The O2 UK SIM card gives you cheap calls and data access when visiting the United Kingdom and many European countries.
|We now sell all our O2 UK SIM cards pre-loaded with credit so your SIM card is ready to use as soon as you arrive in the UK.|
You have a choice of a SIM card pre-activated on your choice of three different O2 Pay & Go tariffs. The best option will depend on the type of calls you plan on making and how much data access you need. There are also several add-on options that let you add extra data and all O2 prepaid tariffs offer low-cost roaming when used in other European countries. Overall an O2 SIM card on one of the Big Bundle plans is an excellent choice if you're visiting the UK and making side trips to Europe and an O2 SIM on the International SIM tariff is a great option for a short trip of up to 10 days.
Call and data charges when using an O2 SIM card in the UK
The O2 UK SIM card is great value if you’re visiting the UK.
You have a choice of three tariffs:
- The £15 Big Bundle tariff is the best option for people who will mostly be making local calls (including calls to other people also travelling with an O2 UK SIM card) but need data for maps, social media and translation apps and who also need to use their phone when travelling in other European Union countries.
- The £30 Big Bundle tariff is the best option if you need a lot of data (20GB to use in the UK) but also need to make both local and international calls and who also need to use their phone when travelling in other European Union countries.
- The International SIM tariff is best if you’re only making a short trip and only need a little data and most of your calls will be international calls back home.
Here is an overview of the three plans you can choose from:
|International SIM||£15 Big Bundle||£30 Big Bundle|
|Call a UK landline or mobile phone||3000 minutes to O2 mobile phones included, 30p/minute to other networks||500 minutes included, after you have used your first 500 minutes per month you will be charged 35p/minute||3000 minutes included, after you have used your first 3000 minutes per month you will be charged 35p/minute|
|Send a text message to a UK mobile phone||3000 text messages to O2 mobile phones included, 15p/message to other networks||1000 text messages included, after you have sent your first 1000 messages per month you will be charged 15p/message||3000 text messages included, after you have sent your first 3000 messages per month you will be charged 15p/message|
|Call an Australian landline phone||2p/minute||£1.50/minute||2p/minute|
|Call an Australian mobile phone||12p/minute||£1.50/minute||12p/minute|
|Send a text message to an Australian mobile phone||15p/message||20p/message||15p/message|
|Data access||200MB data included, then £1/day||5GB included, then £1/day||20GB included, then £1/day|
|Included credit||£15||£0 (but your first month of service is already paid for so you have 30 days access to your inclusive call and data package)||£0 (but your first month of service is already paid for so you have 30 days access to your inclusive call and data package)|
|Cost to continue your service for another month||No minimum monthly charge||£15||£30|
|Best for a short trip with cheap international calls||Best inclusive package with local calls and moderate data use||
Best inclusive package with local calls and cheap international calls and high data use.
The above call and data rates apply when using your phone in the United Kingdom.
The 3000 minutes of calls and text messages to O2 UK mobile phones that you get on the International SIM tariff is valid for 30 days from the date you start using your SIM card upon arrival in the United Kingdom. You get another 30 days of calls and text messages to O2 UK mobile phones every time you top up £15 or more.
Charges to UK landline and mobile phones apply to standard numbers only (that is to mobile phone numbers in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales starting in 07 and landline phone numbers in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales starting in 01, 02 and 03), higher charges apply when calling premium numbers such as numbers beginning with 0845 and 0875 (similar to 13 and 1300 numbers in Australia) and when calling phones in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man (including some travel SIM services that advertise as having UK numbers). Calls to freephone numbers beginning with 0800 and 0808 are free on all tariffs.
