The UK’s Cheapest Mobile Network For International Phone Calls

October 1st, 2016

Several UK mobile networks provide a low-cost SIM card for making international phone calls. We compare international calling rates and find the best mobile network for calling different countries.

EarthIf you’re in the UK and if you’re making international phone calls, having the right SIM card can save you significant amounts of money.

With a normal UK SIM card, you’ll sometimes need to pay up to £1.50/minute for calling another country. In contrast, a specialist low-cost SIM card for international calling can bring this down to just a couple of pennies per minute (sometimes to as little as 1p/minute).

In this article, we’ll compare the cost of international calling from the UK to 79 different countries. We’ll look at opt-in deals from the major mobile networks including EE, O2 and Vodafone. We’ll also look at specialist mobile networks for international calling: giffgaff, Lebara Mobile, Lycamobile and Tello.

Overview & Recommendation

Tello SIM CardIn general, we believe Tello and giffgaff are the best value mobile networks for international calling.

Tello is a low-cost mobile network using coverage from Three. As well as having competitive rates for international calling, they also offer highly attractive rates for calling within the UK. You can build your own bundle from £3/month and you can Pay As You Go for 3p/minute, 3p/text and 1p/MB in the UK.

As an alternative, we’d also recommend ordering a SIM card from giffgaff. They have low international rates for both calling and texting and you’re also able to buy a giffgaff goodybag for your usage within the UK. giffgaff makes use of coverage from O2.

In the following table, we show a side-by-side comparison for some of the most frequently-called countries:

CountryCost of calling abroad from the UK (per minute)
EEgiffgaffLebara MobileLycamobileTelloO2Vodafone
China (+86)2p
(2p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
2p
(1p to landline)
3p
(1p to landline)
2.4p
(2.4p to landline)
1.5p
(1.5p to landline)
1.5p
(1.5p to landline)
India (+91)2p2p2p2p2.7p2p1.5p
Ireland (+353)8p
(1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
4.7p
(2.1p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Italy (+39)7p
(2p to landline)
7p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
3p
(2.1p to landline)
10p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Pakistan (+92)10p
(10p to landline)
8p
(8p to landline)
8p
(4p to landline)
8p
(8p to landline)
4.5p
(4.5p to landline)
6p
(6p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Poland (+48)5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
3p
(2.6p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Romania (+40)5p
(1p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
4p
(1p to landline)
3p
(2p to landline)
4p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Sri Lanka (+94)20p
(10p to landline)
14p
(14p to landline)
15p
(12p to landline)
15p
(12p to landline)
14.9p
(15.5p to landline)
14p
(14p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Turkey (+90)15p
(5p to landline)
11p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
11.9p
(3.7p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
United States (+1)3p2p5p6p2p2p1.5p

Cost of calling abroad from a UK mobile network (per minute). As the headline figure, we've shown the per-minute cost of calling a mobile phone number. Where a lower price applies for calling landline numbers, this is shown separately in brackets. Last updated on 1st October 2016. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, lebara.co.uk, lycamobile.co.uk, tello.co.uk, o2.co.uk, vodafone.co.uk.

You can take advantage of the prices above by ordering the relevant SIM card through the links below:

Order Tello SIM card (free) » Order giffgaff International SIM (free) »

You can also order a free SIM card from EE, Lebara Mobile, Lycamobile, O2 or Vodafone. In some cases, you may need to opt-in to get the rates shown above.

How To Opt-In To Lower Rates

On EE, O2 and Vodafone, you’ll need to opt-in to get the best value rates:

  • EE
  • O2
  • Vodafone

Opt-in for the lowest rates on EE, O2 and Vodafone.

  • EE: You’ll need to opt-in to the Call Abroad add-on. It’s free to do this on Pay As You Go and you’ll only need to opt-in once (just text CALL ABROAD to 441). If you don’t opt-in to the offer, you’ll pay EE’s standard rates for calling abroad (this will be at least £1/minute).
  • O2: To get the lowest rates available, you’ll need to be on O2’s International tariff. Existing customers can switch to the tariff by texting INTSIM to 21300. Please be aware however: you can no longer buy a Big Bundle when you’re on the International tariff.
  • Vodafone: You’ll need to opt-in to Vodafone’s International add-on. It’s free to do this on Pay As You Go and you’ll only need to do it once (text INTERNATIONAL to 2345 or call 36888 from your Vodafone handset). If you don’t opt-in to the offer, you’ll pay Vodafone’s standard rates for calling abroad (this will be at least £1/minute).

On giffgaff, Lebara Mobile, Lycamobile and Tello, there’s no need to opt-in to get the rates shown above. Occasionally, you may be able to access slightly cheaper rates through time-limited promotions and offers (e.g. through Lycamobile’s 30-day Saver International promotion).

