Skype, WhatsApp, and other Internet-based messaging and calling services have made it easy to stay in touch with friends around the world for free. However, sometimes you just can’t help making international calls. For the time being, you’ll probably want a SIM with cheap international calling.

Read Travel SIM Cards: What You Need to Know When Leaving the US to Travel Abroad

Until Brexit, You Can Use Your UK Mobile Plan to Call Everyone 28 US Countries As well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and more. However, let’s say you want to use your phone to make international calls from countries like Australia, India or the United States of America. In that case, you may want a plan with somewhat more comprehensive coverage or roaming options. We don’t know yet how big of a change Brexit will make to these plans, but we’ll be sure to update you.

Best Plans for International Calling in the UK

  • lyca mobile
  • Lebara Mobile
  • ee international sim
  • pay as you go
  • three go rom
  • EE Unlimited Plans
  • Big Four Passes and Add-ons

Best UK mobile network: Choosing the best UK mobile carrier


lyca mobile

Laika Offers some of the widest coverage and cheapest dedicated plans for certain parts of the world, especially useful for regular business or personal calls. The network claims to be the world’s largest MVNO and belongs to a range of operators across the globe.

For frequent callers, the Leica Globe plan offers unlimited calls and texts from 3000 minutes to 40 destinations as well as other Leica SIMs for £10 every 30 days. This includes Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand and the United States, which are countries outside the traditional EU roaming coverage. Alternatively, All in One 10 SIM covers the same countries, but reduces international minutes to just 500. However, this offer includes unlimited UK text and 6GB of data, making it easy for UK use.

Leica also offers some dedicated packages for regions such as Eastern Europe and South Asia. The carrier also offers competitive pay-as-you-go rates for both landline and mobile phones.


Lebara Mobile

Lebara Mobile is another MVNO specializing in international SIM plans for cost-effective international calling in the UK. Like Leica, the network offers a range of specialized options for calling specific countries and has the added advantage that Lebara-to-Lebara calls and texts are always free. Lebara divides its global calling options into two main categories: international calling packages only and local UK plans.

All Lebara plans offer different levels of international calling minutes to 41 destinations. These include Australia, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, America and European countries. Prices start at £5 each cycle for 1,000 UK minutes, 100 international minutes and 2GB of data. £30 per month increases this to unlimited international calling minutes and unlimited data.


EE – International SIM

EE offers a wide range of UK contract options as well as dedicated international SIMs including minutes, text and data. we like this option O2 International Sim, as it is a simple allowance rather than a complicated top-up plan with various national prices and data allowances. EE’s SIMs bump up the amount of data you can use by an additional 500MB every three months, so it pays to stick around.

You can travel abroad with EE’s Smart Plan or its more affordable Essentials plan on both Android and iPhone. The key difference between the two is the inclusion of smart benefits like Apple Music and Britbox. You can also go for the Full Action plan for iPhone, which bumps up your perks from one to three.

EE has two international calling options available. The £10 package offers 1,000 minutes to 50 countries. A 20-pound package bumps it up to 100 countries, but you only get half a minute. EE standard will apply when moving from EU to EU or making calls outside EU PayG Roaming Rates.


Comparison of PAYG and Charges

As a fallback option, each network will also charge fixed rates for international calls, which almost always depend on which country you’re calling. Courtesy of the table below Ken’s Tech Tips (which has compiled a great deal of valuable data on the subject), highlights calling cost per minute to some of the most popular overseas destinations:

Some networks require PAYG customers to opt-in to these reduced charges. Call 150 to join the Call Abroad plan for EE customers. O2 customers need to be on the carrier’s international tariffs, and Vodafone customers will need to text INTERNATIONAL to 2345 to opt-in to its international add-ons.


three go rom

Although it is not technically an international calling package, Three’s advanced contract plans Provide some exciting terms and conditions. These plans not only make it an affordable way to call home while on the go, but also to use up your data allowance for free calls to a wide range of countries through its Go Rome offer.

