We found the Best SIM card with data in London and Europe. We wanted to know where to get a prepaid data SIM in London and which was the best London sim card for tourists. It came from an unlikely source, and also worked in Europe which was a bonus.
Updated, June 1st 2017
- 1 Updated, June 1st 2017
- 2 Why you Need the Best Sim Card with Data in London, UK and Europe
- 3 Data only device SIM for your iPad, tablet or mobile wi-fi device.
- 4 Good Reasons to have Internet Connections
- 5 Tesco’s is the place to get the Best Sim Card with Data
- 6 Gordon explains the Best Sim Card with Data in London
- 7 Our Best SIM card with Data in London worked in Europe
- 8 Other Sim Card Recommendations in Different Countries
Update from 2017
We got another Three card while we were on a 50 day cruise. It worked in Italy, Greece, Croatia, Montenegro, Spain, Portugal, England, France, Belgium, Amsterdam, Norway, Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Germany. It did not work in Russia, but we knew that beforehand.
8GB for £15 (Was £21) 1 Month SIM plan.
600 Minutes and all-you-can-eat texts.
Includes roaming and tethering allowance.
Why you Need the Best Sim Card with Data in London, UK and Europe
If you a tragic traveller forever tethered to hot spots, live in cafes to stay on the line with your friends, or even need it for work as we do, then you want the most convenient and best SIM card with Data?
Do you fear using your phone from home, as you know that your carrier is going to really slug you with data roaming costs? We have suffered data shock ourselves, copping an awful bill once upon a time.
When we arrived in London, we were determined not to cut off our noses to spite our face(s) by not having access to our phones for some reasons.
Data only device SIM for your iPad, tablet or mobile wi-fi device.
Three UK’s starter pack is designed to be used in tablets, iPads and hotspots, and is preloaded with 3GB of data (valid for three months) so you can get on the internet as soon as you arrive in the UK. You do not need to activate this SIM – it is ready to go without needing to set up an account or fiddle around. As they say, it is Internet with Legs!
Good Reasons to have Internet Connections
Other than we live on our computers as travel writers, there are other advantages.
If we separate, then we need a form of communication to speak to one another, and we still, despite sending postcards and letters, check in with our mothers’ weekly. (People, it does not matter what age you are …)
Tesco’s is the place to get the Best Sim Card with Data
We had researched about the best place to get a sim card with data before we went. We didn’t buy it at Heathrow Airport though we had discussed it. Rather reviews leaned towards going to Tesco’s and having a chat with them, which we did.
We spoke to the salesman and he told us the package to get. It was by Three. Outlined below are all of the details by Gordon, as he understands this better than I do. We were delighted with the very reasonable cost, and the ease with the transaction not to mention that we were then able to communicate. We were told that it would probably only work in London .. but .. it worked in Zurich, Geneva, Bern, Strasbourg, and Paris with no extra outlay.
As it turned out, our accommodation in London had third world Internet connection … actually worse …. so we were using our phones as our internet connections, otherwise we would not have got any work done.
Gordon explains the Best Sim Card with Data in London
Paula always demands immediate gratification and was suffering tech withdrawal. Yes, this is the same Paula who once derided me for taking a laptop on vacation. Well now 50% of our baggage are computers and cameras with their cables/chargers to power her tech addiction. (Gordon exaggerates!)
I just told the man at Tesco, that we were data hogs. As Australians, I was expecting to get gouged for a prepaid sim card with a decent data allowance. The Tesco salesman said Three have an all-you-can-eat data bundle. It is a uber affordable no-frills service, and no they are not paying us for this.
Details of How to get a Sim card in London
This bundle gives you 300 mins, 3000 t & All-you-can-eat data. This lasts for a month.
We said yes immediately. What ID do we need? He said none just £0.99 for the THREE PYAG SIM and £15 for a top-up voucher and an unlocked phone.
Connection process of your Sim card in London
- Insert new SIM into handset (salesman had pin to open iphone and installed SIM)
- Call 444 and wait for message from 3 to notify connection is ok.
- You now have zero balance.
- Call 444 free from your Three phone.
- Select Top-up with a voucher and enter the 16-digit number printed across the receipt. Once you’ve entered the voucher code, your account will be topped up.
- Don’t hang up as they will tell you your account now has a balance
- You can then follow the voice instructions to convert your top-up into an Add-on.
- Total cost of a sim card in London for a month 15.99 UK pounds
We then had a high-speed independent Internet solution for our stay in England, and as it turned out for France and for Switzerland too.
Our Best SIM card with Data in London worked in Europe
For Paula and I to continue to work, we now had our own hotspots.
Our own real little Australian sim cards enjoyed a much needed break in our suitcases.
So, that is how to get the Best SIM card with Data in London and Europe cheaply – that worked also in Switzerland and France. Bonus – and as I said before.
Other Sim Card Recommendations in Different Countries
Local Sim Card in India
.For the many Brits who travel to India on vacation, I read a very informative article on getting a local SIM card in India, that will make your life easier.
Local Sim Card in Vietnam
When we go to Vietnam, this is what we recommend to keep you connected, the best sim card in Vietnam
3 do seem to have the best options BUT it does not work everywhere in UK . We are traveling west of London to a rural village and there is no coverage 🙁
chances are no matter what you had, it might not work. There are pockets everywhere in the world, where the infrastructure just hasn’t caught up.
Wow you have given out some very handy information ,the only question i ask you is can you ring back to Australia on these PAYG plans as i will need to do so every 3rd day for the three weeks i am in London And Paris.
these are sim cards not phone cards, Brent. We use Skype to phone home to Australia. Hope that helps, a little.
