Best eSIM to Travel to the UK in 2022

Best eSIM to Travel to the UK in 2022

Don't lose your Internet connectivity while travelling!

These days, internet connectivity is a necessity when travelling. However, sometimes it may be hard to stay connected while travelling abroad either due to lack of coverage or excessive roaming fees. That is why travel eSIMs have appeared as a new alternative to local SIMs and international roaming. 

Today, we’re going to tell you about the different companies that offer the best eSIM to connect to the internet in the United Kingdom, how to buy one, activate it, and how to use it, as well as its advantages and disadvantages. In the end, we will tell you about other options that you still have available if your cellphone doesn’t support this new technology.

What is an eSIM?

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The eSIM is an embedded SIM card that allows you to activate multiple cellular plans on a single device. This virtual card is integrated into the latest generation of devices, so it is expected that, in a short time, they will replace the traditional SIM card altogether. 

The eSIM is usually installed on a cellphone by scanning a QR code provided by the cellular company. All the information about the operator to which it will connect, and the data allowed in the device, are included in the QR code. Learn more about the eSIM here.

Why is an eSIM necessary in the UK?

An eSIM in the UK is necessary for multiple reasons that go beyond connecting to the internet. Some of the reasons include:

  • Effortless, quick, and safe purchase online!
  • It’s a more reliable, secure, and convenient way to get cellular data.
  • The user doesn’t have to change his/her cellphone or get a new number.
  • You can forget about the high roaming costs with your domestic operator.
  • You’ll have an internet connection as soon as you land in the UK!

eSIMs for traveling to the United Kingdom are an excellent option if you buy them before you travel. Well, as a traveler, it may be difficult for you to find a store that doesn’t ask for anything apart from the passport and you don’t want any miscommunication due to the language barrier at the time of purchase.

What cell phones are compatible with eSIM?

Since the iPhone XR and XS were launched on the market in 2018, most new devices are already configured to use eSIM cards. Some compatible models are iPhone XS, XR onwards, and iPhone SE 2 (2020). In addition, the eSIM for traveling to the United Kingdom is compatible with all 4G iPads.

For its part, the models compatible with the eSIM in Samsung are Samsung Galaxy S20 onwards, Galaxy Fold onwards, Galaxy Note 20 onwards, and Galaxy Z Flip onwards.

As for the Huawei brand, the cell phones that are compatible with virtual SIMs are Huawei P40, P40 Pro, Mate 40 Pro, and recent versions. 

If we talk about Google Pixel, the models compatible with eSIM are Google Pixel 2, Google Pixel 3, 3rd, Pixel 4, 4 XL, 4a, 5, and their most recent versions.

As for the Oppo brand, only Oppo Find X3 Pro and Oppo Reno 5A support eSIM. Since the Oppo Find X5 Lite model is incompatible.

Motorola, for its part, has the following compatible models: Razr (2019 onwards) and Razr 5G (dual SIM).

Other brands that are also compatible with eSIM are Nuu Móvil X5, Gemini PDA, Rakuten Mini, Sony Xperia 10 III Lite, Sony Xperia 1 IV, Rakuten Big-S, Rakuten Big, Honor Magic 4 Pro.

The best eSIM data plans for the UK

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Since the eSIM for traveling to the UK became popular among travelers, multiple providers have appeared on the market. Therefore, it will be useful to know what they offer and what purchase options are available. Among them, we have Holafly, E.E., Three UK and Vodafone.


Holafly is a company that specializes in travel eSIM cards, and they include a data package at a flat rate. The eSIM can be purchased online through their virtual store, from where it is possible to select the prepaid eSIM for the United Kingdom, which includes unlimited data plans lasting from one week to three months.

In addition, you don’t need to be a UK resident or show any type of documentation to buy the data eSIM.

Advantages of using a Holafly eSIM in the UK

  • All packages offered are unlimited.
  • It is cheaper than data roaming.
  • Super easy and fast purchase process.
  • Installation of the eSIM in a few steps.
  • Possibility of keeping the same WhatsApp number.
  • No need to carry personal documents to buy an eSIM.
  • No registration or subscription is needed.
  • Customer service 24 hours a day and in English.

Features not included in the Holafly eSIM

    • Holafly eSIM plans don’t include a cellphone number.


  • Can only be used on a cellular device.



E.E. is a cellular carrier in the United Kingdom, one of the most important that offers internet services under 4G and 5G networks. This brand has one of the fastest connections and widest coverage. 