Best Phones Under £500 in the UK | £300. According to

Go Rome Around the World Includes 71 Destinations (View) full list here), allows you to send unlimited calls and texts to UK and European destinations, as well as use up to 19GB of your data allowance at no extra charge. It’s also free to receive calls, texts, photo messages and video messages. Calling and sending messages to non-UK numbers while these destinations still incur standard roaming charges. Still, calling and texting back home is free, and the key here is to use your roaming data allowance for free calling and text messaging, even while abroad, using Internet services like Skype and WhatsApp. Huh.

Some advanced plans come with Go Binge, a 30GB personal hotspot allowance for tethering and an unlimited data allowance for streaming music and videos from select partner services. Advanced plans with Go Binge start at £14 per month for 12GB of data on a 12-month contract, making them relatively inexpensive.

If you want a basic calling package, the three offer Call Abroad 100 and Unlimited Calls Abroad for £5 and £10 respectively. As you might have guessed, the cheaper plan offers 100 minutes to 55 countries, and the more expensive plan lets you call as many of those 55 countries as you want.

If you’re looking for the best all-inclusive option for traveling in the UK from the big four carriers while still getting a great deal, Three’s advanced packages offer the best value for money.


EE Unlimited Plans

EE offers a similar arrangement to Three, where customers on its more expensive unlimited plan receive more generous roaming arrangements than in standard European regions. EE’s Max plans are only available if you get a new phone and can’t easily find one on the site, so you’ll need to look at each contract option to make sure different destinations are covered.

EE’s Unlimited plan allows customers in Australia, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and the US to take all their data, text and call allowances. This makes it a better option than the three if you want to make calls within your travel destination without incurring additional costs, but the number of countries is much smaller.


Big Four Passes and Add-ons

As a last resort when roaming, each of the four big networks in the UK also offers customers passes and add-ons, providing access to data and, at a lower cost, more inclusiveness to extend your regular contract overseas. provides calls. Remember that EU roaming comes by default with no PAYG or contract option in the UK, so these packages are only designed for those going forward and using the proper data each day.

Here’s an analysis of each carrier’s prices and what’s included with these optional extras.

EE Travel Data PassO2 O2 Journeythree data passportvodafone rom forward
Cost
EE Travel Data Pass:

£4.80 per day, USA and Canada
£6 per day, 9 other countries
£6 per day, 45 other countries (150MB only)

O2 O2 Journey:

£4.99 per day

three data passport:

£5 per day

vodafone rom forward:

£6 per day

allowance
EE Travel Data Pass:

Unlimited UK Minutes
Unlimited UK Texts
Data up to 500 MB

O2 O2 Journey:

120 minutes
120 texts
Unlimited Data

three data passport:

Unlimited Data

vodafone rom forward:

Uses of the home plan allowance

countries
EE Travel Data Pass:

56

O2 O2 Journey:

75

three data passport:

89

vodafone rom forward:

104

The cost of these passes adds up very quickly, but they are a viable way to boost your UK data plans when traveling outside Europe on short trips. These passes are cheap compared to traditional roaming data costs, but they are really worth it if you use a lot of data and have no other choice. Regular travelers or those living away for extended periods may want a dedicated, more cost-effective plan.


wrap

An arm and a leg are no longer required for international calls. Many plans and SIMs support cheap calls to Europe and around the world. However, you still need to know where to look to find the best deals and save money in the long run.

Generally speaking, to avoid high international calling costs it is best to stay away from the largest UK carriers and even smaller MVNOs and instead opt for a dedicated internationally based network. Otherwise, some dedicated SIMs from larger companies will offer better value for regular international callers than their standard plans. Cheap roaming has its own set of things to investigate, but Europe is now well covered by any PAYG or contract option.

Unfortunately, the market is still a mess of terms and conditions that dictate which countries and where you can make calls. This can be especially problematic if you travel a lot, so always read the fine print of any contract option to see if…