International SIM card deals
Making calls from the UK to international numbers can be expensive from both your landline and your mobile. International calls can cost as much as £3 per minute, depending on where you are calling, so if you call abroad often your mobile phone bill can get rather big. The answer could be for you to get a prepaid international SIM card or to add international calls to your current mobile plan.
There is a lot of choice when it comes to international SIMs, so the best deal for you will depend upon your situation. How much you call abroad, where you are calling, and how many different countries you wish to call, all play a part in finding the most suitable deal.
Most international SIMs are rolling contracts, where you get a certain allowance of calls and texts per month, which will often include UK calls as well. However, this won’t include calls to premium rate numbers in the UK or overseas, or any calls to customer support and similar services who charge for calls.
International SIMs from Vodafone
Vodafone don't specifically have a SIM that comes with international calls. Rather, you can add on international calls to a sim you take out with them, or a contact you already have with them.
Depending on where you want to call, the add-on you will need to take out will be different, and cost a different amount.
If you are already with Vodafone: International Call add-ons
International Saver Extra
This add-on allows you to make calls to 100 destinations.
For £5 a month you will get 100 minutes; text ADDINTL100 to 40506 to sign up for this.
For £10 a month you will get 500 minutes; text ADDINTL500 to 40506 to sign up for this.
If you are interested in just sending texts internationally, you can get 100 international texts for £5 a month; text INTTEXT to 40506 to sign up for this.
Call Abroad Extra
This add-on goes a step further and gives you access to 200 destinations.
For £10 a month you will get 75 minutes; for £20 a month you will get 200 minutes.
To access either of these add ons you will need to opt in on the My Vodafone app.
For more information on the above packages and the destinations you can call/text with both of the above add-ons, click the button below:
Vodafone SIMs you can add international calls onto
Please see below a list of SIM only deals you can add the above international packages onto. None of these SIMs come with international calls - you will need to add the add-ons when you sign up!
Vodafone rolling 1 month SIMs
Vodafone 12 month SIMs
Vodafone 24 month SIMs
International SIMs from O2
SIMs that come with international calls
If you are looking for a SIM for international calls from O2, you will want to check out their Big Bundle SIMs.
These SIMs are Pay As You Go, but when you top up the required amount you will be given access to minutes to 42 countries, as well as discounted rates to 235 destinations.
There are three Big Bundles that come with International minutes to choose from:
|Big Bundle 40GB
|Big Bundle 60GB
|Big Bundle 200GB
*International minutes to 42 countries only, listed here
All the above bundles come with unlimited UK calls and texts. To get your international calls, all you need to do is top up the monthly amount each month. Easy.
Adding international calls to your current O2 plan
If you are already with O2 and are wanting to add low-cost international calls and texts to your current plan, that's simple too.
All you need to do is add on O2's International Monthly Bolt On. This costs £2 a month, and you will will then be able to get discounted calls to international mobiles and landlines.
Unfortunately, you won't get any free international minutes with this plan, unlike with the Big Bundle packages.
To access this Bolt On, all you need to do is call 2202, or text MONTHLYINT to 21300.
To see how much destinations cost, see here.
International SIMs from Three
Three have two different options for customers looking to make international calls. You can either:
- Add on the Call Abroad package to a standard Three pay monthly contract
- Use a PAYG SIM card to get discounted international call rates.
Call Abroad package
The Call Abroad package comes in two different levels; Call Abroad 100 and Call Abroad Unlimited.
Call Abroad 100 costs £5 a month and gives you 100 minutes a month that can be used to call 55 countries.
Call Abroad Unlimited costs £10 a month and gives you unlimited minutes to 55 countries.
For more details about both of these packages, click the button below:
Three SIMs you can add international calls onto
If you are looking for a new SIM only deal with Three, below are a selection of deals that you will be able to add the Call Abroad packages onto. Please note, the prices below do not include the price of the Call Abroad package, which you will have to add separately when signing up.
Three 1 month rolling SIMs
Three 12 month SIMs
Three 24 month SIMs
Discounted International Calls - PAYG SIMs
If you are happy with getting discounted call rates, no free international minutes, you can do so with Three's PAYG SIMs.
You will gain access to discounted call rates to 25 countries. You just need to remember to add a prefix number when you're dialing - simple!
If you are interested in a PAYG SIM from Three, click the button below:
Which networks offer international SIM deals?
All of the UK's major mobile networks - EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone - offer international SIM deals, providing a cheap and flexible option to make regular calls abroad.
Other providers that have international SIM deals include, but are not limited to:
International calling add-ons
All major networks and many of the smaller providers offer international calling add-ons. This may be a simpler option than an international SIM only deal, as you can use your current mobile and network provider without having to worry about a new SIM. Depending on which add-on you choose, adding international calls to your plan will normally add somewhere between £3 and £15 to your monthly bill.
The four main UK network providers all have international add-ons that include:
- Three International Saver: Adds on a massive 3,000 minutes per month to overseas landlines for around £15 per month.
- Vodafone International Saver: Adds 100 minutes to overseas landlines and mobile for just £3 a month. This is a cheaper option for those who don’t call internationally too regularly.
- EE The International: Adds on 500 minutes to overseas landlines and mobiles for £10 per month.
- O2 International Favourites Bolt On: Also adds on 3,000 minutes to overseas landlines, as well as 100 minutes of mobile calls to three overseas numbers of your choosing.
The countries included within the add-ons will change from network to network so remember to always check the term and conditions before you purchase any add-ons.
International SIM deals vs international add-ons: Which is better?
At the end of the day it is hard to say that one is better than the other when it comes to international SIM deals vs international add-ons. The choice you make will be entirely dependent on your personal preference and your situation.
If you are looking for ease and are not too worried about the extra expense, then add-ons can be easier as you don’t have to worry about any new contracts and can simply continue using your phone normally for a little extra per month. If you want a cheaper deal then international SIMs can work out significantly cheaper, especially if you make more calls abroad than you do in the UK.
International calls using the internet
Nowadays there are many ways you can make international calls using the internet. Services such as WhatsApp, Skype and Viber all allow you to make a call as long as you have Wi-Fi or 3G/4G mobile data available. This means that you don’t need any sort of international calling bundle to make ‘free’ overseas calls.
However, this can have its downsides. Firstly, you won’t always have internet or a 3G/4G signal. The other problem can be that this type of calling uses your 3G/4G data allowance, meaning that you may run out of data a lot quicker. Without an unlimited data plan it can be expensive to top up, so it may be more cost-effective to save your data for more useful things.
Occasional international calls
If you rarely call abroad then you may not need an international call plan at all. However, is it cheaper to make international calls on your landline or your mobile? This will of course depend on your landline provider and mobile network plan, but generally speaking it will be cheaper to call abroad off your landline than your mobile. If you only occasionally call abroad then we would recommend planning ahead to call at a time when you can use the internet so you can make a free call.
Last reviewed: 06 July 2023
Next review: 06 August 2023