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Use cell phone in the UK: How to do it?

If your next destination is UK, then you must be wondering if you'll be able to use your cell phone in the UK, and here we'll explain it all.

august 30, 2023

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If your next trip is to the UK, then you will need an internet connection to enjoy your trip to the fullest. Whether it is to share the best moments of your trip on social media or to keep in touch with your relatives, among others, you will need to use your cellphone in the UK, and throughout this article, we will be telling you how you will be able to do it. 

Surely, you must be asking yourself many questions about whether your cellphone will work in the UK, and there are many things you should consider to be able to use your phone. Also, you must know all the alternatives to having an internet connection while you are traveling, so you can choose the best option for you. Read on to find out more.

Unlimited data eSIM for the United Kingdom

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Will my phone work in the UK?

Generally speaking, you will most likely be able to use your cell phone while you are in the UK. However, there are different factors to consider knowing if you will be able to acquire some kind of service to have internet, as well as to know how fast your cellphone will work while you are in this European country. 

The first thing to check is that your cellphone has open bands; this is because if it does not, you will not be able to connect to a different internet network than the one you use at home. This means that you will only be able to use your carrier’s roaming, and we know that this is an expensive option. 

On the other hand, another factor to consider is the network frequencies that your cellphone works with and, of course, the country you are visiting. This is necessary so that you know in advance how fast your internet connection will be while you are traveling. Below you can see the network frequencies in the UK. 

  • 5G bands: n1 (2100), n28a (700), n28b (700), n78 (3500)
  • 4G bands: B1 (2100), B3 (1800), B7 (2600), B20 (800), B28a (700), B32 (1500), B40 (TDD 2300)
  • 3G bands: B1 (2100), B8 (900)
  • 2G bands: B3 (1800), B8 (900)

Do I need an international plan in the UK?

International cellular plans to stay connected to the internet are becoming more and more popular among travelers. And many confess that it is because of the many advantages and benefits that people can enjoy when traveling with an international plan on their phones. 

And you may be wondering what an international plan is. This is a type of service that will allow you to stay connected to the internet while you are traveling. And besides, it is available in different internet connection products, which we will discuss later.

It is important not to confuse an international plan with international roaming. The first one is, as its word says, a plan that offers you some kind of cellular connectivity service. However, roaming is an option that your domestic operator offers to have internet access without purchasing an extra service. Read on to find out more about the differences between the two. 

What are the International plans options for using my cell phone in the UK?

Nowadays, there is a wide variety of services that offer you the use of international plans, either to enjoy cellular data, make calls or even send SMS while you are in another country. 

Among the most characteristic services with which you can purchase an international plan to use your cellphone in the UK, you will find eSIM and SIM cards, options with which you are probably somewhat familiar. Likewise, you can also purchase pocket WiFi, ideal for those traveling in a group. And while free WiFi doesn’t give you a plan, it’s a service you can enjoy as well. 

Below we will talk in more detail about each of these alternatives, their advantages, and disadvantages. As well as where to buy them and their prices. 

Unlimited data eSIM for the UK

eSIIM for the UK
eSIM with unlimited data in the United Kingdom, Source: Holafly.

As a first option, we will talk about eSIMs. These have become one of the favorites among travelers, as they are very similar to the common SIM cards we’re all familiar with, with the big difference that eSIMs are completely digital. 

That is why nowadays it is effortless to buy and use an eSIM since you can do everything from the comfort of your home and at the time you prefer. However, as eSIMs are a recent technology, they are incompatible with all types of cell phone models, being the latest generation of cellphones the most compatible with eSIMs.

As for where to buy an eSIM, there are currently many online stores that offer this type of service. Holafly is a Spanish online store that offers an eSIM for the UK, and best of all they offer unlimited data! Plus many more benefits such as 24-hour technical support, a variety of plans to choose from, and a connection to the best internet networks in the country you are visiting. 