Charges for calls to special numbers are as follows:
|Freephone numbers (starting with 0800 and 0808)||Free|
|Premium numbers (starting with 08 and 09)||55p/minute|
|Landline and mobile numbers in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man (although these numbers use the UK +44 country code, they are considered international calls but are not among the countries that have discounted calls with the International SIM or £30 Big Bundle tariffs)||55p/minute|
|Directory information numbers (starting with 118)||55p/minute|
The International SIM comes pre-loaded with £15 credit, which you can use to pay for calls and data (after you have used your initial 200MB data allowance). As you will be charged £1/day for data use (after you have used your initial 200MB), most people find that the included £15 credit will last them 10–14 days, so it is worth considering a Big Bundle plan for a longer trip.
The Big Bundle packages don’t included any credit, but we do pay the initial £15 or £30 to cover your first month of service. This means that you can use your inclusive call and data allowance without needing to add any additional credit, but you will need to top up a little extra credit if you need to make calls that are not included as part of your plan (such as international calls or calls to 0845 or 0875 numbers). Most people using the Big Bundle packages do not need to top up any additional credit.
Yes, you can tether with this SIM card. Unlike many other UK and European prepaid SIM cards, you can now tether (use your phone as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot) with this SIM card.
Tethering is only supported when you’re on the O2 network in the United Kingdom and if you have an Apple iPhone, tethering will only work with an iPhone 5 or newer and it needs to be running iOS 10.1 or higher.
Data bolt-ons if you have an O2 SIM card on the International SIM tariff
Data charges with an O2 SIM card on the International SIM tariff are not as attractive as those offered by the Big Bundle tariffs, but there are some bolt-on packages that you can add that will give you more data if you are on this plan.
|Data bolt-on||Cost per month||How to add your data bolt-on|
|500MB data||£4.99||Call 2202 from your phone|
|1GB data||£10||Call 2202 from your phone|
|2GB data||£10.99||Call 2202 from your phone|
You must have enough credit in your prepaid account before calling to add one of these data bolt-ons.
International call charges when using the O2 SIM card in the UK
If you are on the International SIM or the £30 Big Bundle tariff, international call charges are discounted when using the O2 SIM card in the UK, but these discounted call rates do not apply when roaming on other networks elsewhere in Europe. Also you will need to have sufficient balance in your prepaid account to cover the cost of these calls.
|International SIM||£15 Big Bundle||£30 Big Bundle|
|Australia – landline||2p/minute||£1.50/minute||2p/minute|
|Australia – mobile||12p/minute||£1.50/minute||12p/minute|
|Canada – landline||2p/minute||£1.50/minute||2p/minute|
|Canada – mobile||2p/minute||£1.50/minute||2p/minute|
|France – landline||2p/minute||£1.50/minute||2p/minute|
|France – mobile||5p/minute||£1.50/minute||5p/minute|
|Germany – landline||1.5p/minute||£1.50/minute||1.5p/minute|
|Germany – mobile||5p/minute||£1.50/minute||5p/minute|
|Ireland – landline||1p/minute||£1.50/minute||1p/minute|
|Ireland – mobile||5p/minute||£1.50/minute||5p/minute|
|Italy – landline||2p/minute||£1.50/minute||2p/minute|
|Italy – mobile||10p/minute||£1.50/minute||10p/minute|
|Netherlands – landline||2p/minute||£1.50/minute||2p/minute|
|Netherlands – mobile||10p/minute||£1.50/minute||10p/minute|
|New Zealand – landline||2p/minute||£1.50/minute||2p/minute|
|New Zealand – mobile||10p/minute||£1.50/minute||10p/minute|
|Singapore – landline||5p/minute||£1.50/minute||5p/minute|
|Singapore – mobile||5p/minute||£1.50/minute||5p/minute|
|South Africa – landline||3p/minute||£1.50/minute||3p/minute|
|South Africa – mobile||10p/minute||£1.50/minute||10p/minute|
|Spain – landline||2p/minute||£1.50/minute||2p/minute|
|Spain – mobile||9p/minute||£1.50/minute||9p/minute|
|United States (excluding AK & HI) – landline||2p/minute||£1.50/minute||2p/minute|
|United States (excluding AK & HI) – mobile||2p/minute||£1.50/minute||2p/minute|
Discounted international call rates to the United States of America do not include calls to Alaska or Hawaii. Calls to Alaska and Hawaii are charged at 4p/minute to both landline and mobile phones if you are on the International SIM or the £30 Big Bundle tariff, the standard international call charge of £1.50/minute applies if you are on the £15 Big Bundle tariff.
