This information has now been superseded – please CLICK HERE to be taken to the 2022 SIM card advise page.
Networks and Data SIM Cards – Updated June 2021
If you’re mainly travelling in the UK, there are 4 networks to choose from. While the best value often comes in the form of a contract, paying a monthly fee may not be desirable if you’re not able to use the van every month or have an alternative use for the SIM eg in the car.
EE tends to have superior coverage in the UK, this is especially true in Scotland as their masts also serve the frontline ambulance 4G network there. Consequently, their cost per GB can be a bit higher than other networks.
Three, through its PAYG sister company Smarty offers excellent value with ‘Unlimited Data’ from just £20. Packages last 30 days and the SIM can lay dormant without charge for up to 6 months. In addition, you get 10% discount on one or more SIM’s if you need one for your phone. All of Motorhome WiFi’s 4G and 5G Ready Built in WiFi systems come with a Smarty SIM card free or charge. Packages last for 30 days from topup. Data can be manually added or you can choose ‘auto renew’ if you wish for Smarty to automtically renew each month. This option can also be changed on a month by month basis in your account settings when logged into your account at www.smarty.co.uk
Vodafone uses a long range, low frequency transmission for much of its rural coverage which means it sometimes gets into areas where others don’t. However, long range comes at the cost of download speed. Vodafone’s PAYG arm is called VOXI.
O2 originally had the best GSM network for calls, but it does struggle for data. They’re the only network not to have an offering for 4G home routers and actively prohibit handset SIM’s used in routers. Their PAYG arm is called GiffGaff.
Current PAYG Packages including Roaming Limitations
Brexit and Roaming in Europe
While the legislation that made the end to European roaming charges possible is no longer law, many networks have committed to maintaining its principals.
For those spending less than 60 days in Europe within a 120 day period, nothing has changed with regards to roaming limitations. For those who intend to spend the full 90 day allowance in Europe, networks have indicated that they are more likely to seek to enforce a ~60 day limit which has always previously existed in most networks T&C’s to impose charges after this period.
Vodafone, the only network which didn’t have a time limitation on EU use in its T&C’s, has updated its Fair Usage Policy (FUP) as of 18 th January 2021 with the same ~60 day limitation. For those seeking to use their full 90-day EU travel allowance, it might be worth checking with your operator or having an alternative for the final 30 days of travel.
While calls are relatively reasonable, data becomes very expensive. The UK has adopted a £45 cap on billing charges when roaming in Europe, meaning that worst case scenario, this is the most you could be charged without being halted.
Prices correct at time of publication – please note that information published on this page is freely given on the premise of good faith.