Advantages of using an E.E. eSIM in the UK

  • Just scan the QR code to activate the eSIM.
  • It offers you the My EE App to manage the eSIM.

Considerations to consider the E.E. eSIM for the UK

  • It’s only available for customers with monthly payments, this feature is not included in Pay As You Go plans.

Note: If you are a frequent traveller, read our article about eSIM data plans in the USA.

Three UK

Three is one of the leading telecommunications companies in the UK. Since 2019 it offers a connection to the 5G network. But Three’s eSIM for the UK was only released as a trial. That is, right now, it’s not possible to update, replace or buy another one in physical stores or their online store.

Other aspects to consider of the Three UK eSIM for the United Kingdom

  • Currently it’s not possible to buy an eSIM from this company.


This is one of the main companies in the UK that offer virtual cards, with a data plan, to surf the web and use the most important apps. It is supported by having extensive cellular networks. This Vodafone virtual SIM can be used on both phones and smartwatches. 

However, presently there’s no option for tourists, and it requires a monthly payment. That means that it’s not possible to buy it in their Pay As You Go plans.

Advantages of using a Vodafone eSIM in the UK

  • You don’t have to sign contracts or go through cumbersome paperwork to buy one.
  • No activation cost!

Details to consider of the Vodafone eSIM for the UK

  • Only available to monthly payment customers.
  • To make an online purchase, you must first have a physical SIM card from Vodafone.
  • The change from eSIM to physical SIM costs $5 USD.

How to activate an eSIM in the UK

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Here you can see the steps to follow to activate an eSIM in the United Kingdom, depending on the cellular device: iPhone and Android.

Apple iPhone

  • In Holafly, you must go to Settings >> Mobile data >> Add new plan >> scan the QR code >> wait for the notification on the screen that the installation has finished.
  • In the case of EE, you can download the QR code from My EE and scan it with your cellphone (use two screens). You have to go to Settings >> Add data plan >> scan the code >> wait for the confirmation and click on Add data plan. You can also dial 150 from an EE cellphone or visit a physical store. 


  • On Android, the Holafly eSIM is activated as follows: go to Settings >> Network and Internet >> SIM card manager >> Add mobile plan >> scan the QR code >> choose the eSIM as default for cellular data >> activate cellular data and roaming.
  • To activate EE eSIM on an Android device, you need to go to Settings >> Connections >> SIM card manager>> Add mobile plan >> Add using QR code>> take a picture of the QR code >> tap on Register> > OK.

Comparison of the eSIM for the UK and other alternatives to connect to the internet

If you have a cellphone that is incompatible with the eSIM for the United Kingdom, you should know that there are other options to connect to the internet. But it may be difficult for you to make the best decision, so here’s a comparison.

eSIM to travel to the UK vs. Prepaid SIM card for the UK

There are many differences between an eSIM and a SIM card. An eSIM is a purely digital chip that can be used to supply cellular internet connection in any destination, while a SIM card is a physical card that stores subscriber information and that you need to connect to a cellular network in order for it to work.

eSIM for the UK vs. Data roaming

eSIMs provide an easier way to manage cellular data without having to worry about paying anything to the local operator, meanwhile, data roaming is a service provided by the domestic operator back home so that you connect to the internet when you travel abroad with or without additional fees. It all depends on your operator. 

Data roaming allows you to use your phone in other countries by connecting it to a local network provider. While this may sound attractive, it can also come with high rates for voice calls and SMS messages.

Pocket Wi-Fi vs. eSIM for the UK

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The eSIM can be installed on your cellphone. It holds the information on the data plan and the user can activate it on the go. The Pocket WiFi, however, is a pocket-sized device that connects to the internet through local networks and can be used as a hotspot when traveling abroad.

How much cellular data do you need to travel to the UK?

It’s difficult to have an answer for those who wonder how much cellular data they will need to travel to the United Kingdom. This is because the quick answer would be: it depends.

It depends on the data consumption you have, but to give you an idea, if you’re one of those who usually play videos online, make video calls, upload posts to your social media and take a brief look at Google Maps, the minimum you need it is a plan with 1 GB per day.

Which UK operators are compatible with eSIM?

Several cellular operators support eSIM in the UK. Some of them are:

  • EE
  • O2
  • Vodafone

These carriers support eSIM activation on iPhones by scanning the QR code or using the carrier app.

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