International text messages cost 15p/message if you are on the International SIM or the £30 Big Bundle tariff and 20p/message if you are on the £15 Big Bundle plan.
If you are on the £15 Big Bundle plan (or are travelling outside the UK) then we recommend using an app such as Facetime, Localphone, Rebtel, Skype or Viber for all your international calls. If you have credit on a Rebtel or Skype account, you are able to call any phone (not just other Rebtel or Skype users) at low rates.
Compared with other networks, O2 has excellent coverage throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
It will work in most parts of the country, including the Scottish Highlands and islands. However, coverage in rural areas is never as good as what we’re used to in Australia (if you’re an Optus or Telstra customer, then virtually nowhere else in the world offers rural coverage as good as what you’re used to at home). All networks in the UK do have some areas where coverage is a little patchy, particularly in rural areas. If you will be visiting rural areas you should check your coverage here.
Roaming in Europe
You can use your inclusive call and data allowance when travelling in other European Union countries, making an O2 UK SIM card an ideal SIM card for use when travelling elsewhere in Europe. However there are some conditions.
With the O2 UK SIM card you can use your inclusive calls and data in the following countries (Europe zone countries): Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guyana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Martinique, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, Saint Barthelemy (St Barts), St Martin, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
This covers all European Union countries plus Iceland and Norway and French territories in the Caribbean and South America. However, it does not include other European countries including Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, the Channel Islands (Jersey and Guernsey), Georgia, the Isle of Man, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Switzerland and Ukraine.
|The O2 SIM is a great option if you are travelling in most European countries, but the Three UK SIM may be a better option if your trip includes the Channel Islands or Switzerland.|
The included value you can use when roaming in Europe outside the United Kingdom will depend on which tariff your O2 UK SIM card is set up on. Generally the Big Bundle plans are the best value for roaming outside the UK as they include a bundle of calls and data that work throughout the European Union.
|These cheap European roaming rates may be discontinued when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. At this stage, this is scheduled for 11pm (UK time) on Friday 29 March 2019. The cost of using your SIM card outside the United Kingdom may increase if your trip extends beyond this date.|
European roaming with the International SIM tariff
The International SIM tariff is reasonably priced for calls and data access when roaming outside the UK, but the Big Bundle tariffs are much better value. The cheap international calls that are included with this plan are only available to you when you are using your SIM in the United Kingdom. You are able to use data from your data bundle (if you have bonus data from a top up or if you have added a data bolt-on) when travelling in European Union countries. Free calls to other O2 mobile phones are also available when travelling in EU countries (but this only applies to phones on the O2 UK network, not to phones on O2's networks in other European countries).
- Incoming calls free
- Calls to the UK 30p/minute
- Calls to other O2 UK mobiles free if you have a bundle of free calls to O2 mobile phones (you get a free bundle of calls to other O2 mobiles for 30 days whenever you top up £15 or more)
- Data access you can use data from your bundle
When roaming in Europe zone countries using an O2 SIM card on the International SIM tariff, you can access any data that is included in any bolt-on data package. This means that you should add a bolt-on data package before leaving the UK (the £1/day data rate only applies when you’re on the O2 network in the UK).
European roaming with a Big Bundle tariff
The Big Bundle tariff is the best value for European roaming. With this tariff you can use your included call and data bundle (up to a maximum of 10GB per month) when travelling in Europe zone countries.