Europe

If you’re calling a European country, the best value networks will typically be either Lebara Mobile, Tello or O2. Prices start from 2p/minute if you’re calling a mobile and from 1p/minute if you’re calling a landline (the price, however, varies substantially depending on which country you’re calling).

The following table compares the cost of calling mobile phones in another European country (the rate for calling a landline is shown in brackets underneath for each country):

CountryCost of calling abroad from the UK (per minute)
EEgiffgaffLebara MobileLycamobileTelloO2Vodafone
Austria (+43)5p
(2p to landline)
4p
(2p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
20.5p
(5.3p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Belgium (+32)5p
(2p to landline)
4p
(5p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
3.7p
(7.9p to landline)
12p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Bulgaria (+359)20p
(6p to landline)
4p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
3.1p
(2.1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Croatia (+385)15p
(5p to landline)
20p
(2p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
25.5p
(5.5p to landline)
20p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Czech Republic (+420)6p
(2p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
6.5p
(2.9p to landline)
7p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Denmark (+45)5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(6p to landline)
2.9p
(2.2p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Estonia (+372)15p
(5p to landline)
6p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
49p
(6p to landline)
32.9p
(2.8p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Finland (+358)15p
(5p to landline)
6p
(5p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
4.1p
(6.9p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
France (+33)5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
4.9p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Germany (+49)5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(4p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
3.7p
(2.2p to landline)
5p
(1.5p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Gibraltar (+350)£1
(£1 to landline)
13p
(3p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
25p
(7p to landline)
17.5p
(7.5p to landline)
15p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Greece (+30)15p
(5p to landline)
6p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
9p
(1p to landline)
7.5p
(3.3p to landline)
10p
(5p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Hungary (+36)15p
(1p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
4p
(1p to landline)
4.7p
(2p to landline)
4p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Iceland (+354)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
7p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
3.7p
(2.8p to landline)
-25p
Ireland (+353)8p
(1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
4.7p
(2.1p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Italy (+39)7p
(2p to landline)
7p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
3p
(2.1p to landline)
10p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Latvia (+371)20p
(50p to landline)
7p
(3p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
3.7p
(3.1p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Lithuania (+370)20p
(50p to landline)
3p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
3.3p
(2.8p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Luxembourg (+352)15p
(5p to landline)
6p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
7.5p
(2.4p to landline)
12p
(4p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Malta (+356)£1
(£1 to landline)
6p
(2p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
3.3p
(2.1p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Netherlands (+31)5p
(5p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
4.1p
(2.2p to landline)
10p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Norway (+47)8p
(2p to landline)
-5p19p3p10p25p
Poland (+48)5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
3p
(2.6p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Portugal (+351)3p
(2p to landline)
3p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
19p
(4p to landline)
3.3p
(2p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Romania (+40)5p
(1p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
4p
(1p to landline)
3p
(2p to landline)
4p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Russia (+7)15p
(5p to landline)
15p
(3p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
5.9p
(3.1p to landline)
15p
(4p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Slovakia (+421)15p
(1p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
12p
(5p to landline)
4.9p
(2p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Spain (+34)8p
(2p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
3.5p
(2p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Sweden (+46)5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
2.9p
(1.9p to landline)
8p
(4p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Switzerland (+41)12p
(2p to landline)
10p
(5p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
20p
(7p to landline)
25.9p
(2.8p to landline)
12p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Turkey (+90)15p
(5p to landline)
11p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
11.9p
(3.7p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)

Cost of calling selected European countries from a UK mobile network (per minute). As the headline figure, we've shown the per-minute cost of calling a mobile phone number. Where a lower price applies for calling landline numbers, this is shown separately in brackets. Last updated on 1st October 2016. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, lebara.co.uk, lycamobile.co.uk, tello.co.uk, o2.co.uk, vodafone.co.uk.

Please remember: the prices shown here are for when you’re in the UK and for when you’re making an international phone call to another European country. If you’re currently travelling in a European country, you should instead see our guide on roaming rates in Europe.

Asia

For international phone calls from the UK to Asia, the best value mobile network will depend on the country you’re calling. It will also depend on the type of phone you’re calling in that country (e.g. whether you’re calling a mobile or a landline). Vodafone is the cheapest for the most populous countries: China and India. However, other mobile networks will be cheaper if you’re calling other countries in Asia.

