Best UK SIM Cards for Students
6 min

Best UK SIM Cards for Students

6 min
Uploaded on
Dec 9, 2021
Last updated on
Mar 20, 2023
Uploaded on
Dec 9, 2021
Last updated on
Mar 20, 2023
SIM Card attached to a hook
Hello from the other side!

Moving to a new country for the first time is a completely different experience in itself. It is common to feel mind-boggling if you’re an international student. The new city, the confusing road signs, the public chaos, and the rush to accustom yourself to a new accommodation before the university starts can be a bit intimidating for young minds. Getting the right SIM will aid your task for the rest of your time in the United Kingdom. The last thing you want to do is pay hefty bills for making phone calls. But don’t you worry! There are ample options available to choose from when selecting a UK SIM card for yourself. Here is everything you need to know about UK SIM cards for students.

Why do you need a UK SIM Card?

It is simple and quick to get a SIM card. One may be purchased in a mobile phone store or online. But keep in mind that if you purchase the SIM card online, you'll need a UK address to get it. Additionally, most convenience stores and some supermarkets provide prepaid SIM cards. Here’s everything you need to know about studying in the UK

Types of UK SIM Cards 

There are two types- physical SIM Cards and e SIM. A physical SIM Card is a small chip that is available in 3 sizes (Standard/Mini SIM Card, Micro SIM Card and Nano SIM Card). eSIM UK is a virtual SIM that can be digitally embedded in your phone by a service provider. Here are some of the best student discounts that you can get in the UK. 

Prepaid SIM Card in the UK

Prepaid UK SIM Cards are usually called ‘Pay as you go. With a prepaid UK SIM card, users don’t have a fixed subscription. Instead, they need to buy prepaid credit on their phone frequently to make calls, send messages, and use data. Users can get subscriptions from any convenience store or supermarket in the UK. A prepaid UK SIM card gives users the ability to use it as per the usage and not bind to a rambling contract

Contracts / Pass-as-you-go 

If you’re planning to stay in the UK for a long duration, such as for students pursuing a master's or a PhD., or prefer calls over messages, then mobile contracts can be a cheap option. A contract can be available for a longer duration. If you exceed your contract limit, charges will be collected from your bank account depending on the usage. Mobile contracts support long-duration calling users. Such agreements offer long-minute dial-up recharges for a longer duration. 

SIM-only deals in the UK

After opting for a phone contract, you will get an option to select a SIM-only deal UK or include a handset. In a SIM-only deal UK, the service provider will give you a free UK SIM card and charge monthly wherein you will be attached to a 12-month contract so a prior check is vital. These contracts keep rolling until you cancel them.

eSIM Cards for UK

An eSIM is a SIM card incorporated into a smartphone and can connect you to any eSIM-enabled provider. An eSIM is essentially a little microchip inside your phone that functions similarly to the NFC chip. It maintains various cellular profiles and thus works effortlessly all around the world. Here are the benefits of eSIM for students.  Prominent service providers like Airalo offer access to eSIM Cards for 190+ countries, including UK sim cards.

How can a student get a UK SIM Card?

Getting a mobile phone contract in the UK is a swift and manageable task. You can apply for it online or visit a nearby mobile store. Here are tips to succeed in the UK as a student. For getting a mobile contract in the UK, some standard documents are required for registration by a majority of operators:

1. Identity proof- Since you are a student, you can show your university ID or legal paperwork for a visa and passport.
2. Address proof- Your current address in the UK can be shown through utility bills or bank statements.
3. Some operators may also choose a credit score check. You can benefit from a UK Student Guarantor facility depending on the availability.

Best SIM Card providers in the UK

Presently, the UK boasts four primary mobile network providers with the best UK SIM cards for international student: 

1. O2
2. Vodafone
3. EE
4. Three

Many secondary mobile network providers also “piggyback” over the major four network bands and deliver suitable perks on UK sim cards for users. Some of these include-

1. Smarty
2. Plus Net
3. ID Mobile
4. BT Mobile
5. Giff gaff
6. Tesco Mobile
7. Talk Mobile
8. Sky Mobile

Best UK SIM Cards for students

Being concerned about a huge phone bill depleting your savings when you're a student is absolutely the last thing you need. Fortunately, a wide range of phone companies and networks will give you exclusive savings if you're a student. Traveling to the shops in the UK can be confusing, here’s a guide to UK transportation. Here are some of the best UK sim cards that you can avail of.

Best SIM card in the UK for social media and streaming

You'll need a UK SIM card plan that can keep up if you spend quite some time devoted to your social media feed. We suggest the following:

Voxi: Voxi’s plans are categorically your best choice if you love social media. With its Endless Social Media and Endless Video features, users may access a wide range of services without using up their data allotments. Plans start from a mere £10 per month.
: With Vodafone plans, you can also receive free Spotify, Amazon Prime, or YouTube Premium if you don't mind signing a 24-month contract. Currently, they provide a free sim card in the UK called - Pay As You Go SIM card that gives you access to Vodafone's network and 99% population coverage. Vodafone's offers include the cost of the streaming service in the contract itself, in contrast to Voxi’s offerings, which do not include the services. You can Get 160GB of data and an entertainment pass on Vodafone for £27 per month.

Most affordable UK SIM card plans that offer lots of data

If you prefer a generous data plan and don't actually spend much time on social media, then these plans are ideal for you

Three: Three offers the most affordable unlimited data plans. Students have a lot of options to choose from and select the best plan according to them. Currently, the best and the most popular plan is unlimited data for £12 per month for the first six months. 
Smarty, a division of Three, offers unlimited data for just £20 per month. This includes limitless tethering if you wish to use Wi-Fi and mobile data at the same time. The second advantage of Smarty over Three is that you can cancel at any time. Grab unlimited data for £20 per month

Most affordable UK SIM card plans for Students

Lebara: With rates starting at £5 per month for 3GB of data, Lebara Mobile offers some of the most affordable SIM plans available. You can cancel at any moment. You can Get 3GB of data for a £5 per month plan.
: Compared to other providers 1pMobile operates somewhat differently. As the name implies, the service only costs 1p per minute, text, or MB of data while connected to EE's 5G network. For 10GB of data, start with a £10 top-up. 

Can I use an international phone in the UK?

Should I replace my existing phone with a new phone to operate a UK SIM Card? It is common for students to come across such questions. The answer to this question depends on whether your phone is locked or unlocked. A locked phone can be used with a specific network when the contract is received at a discounted price.  Although, you can pay and get it unlocked in your homeland only after your previous contract has ended. Unlocking the phone allows you to use the UK SIM card in your phone. 

What would be my UK mobile number?

A personal UK mobile phone number starts with 07***, whereas a UK mobile phone number for a business starts with 08***. Your phone number will have six digits that follow your UK mobile service provider’s prefix. So for example, your UK mobile phone number will look something like this: 07777 654321. For someone to call your UK mobile phone from abroad, they first need to dial the country code for the UK, which is 0044 (+44) eg. 0044 7777 654321.

So now you know all about the best UK sim cards for students. You can also explore a wide range of UK SIM card opportunities while studying in the country. Here are some tips you will need as a student before moving to the UK. With a solid sim network you never have to worry about connectivity problems, so ring away!