The Big Bundle plans give you a monthly call and data allowance. The total call and data allowance is for use in both the UK and when roaming in Europe zone countries, however the way that the calls and data can be used varies depending on whether you are using your phone in the United Kingdom or when roaming in Europe zone countries. For instance if you are on the £30 Big Bundle plan you get 3000 minutes of calls during the one month validity of your plan, in the UK this call allowance can only be used for calls to UK numbers, but when travelling in Europe zone countries it can be used for local calls, calls to the UK and calls to other Europe zone countries.
|Incoming calls are free on all O2 plans when travelling in Europe zone countries.|
The inclusive data allowance in your O2 tariff can be used when roaming in Europe zone countries up to a maximum of 10GB in a 30-day period. This means that you can use the maximum data allowance if you are on the £15 Big Bundle tariff, but only 10GB of your 20GB data allowance if you are on the £30 Big Bundle tariff.
O2's European roaming is a great deal, but there are some terms and conditions:
- Your first use of the O2 SIM card must occur on O2's network in the United Kingdom
- You cannot use the SIM roaming in Europe (outside the UK) for longer than 60 days in any four-month period
- You cannot use more than 10GB data roaming in Europe (outside the UK) during a 30-day period. This means that if you are on a Big Bundle package with more than 10GB data (such as the £30 Big Bundle plan with 20GB data), then you are restricted to using only 10GB data when roaming in Europe outside the UK (although you can use the rest of the 20GB data package in the UK).
- Data roaming must be enabled on your phone in order to access data when travelling outside the UK.
- It is likely that these cheap European roaming rates may be discontinued when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
Cheaper calls to countries outside Europe when travelling outside the UK
Calls made within the European Union (for instance calls made from France to Spain) are cheap (you can use your included minutes for these calls), but calls made to non-EU countries while roaming within the EU (for instance calls made from France to Australia) are considerably more expensive (calls to Australia cost £1.99/minute, regardless of which O2 tariff you have). Fortunately there are a lot of ways to make cheaper calls home when travelling outside the United Kingdom.
Apps such as Facetime, Localphone, Rebtel, Skype or Viber all give you cheap (and in some instances, free) calls home to Australia. Because these apps use a lot of data it is best to use them when you have a Wi-Fi connection. These apps can also be used when you're in the UK, especially if you have the £15 Big Bundle package which does not include discounted international calls.
We recommend adding credit to either a Rebtel or Skype account. If you have credit on a Rebtel or Skype account you are able to call any phone (not just other Rebtel or Skype users) at very low rates. An advantage of Rebtel is that it has the option of piggybacking your international call on top of a local call to minimise data use (although this does use your inclusive call minutes).
Topping up your credit
Your SIM card is pre-loaded with credit and is ready to use when you arrive in the UK, however it is easy to top up extra credit after arriving in the UK.
Even though you will have a zero pound balance on your prepaid account (if you are on one of the Big Bundle plans), credit will have been added to your account the day you arrived (but O2 will have taken this to pay for your Big Bundle plan). If you’re on a Big Bundle plan, you should not need to top up any extra credit as you will have a bundle of calls and data that will last for 30 days from the date you arrive in the UK.
You may need to top-up additional credit for the following reasons:
- You need to call a premium number that is not included in your free calls
- You need to make international calls
- You want to extend your service for an additional month (you need to top up £15 to extend the £15 Big Bundle tariff for another month or £30 to extend the £30 Big Bundle tariff for another month)
Topping up at shops in the UK
You can buy top-up vouchers from over 100,000 shops in the UK including corner shops, newsagents (including WH Smith), post offices, petrol stations, pharmacies (like Boots and Superdrug) and supermarkets (like Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose). The minimum value top-up voucher is £10.
Any shop in the UK that has the green top-up logo will sell top-up vouchers for the O2 network.
Just ask the cashier at any of these shops for an O2 top-up voucher and you will be given a top-up voucher that looks like a receipt. The top-up voucher will include instructions for redeeming your top up. Basically, to redeem a top-up voucher call 4444 from your mobile and follow the prompts (which will ask you to key in the code printed on the voucher).
As a tourist, you can not top up directly with O2. You must purchase a top-up voucher from a retailer in the UK or from a third-party top-up site.
Only UK residents can top up by calling O2 or through the O2 website, as O2 only accept credit cards issued in the UK (with a UK billing address). However, there is no problem buying top-up vouchers from other retailers (or even from O2’s own physical retail outlets).
