You can buy an EE International SIM card on the EE website, where there’s also a tool for checking which countries are included.
The second option is an international add-on for existing EE customers. Choose from the International for £10 per month (this covers 50 countries and comes with 500 minutes) or the International Extra pack for £15 per month (which covers 100 countries and comes with 250 minutes). To buy, simply text 500INTL1 for the International or 250INTL2 for the International Extra. Just make sure you check which countries are covered in each add-on before you buy.
If you're thinking about getting a new mobile deal and you like the sound of EE, visit our EE mobile review to help you decide.
If you already have a Vodafone Red Entertainment pay monthly plan, you get 500 international minutes included as standard. If you're not, and you want to call friends and family who are overseas, you can pay for one of the Vodafone International add-on packages. These last for 30 days. For £3 per month you get 100 minutes to 100 destinations including landlines (text ADD INTL100 to 40506), for £7.50 per month you get 500 minutes to 100 destinations including landlines (text ADD INTL500 to 40506).
If you just want to send texts abroad, you can pay £5 per month to get 100 texts to international mobile numbers. Text INTTEXT to 97886 to sign up.
For Vodafone PAYG customers, you can either sign up to Vodafone International by calling 34443 to get cheaper international calls, or you can buy 50 international minutes for £5, which is valid for 30 days.
If you're not already with Vodafone and are thinking of joining, then read our Vodafone mobile review for further information.
You can order an international SIM from O2, and then top it up with £10 or £15 credit, and you are then charged per minute, according to the destination you’re contacting. Prices vary per country, but start from 1p per minute. There are over 200 countries on offer. For the £10 option, on top of your international calling credit, you get 3,000 texts to other O2 numbers and 100MB data. For the £15 option, you get 3,000 texts and 3,000 minutes to other O2 numbers, and 200MB data. If you’re already an O2 customer, getting an international SIM is easy: simply call 2202, or text INTSIM to 21300.
Alternatively if you have an O2 mobile plan already and just want to save money on international calls, you can buy a 31-day International bolt-on for £3 which will give you discounted calls and texts from the UK. If you are thinking about signing up to O2, check out our review of O2 to get more information.
If you’re a Three pay monthly customer, you can buy the International Saver Add-on package, where you get 3,000 international minutes bolted on to your existing tariff. It is only available to those who are already Three customers however, and costs £15.32 per month. Three customers need to go to their My3 account online, and choose the ‘Add International Saver’ add-on.
If you are looking for a new mobile provider and considering moving to Three, then take a look at our review of Three mobile to get the lowdown.
For PAYG customers, Three offers access rates from as low as 3p per minute with its Feel At Home Around the World, whereby you can use your allocation of calls in 71 international destinations without roaming charges. Discounted international calls are automatically included when you buy a Three All-in-One deal of 3000 minutes, 3000 texts and as much data as you choose - from 1GB to unlimited. Prices start from £10 per month, going up to £35 per month. All Three Pay As You Go plans last for 30 days.
If you are already a Sky Mobile customer, you can add Sky’s ‘International Saver’ to your existing monthly plan if you visit your account at ‘My Sky’. Sky Mobile offers discounted rates on calls and texts to 60 countries. You can look at Sky’s mobile tariff guide to see how much your international calls will cost.
If you are not already a Sky Mobile customer and are thinking of signing up, Sky offers four SIM-only data deals with free unlimited calls and texts if you are pre-existing Sky TV customer. Read our review of Sky Mobile to find out more.
We’ve only looked at the major UK providers in this list – there are of course, other companies that offer international SIMs and services such as OneSim, KeepGo, Lycamobile, and more. If you have a stable wi-fi connection at home, and so do the people you’re calling, you could avoid an international SIM card altogether, and opt for one of the host of alternatives online, such as free calls through WhatsApp. You could also make use of the free wi-fi now available in many restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.