Best international SIM only deals
By Dan Howdle | Tuesday, November 1st 2022
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.
International SIMs from Vodafone
If you are an existing Vodafone customer and 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 £5 per month you get 100 minutes to 100 destinations including landlines (text ADDINTL100 to 40506), for £10 per month you get 500 minutes to 100 destinations including landlines (text ADDINTL500 to 40506), or you can pay £10 per month to get 75 minutes to 212 countries or pay £20 to get 200 minutes to 212 countries. Check which country (or countries) you need to call and select the pack that includes those countries.
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 40506 to sign up.
For Vodafone PAYG customers, you can pay £5 per month and get 50 minutes to make calls to any of the 200 countries included.
If you're not already with Vodafone and are thinking of joining, then read our Vodafone mobile review for further information.
International SIMs from O2
You have a choice of three International Big Bundle SIMs from O2, all of which come with unlimited minutes and texts. The £15 Big Bundle comes with 20GB data and 50 international minutes to 42 countries, the £20 Big Bundle comes with 30GB of data and 50 international minutes and the £30 Big Bundle comes with 100GB of data and 250 minutes to 42 countries.
Every bundle also comes with the option to make discounted international calls to other countries not included in the bundle. Prices vary per country, but start from 1p per minute. Simply order your SIM online and choose your bundle.
Alternatively if you have an O2 mobile plan already and just want to save money on international calls, you can buy the International bolt-on for £2 per month which will give you discounted calls and texts from the UK, from just 1p per minute and 30p per text. Check which countries are covered before you sign up and then text MONTHLYINT to 21300 to sign up.
If you are thinking about signing up to O2, check out our review of O2 to get more information.
International SIMs from Three
If you’re a Three pay monthly customer, you can buy a Call Abroad Add-on package. Choose from the Call Abroad 100 Add-on, which gives you 100 minutes to call landline and mobile numbers for £5 per month, or the Call Abroad Unlimited Add-on, which costs £10 per month and gives you unlimited minutes to international landlines and mobiles. Both add-ons last for a month and roll on automatically unless you cancel.
For PAYG customers, Three offers rates from as low as 1p per minute to 28 international destinations. Some destinations require a shortcode to get the discounted price; a full list of the destinations included and the shortcodes can be found on Three’s website.
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.
International SIMs from Sky Mobile
If you are already a Sky Mobile customer, you can add Sky’s ‘International Saver’ to your existing monthly plan for £3 per month if you visit your account at ‘My Sky’. Sky Mobile offers discounted rates on calls and texts to 60 countries. Discounted calls cost 5p per minute and texts cost 10p per message.
If you are not already a Sky Mobile customer and are thinking of signing up, Sky offers six SIM-only data deals with free unlimited calls and texts. Read our review of Sky Mobile to find out more.
International SIMs from EE
There are two options for calling abroad with EE. The first is a pay-as-you-go international SIM that runs for 30 days and automatically rolls over each month. To sign up, simply order a free PAYG EE SIM and text CALL ABROAD to 150. This will then enable you to make cheaper calls to over 70 countries, including Australia and the USA, India, China and much of the EU. Data allowances range from 5GB for £10 per month to 100GB for £30 per month.
The second option is an international add-on for existing EE customers. The International Pack costs £10 per month and gives you an allowance of 1000 minutes.You can only use these minutes to call a maximum of five international mobiles or landlines. Each call must last no longer than 120 minutes, after which time you will need to hang up and redial. Once you have used all your inclusive minutes, you will be charged the standard rates.
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. For EE international SIM deals, please visit the EE website.
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, Worldsim, Travelsim, and more. If you have a stable wi-fi connection at home or at work, 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, Viber, Zoom or FaceTime.