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The best mobile network for a long stay in the UK

Having an English number is important when you stay in the country for more than a few weeks (NIN, job, etc.). Which operator to choose?

Are you planning to study, do an internship, be an au pair, live in London or another city in England and you need an English package? You are in the right place.

To use a SIM card, you must have an unlocked phone. You can unlock your phone for free by calling your network provider.

For a few weeks to a few months, the most popular is Giffgaff

Let’s say that giffgaff is super simple and it works well. You can receive your SIM card anywhere in the world even before coming to England so as soon as you are sure you can use the internet, call. Without ruining your bank account with off packages. You can use the internet of your giffgaff package when you are in Europe.

Included in goodybags

Mobile data
(Make calls in the EU and in certain destinations)
(Sending texts in the EU and certain destinations)


I used Giffgaff when I arrived in London. There is no contract, it’s cheap, you can adjust your credit according to your needs, change from one month to another and if you run out of credits you can do a topup (add credit).

In short, from a few weeks to a few months, giffgaff is perfect! The time of an internship, during an au pair stay, the course time to take English classes, etc.

You can order your SIM card free of charge on the website –See the rates on the giffgaff website

Your ‘goodybags’ are valid for one month. However, the credit does not expire and you just need to make a paid call every six months to keep your SIM card active.

Bonus: order a free SIM card (free shipping cost) + £5 bonus credit on activation

Here is an invitation to order your SIM and receive £5 credit bonus.

Packages for a duration of more than one year

However, if you stay more than a year in the UK, I recommend choosing a contract with a monthly fee.

When I arrived in London, I took giffgaff. Then I decided to stay in the UK for an indefinite period … I went to Three mobile. I kept my giffgaff number with Three. At the moment, I have a one-year contract at £11 per month (pay by direct debit) with 4 GB of internet, (internet in ‘feel at home’ countries, Europe and US), minutes and unlimited texts. However, I have less flexibility. Before, I had a monthly contract at Three at £14 which was automatically renewed until cancelled (with one month’s notice).

There are many options and competition. To see the offers of the moment and your needs …
If you choose Three, get one Amazon gift card of £25 with this link *.
*If you purchase one of our monthly payment contracts or our 12-month SIM Only plan online, we’ll give you a £25 Gift Card to thank you.

Mobile Network in the UK

In England, there are 4 main operators. Here are the offers page ‘sim card only’ for each:

EE – Born from the merger between T-Mobile and Orange, and now owned by BT, this telecom giant is the largest with around 32 million customers.

o2 – Just behind EE is O2, which is owned by Telefonica, a Spanish telecommunications company, and has around 24 million customers.

Vodaphone – Despite dominating the telecommunications market in other countries, Vodafone is the third largest in the UK with around 17.5 million customers.

Three – owned by a Hong Kong-based conglomerate, is the last of four major networks with approximately 9.9 million customers in the UK.

Who supports virtual network operators?

Asda MobileGiffGaffVoxiiD Mobile
BT MobileSky Mobile
Plusnet MobileTesco Mobile
Virgin Mobile
Utility Warehouse

This should give you a better idea. For these long-term contracts, the Internet is full of comparison sites to get the best deals, a little search in Google and that’s it!

Bonus: How to complain about your operator?

If you ever have a problem with your operator and want compensation, there is an awesome and free website that helps you with the mails. I used it only for airline delays, but they cover a lot of areas. The website is called Resolver

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