How to get a free UK SIM card
by Kelly Henderson (follow Kelly on Twitter: @kellythekiwi)
Getting a mobile phone up and running is one of the first things people do when they arrive in London. It’s important to have a UK mobile number when you are looking places to live, for jobs and for getting in touch with all your new friends.
It is really easy to get a free SIM card – the hard part is making sure that you have the right one for you. Hopefully, I can make things a bit easier for you.
#1 How do I get a free SIM card?
Getting a free SIM couldn’t be easier. All of the UK’s leading mobile networks offer free SIMs – you just need to go to the network’s website and claim one. For example you can claim straight away to a giffgaff Free Sim, a Vodafone Ltd – Free Sim, or a O2 Free Sim. Some of the networks will require a UK address to post the SIM to, so unless you know where you are going to be staying, you may need to wait until you arrive to order one.
Make sure that you have the SIM card that is right for your phone. You can get standard size SIMs (suitable for most mobiles), micro-SIMs (first used in the iPhone 4) and nano-SIMs (used in the iPhone 5s).
#2 What is a SIM Only Deal?
If you already have an unlocked mobile phone then a SIM Only Deal is the best option for you. It is similar to a normal mobile contract in that there is an amount to pay each month but you are not committed to a certain length of time and, as you are not paying for the phone, the tariffs are generally cheaper.
Most of the packages now offer really good rates and come with some sort of free call, text and data allowance depending on how much you top up each month.
#3 Which mobile network should I sign up to?
I have recently moved from having a mobile phone contract with Orange to a SIM Only deal with giffgaff. The main reason for this is that I was finding my contract with Orange far too expensive. Here are some options for you to consider:
giffgaff offers really competitive ‘goodybag’ packages that include free minutes, unlimited text messages and data allowance. Not only that, but if you have friends who are also on GiffGaff then calls to them are free! An added bonus for me is that I find there international text message rates really cheap – great for keeping in touch with my family in New Zealand!
Vodafone seems a little bit more expensive but they do offer some great ‘freebees‘ when you top up a certain amount each month. For those of you with family overseas you might want to consider the International SIM. This gives you free international minutes when you top up. For example, if you top up by £10 you will get 60 free international minutes.
EE/Orange/T-Mobile are all run by the same network and each offer monthly packages. If you use a lot of mobile internet then EE might be best for you as it run on 4G rather than 3G making it a lot faster. Get a Free EE SIM card here.
With a free SIM card, getting your mobile phone up and running is one of the easiest things to do when moving to London. There are a lot to choose from, so work out what is best for you but remember that a SIM only deal gives you the flexibility to change your mind and you won’t be tied to a contract that you are struggling to afford. If you have just arrived in the city then you may want to have a look at our tips for those who have just moved to London.
You may also want to check our mobile phone contracts under £20.