Topping up when travelling in Europe
You can only buy credit from shops in the United Kingdom, but there are still other ways that you can top up when travelling outside the UK.
|You can only use top up vouchers for the O2 UK network. You can not use top up vouchers for the O2 network in Germany to top up this SIM card.|
If you are travelling outside the UK you can top up online at mobiletopup.co.uk (this website will accept payment by PayPal and also accepts Australian credit cards).
Before you leave the UK to travel around Europe, it is a good idea to buy credit in the UK as top up vouchers purchased from retail shops in the UK are slightly cheaper than credit purchased online.
Help is just a phone call away
If you have any questions with your SIM card when you are travelling in the United Kingdom (or elsewhere in Europe) it is easy to get help. You can call O2's UK-based customer service centre or if you prefer you can call us directly. We have a UK number (020 3286 2828) that will come out of your generous allowance of minutes of your Big Bundle package. Our UK number is also the cheapest way to contact us if you are roaming elsewhere in Europe (as it will come out of your call allowance). However if you are calling us from the UK with a SIM card set up on the International SIM tariff, then it will be cheapest for you to call our Australian number +61 3 9988 0686. You can call our UK number 24 hours a day.
Frequently asked questions
When will I know my UK mobile phone number?
You will know your UK mobile phone number as soon as you receive your SIM card. Your phone number is printed on the back of the SIM card packaging. It is the 11-digit number starting with 07 printed under the barcode.
Does my phone need to be unlocked?
Yes. Your phone must always be unlocked before using a SIM card from a different network. Although nowadays, many phones are sold already unlocked; it is best to check that your phone is unlocked prior to travelling. If you’re on a contract, most networks will unlock your phone free of charge (Vodafone may charge a small fee for unlocking your phone but Optus and Telstra generally don’t charge anything).
Can I use my phone as a mobile hotspot?
Yes. Unlike many other European prepaid mobile services, O2 let you tether (use your phone as a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot). This wasn’t always the case and up until early 2017 this was a service restricted to customers on contract, but now all O2 customers including prepaid customers can use their phone as a mobile hotspot.
A couple of important points:
- If you have an Apple iPhone, tethering will only work with an iPhone 5 or newer and it needs to be running iOS 10.1 or higher.
- Tethering is only supported when using your phone on the O2 network in the United Kingdom. There is no guarantee that it will work when roaming on other networks outside the UK.
Do I need to register my service and do I need to provide ID?
No. There is no requirement to register your service or show identification when activating a new mobile phone service in the United Kingdom. Simply put it in an unlocked phone and turn it on when you arrive in the UK and it is ready to go.
When will my SIM card start working?
When you buy your SIM card from us, we ask for the date you arrive in the UK. We add credit to your SIM card just after midnight (UK time) so your SIM card is ready to use the day you arrive in the UK. It is important to let us know if your travel dates change so we can ensure that your mobile service is ready to use as soon as you arrive in the United Kingdom.
How long will my SIM card remain active for?
If you are on the International SIM tariff you can keep using your service until you have run out of credit, then top up more credit to keep using it again. If you are on one of the Big Bundle plans your service will be valid for 30 days from the date you arrive in the UK, you can extend your mobile service for another 30 days simply buy topping up enough credit (£15 or £30 depending on your Big Bundle tariff) to pay for your next month of service.
If your credit runs out or your Big Bundle package ends, your SIM card will remain active for six months from the last date you used your phone (the last date you accessed data, sent a text message or made a phone call). You can top up your credit within this six month period to start using your service again, but if you go for longer than six months without using your SIM card, your service will expire and you will need to buy a new SIM card.
If you regularly travel to the UK or Europe, you can keep your SIM card active simply by popping it in your phone in Australia (make sure you turn off data roaming first) at least once every six months to send a text message (the cheapest thing you can do when roaming outside Europe). You will need extra credit on your account to do this.
Please note the above rates are current as of 13 December 2017