Finally, when it comes to pricing, Holafly’s eSIMs international plans stand out for the same reason, with prices starting at $19 for 5 days of unlimited data. However, you can choose the number of days you prefer and the number of days that best suits your trip. Whenever you need to recharge your eSIM service through top-ups for more days or data.

International SIM Card for the UK

Now it’s time to discuss prepaid SIM cards, an alternative that you may know more about. This has been one of the most used options among travelers over the years. It is very easy to acquire, either through online stores or through physical operator stores once you are in your destination country. 

In addition, the prepaid SIM card is the perfect alternative for those who do not have an eSIM-compatible cellphone. When buying from online stores you should make sure that the supplier can ship the SIM card to your country. When you do it with local UK operators you should consider that it may take time before you have internet abroad and that you will find fewer plans for tourists compared to residents. 

Pocket WiFi for the UK

On the other hand, we also have famous and previously very popular, Pocket WiFi. This is a small device that transmits an internet signal to the devices connected to it. 

The great advantage of the Pocket WiFi, and the reason why many people were interested in getting one, is that it is possible to connect between 5 and 10 devices to it, including cellphones, laptops, tablets, and more.

However, it is known that the Pocket WiFi is very expensive, since not only will you have to pay for the plan you want, but also for the rental of the device, as well as the shipping, and on many occasions for extra accessories and insurance for the device. 

Cello Mobile is an American company that rents Pocket WiFi. The price to rent one of their devices for a week to the UK is $349.99. This does not include shipping fee. And just like Cello Mobile, there are now many companies offering this service with different features and prices. 

Free WiFi in the UK

Finally, if you want to save money but also stay connected to the internet, in the UK, you can find many places with free Wi-Fi. Whether it is in a shopping mall, restaurant, bar, the hotel you are staying at, and many more places. 

However, one thing you should be aware of is that free WiFi hotspots are not very reliable, as anyone can connect to them, and your personal information could be hacked. Also, it is not a very stable alternative since, to be connected to the internet, you will have to be close to a place that offers free WiFi.

That is why we recommend you to use this alternative as the last option or in case of an emergency. That way, you can enjoy your trip to the fullest, without network stability problems or insecurity. 

Will my local Internet work in the UK?

We have already talked a lot about international plans and the advantages you will have with each option. So, now we’ll elaborate on something you’re probably wondering, will you be able to use the services of your domestic operator in the UK? Most likely that this is possible. 

However, there is something essential to consider, which is that local operators usually charge their users for the consumption they have during their trip. This makes roaming one of the most expensive options of all. If you don’t monitor your data consumption, calls, or messaging, you could come back home with a very high bill. 

Below we will elaborate on the roaming services offered by two very famous operators in the United States to give you an idea of the features and prices of international roaming. 

Use cell phone in the UK with T-Mobile.

T-Mobile is one of the main American operators. T-Mobile’s users with a Gold Plan will be able to roam to the UK without paying extra. However, those users who have a different plan will have to pay for their usage. As for cellular data, this provider charges $15 per MB. 

Use cell phone in the UK with AT&T.

On the other hand, AT&T is another major operator in the USA. This operator offers its users the possibility of using roaming in different ways. First, they offer the International Day Pass, which is priced at $10 per day, and you can enjoy your phone services as you prefer. 

Also, this company offers its services with a pay-per-use option. With this option, you will have to pay only for the use of the services you have. The prices for the UK are $2.05/MB, $2 per minute of calling, and $0.5 per SMS sent. 

What is the best option for using a cell phone in the UK?

Holafly eSIM home
Holafly home website.

We have reached the end of this article, and it is important to give you our opinion on what could be the best option to use your cellphone in the UK and stay connected to the internet at all times. 

After analyzing each of the alternatives, we can say that Holafly’s eSIM and SIM cards are the best options. This is because their services are effortless to acquire. They also offer excellent prices, and best of all, you can enjoy unlimited data. 

However, keep in mind that the best option of all is the one that suits your needs. So, we recommend that you purchase the option that you think is most convenient for you. Finally, we hope you enjoy your trip to the fullest!