Using a mobile phone to call internationally is one of the most expensive things one can do. When using the wrong SIM card, it can become impossibly expensive when calling friends and family abroad. For this reason, it is crucially important to look for a suitable SIM only card that can be used specifically for international calls when away from a UK landline in order to not get hit with a huge phone bill or get cutoff mid-sentence because the credit ran out.
Here are several of the best SIM only plans for calling from the UK to abroad while keeping the costs down.
The Three network may not be as advanced as some of the other networks like EE which beats it for speed and sometimes for access, but they do offer some good 3G data deals and calling packages that interest value-minded consumers. Similarly, when calling internationally from the UK it makes sense to consider the Three network once more.
The Three network has an International Saver add on that can be used to make international calls cheaper than with their regular calling plans. The International Saver option includes 30 of the most commonly called countries within the plan with discounts when calling them.
The plan includes 3,000 international minutes for a monthly cost of £15.32. The contract is only for 30 days, so it is useful for people who want to be able to call a family member who is abroad on holiday, but it can also be used to call expats who are abroad for a good deal longer. No international SMS texts or 3G/4G LTE data are included with the International Saver add on; it is purely a way to reduce the cost of making a certain number of international calls.
In order to take advantage of the inclusive minutes once signed up, the customer has to call 388 before placing the phone call. Failure to do this will cause the international call to fall outside of the Saver plan and the usual international calling costs will apply.
Lycamobile is not yet as much of a household name as the company would perhaps like, but they offer particularly good value when making national calls or sending text messages within the UK whether to a mobile phone or a landline. For this reason, they are often used by consumers who are looking for a good deal when paying by the minute for calls. Their international deals continue the trend with a variety of interesting packages on offer.
The company has their Monthly Value Pack 500 which packages up 25 countries that the customer can call internationally from the UK. The plan includes varied countries like New Zealand, France, and Bangladesh. The plan costs £20 a month and bundles in 500 minutes. Calls to the included countries start at around 2 pence per minute.
There are also a number of other international calling plans to choose between that focus on regions.
The Weekly Eastern plans cover a 7 day period for up to 220 minutes of calls to Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria for just £5. There is also a monthly plan for £12 which covers the same countries with 1,200 minutes of calls.
There are several Far East plans for calls to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand. These include 1,000 minutes of calls and 1 GB of data transfer for £10. Their £20 plan increases the data limit to 3 GB while the calling minutes remain the same.
A Middle Eastern plan is also offered called Khaleeji M which includes 500 minutes of calls to both landline and mobile phones. The countries included are Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. 8 GB of data transfer is also bundled in. The plan covers a 30 day period for £75.
A third international SIM only option is from Lebara with their Freedom SIM plan. The plan covers more than 40 countries including Italy, Portugal, France and Australia. 500 minutes are included, plus unlimited UK calling minutes and SMS texts for £39 per month. 1 GB of data transfer is also included.
O2 offers an international SIM card which has both local and international benefits for customers. UK O2 users can call a friend also on the O2 network for free or send them as many texts as they like. The plan also includes a £15 credit towards the cost of international calls made on the O2 network. Calling costs for international calls can be as low as 1 pence per minute, but it does depend on the countries called. A 100 MB data transfer is also included.
The International Saver add on from the Three network should appeal to existing customers of that network more than newcomers. However, it does hold appeal because the contract term of only 30 days and the 3,000 international minutes only cost an additional £15.32.
Lycamobile seems to be a far more dedicated provider of affordable international calling. There are numerous calling plans both covering different regions around the world and also different minute bundles. Rates are low except for the Middle East.
Both Lebara and O2 are less compelling. However, existing O2 customers may find the credit towards international calls useful if they actually use them.