I was very happy that i stumbled across your article. I will be travelling to London > Brussel >Paris for my honeymoon this March and i was looking for the perfect simcard to use. I will only use data. No calls or sms. It would be great if i can use this simcard at Paris because it would save a lot of money.
I noticed that you mentioned this simcard works at Paris. How to enable the feature? Is there any steps or procedures needed?. Is it because u are using roaming feature?
It just kept working in Paris, we were surprised.We just put the sim card in in London, and kept going without doing anything. We became immediate fans.
Hi! Going to London, France and Spain end of February. Just want to clarify you bought the sim in a tesco in London not in Australia right? Would you by any chance know if it’s also available in Hearhrow?
We did buy it in London at tesco. I tried to find whether they have an outlet at Heathrow, but it was a little confusing. Have a look at this link, it might help you http://www.three.co.uk/Search/?q=heathrow
There are several different sizes of Tescos. The smaller ones just have a drawer of SIM cards, but are really no help. The bigger ones have a kiosk, but there were none local to us.
We ended up going to a THREE company store who helped set us up. We went with a PAYG plan, which worked find and worked in France (though France talk time ate through 300 minutes in about 3 minutes). 1GB for under L20, IIRC.
I didn’t remember the details or I would have pushed them on this point and probably have gone this route.
Thanks Kurt, all handy information and we will update this article shortly.
What does this mean please?
“1GB for under L20, IIRC.”
I’ll be in London Sept 17-25 with one of those days in France
Not sure; I know is is one gigabyte, but this was a readers response. I tried to find out details from the company, but to no avail. Sorry.
Thank you for searching. When you used your phone in France on this plan… did it cost extra? Did you have to put extra pounds on the pay as go account?
No it didn’t cost extra – we just kept using what we had initially paid for in a few European countries. My husband topped it up once with a voucher number that he just added to the phone. I eat a lot of data.
I am traveling from the US to study in London for 5 months. Do I cancel my plan through my provider and have them “unlock” it and then just put a new SIM card in my phone when I get there??
As you will be in London for 5 months, it is probably a waste for you to pay this in the US. Yes, get your phone unlocked and then insert the new Sim, and check for the best plan when you arrive, as they change rapidly.
I’ll be in the UK for 20 days in May 2017 and I’m wracking my brain trying to find the most economical PAYG SIM that works with my non-band 20 (800 MHz) HTC phone. On the Three website, I can only find the “Pay As You Go – All in One £20” plan which gives 12GB data/300 min/3000texts and prohibits tethering. What other similarly priced options are available that give at least 5-6GB and allow tethering? And also allows me to use my non-band 20 phone for 4G connectivity? Thanks!
It has been a while since we used Three, so I intend to update the article. We had no problem with tethering, in fact we relied in it. I found a couple of articles that may help. This one directly relates to the phone you are using http://editorsean.com/articles/three-using-lte-band-20-800mhz-and-throttling-downloads/ and this one is the latest review. In saying that, we found it outperformed the reviews last year. https://www.cable.co.uk/guides/is-3-mobile-any-good/
Hi Paula – I’m hoping to use this sim in several european countries (Sweden/Norway/UK/France) – will this work across borders? I know that THREE is a european brand…
It did for us.
Thanks for your great info.
“You can then follow the voice instructions to convert your top-up into an Add-on.”
To be specific, do you recall which add-on to subscribe to with £15?
the voice on the phone walks you through it
Hi Paula, wow…what a refreshing post. I am definitely going to get this SIM by Three at TESCO. Going to bring along my own MIFI and hopefully tethering will work just as well.
It will work.
Hi, great help in the info. I’ll be in Europe for holiday and the first stop is UK followed by Netherlands, Germany and France. Does the sim supports the European countries and tethering?
Yes, it did. We were very surprised that it worked everywhere.
Hi Paula, i hope you still check this post, my girlfriend will be in Europe for the next 2 weeks so your post is really helpful.
Couple of questIons:
Was that a pay as you go sim? Or was it a plan? I’m trying to help her find a sim card with data but i only find Sim card only plans (with monthly payment) Does that means she has to get a contract?
If yes on the contract… since she’ll only be there for a couple of weeks, can she cancel that at any time?
Pre paid. We didn’t get a contract, just topped it up after a month. Just go to Tesco and they will put it in and it works everywhere.
heading over to London and Paris in 3 weeks for Partners birthday…..this bit puzzled me. ” We said yes immediately. What ID do we need? He said none just £0.99 for the THREE PYAG SIM and £15 for a top-up voucher and an unlocked phone.”
Does this mean you purchased an unlocked phone also. Or do you mean you need to have an unlocked phone. Also was there any DATA included or was it purely call and text.
Hi Ian, we had an unlocked phone with us. It was unlimited data, which was perfect for us working on the road. Enjoy London, and Paris, and make sure your read some of my Paris posts too.
Hi may I know what is an unlocked phone? I’m using an iPhone 6plus. my sis told me that when she was in London she couldn’t use the Sim bcoz it was the bigger SIM card and the shop she purchased it from did not have the tool to cut the card.
That’s odd. Most shops will have the correct tools to trim the card. An unlocked phone means you have ask your service provider to unlock it.
This is great help, thanks! I’m heading to Edinburgh in December but I will also be going to London and then back to Edinburgh. Do you happen to know if this service is available UK wide? Will I be able to use the same network service and data in both Edinburgh and London?
Also, were you able to start using the SIM card and its data right after activating it or does it take a few hours to activate after calling “444” to TOP up?
I look forward to your respond, thanks!
yes and yes to your questions re UK wide, and is service. We were able to use the service immediately,before we were out of the shop actually. We topped it up from Australia to use in Europe also. Love it. They should pay me for this I think.
Which tesco store did you went to?
I think it was Tesco Surrey Quays
Great help, thanks.
pleasure, it really was an excellent card.