The following table compares the cost of international phone calls from the UK to Asia:

CountryCost of calling abroad from the UK (per minute)
EEgiffgaffLebara MobileLycamobileTelloO2Vodafone
Bangladesh (+880)5p
(5p to landline)
4p
(4p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
7p
(2p to landline)
3.9p
(3.9p to landline)
4p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
China (+86)2p
(2p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
2p
(1p to landline)
3p
(1p to landline)
2.4p
(2.4p to landline)
1.5p
(1.5p to landline)
1.5p
(1.5p to landline)
Hong Kong (+852)2p
(2p to landline)
3p
(3p to landline)
3p
(3p to landline)
3p
(3p to landline)
3.3p
(2.9p to landline)
3p
(2.5p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
India (+91)2p2p2p2p2.7p2p1.5p
Indonesia (+62)20p
(10p to landline)
6p
(6p to landline)
7p
(5p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
5.1p
(4.7p to landline)
7p
(7p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Israel (+972)20p
(5p to landline)
6p
(2p to landline)
3p
(2p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
3.5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Japan (+81)15p
(5p to landline)
12p
(4p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
5.3p
(2.9p to landline)
14p
(4p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Kazakhstan (+7)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
18p
(3p to landline)
14p
(9p to landline)
12p
(5p to landline)
8.5p
(2p to landline)
18p
(4p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Malaysia (+60)1p
(3p to landline)
3p
(3p to landline)
4p
(2p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
2.9p
(2.5p to landline)
3p
(3p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Mongolia (+976)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
4p
(4p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
3.1p
(3.3p to landline)
4p
(4p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Nepal (+977)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
10p
(12p to landline)
10p
(10p to landline)
10p
(10p to landline)
11.5p
(10.5p to landline)
11p
(11p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Pakistan (+92)10p
(10p to landline)
8p
(8p to landline)
8p
(4p to landline)
8p
(8p to landline)
4.5p
(4.5p to landline)
6p
(6p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Philippines (+63)20p
(10p to landline)
11p
(9p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
12.5p
(9.5p to landline)
13p
(10p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Saudi Arabia (+966)20p
(10p to landline)
11p
(7p to landline)
15p
(5p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
10.9p
(8.5p to landline)
12p
(7p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Singapore (+65)1p
(1p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
2p
(1p to landline)
3p
(1p to landline)
2.1p
(2.1p to landline)
1.5p
(1.5p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
South Korea (+82)10p
(7p to landline)
5p
(4p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
9p
(7p to landline)
3.1p
(2.6p to landline)
5p
(7p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Sri Lanka (+94)20p
(10p to landline)
14p
(14p to landline)
15p
(12p to landline)
15p
(12p to landline)
14.9p
(15.5p to landline)
14p
(14p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Taiwan (+886)20p
(10p to landline)
10p
(3p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
10p
(5p to landline)
8.9p
(2.7p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Thailand (+66)3p
(3p to landline)
6p
(6p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
6p
(3p to landline)
2.5p
(2.5p to landline)
6p
(12p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
United Arab Emirates (+971)12p
(12p to landline)
13p
(14p to landline)
16p
(9p to landline)
16p
(12p to landline)
14.5p
(14.5p to landline)
14p
(14p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)

Cost of calling selected Asian countries from a UK mobile network (per minute). As the headline figure, we've shown the per-minute cost of calling a mobile phone number. Where a lower price applies for calling landline numbers, this is shown separately in brackets. Last updated on 1st October 2016. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, lebara.co.uk, lycamobile.co.uk, tello.co.uk, o2.co.uk, vodafone.co.uk.

America

If you’re calling the Americas, Tello tends to have the best value rates.

The following table compares the cost of international phone calls from the UK to the Americas (including both North and South America):

CountryCost of calling abroad from the UK (per minute)
EEgiffgaffLebara MobileLycamobileTelloO2Vodafone
Argentina (+54)20p
(10p to landline)
20p
(3p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
10p
(5p to landline)
15.5p
(2.6p to landline)
18p
(2p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Bahamas (+1 242)-18p9p12p10.5p20p45p
Brazil (+55)15p
(1p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
7p
(3p to landline)
3.7p
(2.3p to landline)
7p
(3p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Canada (+1)3p2p5p5p1.9p2p1.5p
Chile (+56)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
9p
(4p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
4.3p
(3.1p to landline)
5p
(4p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Colombia (+57)15p
(5p to landline)
4p
(4p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
3p
(1p to landline)
2.5p
(2.9p to landline)
3p
(3p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Ecuador (+593)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
16p
(9p to landline)
19p
(9p to landline)
19p
(12p to landline)
17.9p
(10.9p to landline)
16p
(9p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Jamaica (+1 876)17p
(10p to landline)
18p
(18p to landline)
19p
(9p to landline)
19p
(12p to landline)
15.9p
(8.9p to landline)
19p
(19p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Mexico (+52)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
8p
(5p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
2.3p
(1.8p to landline)
4p
(3p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Paraguay (+595)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
8p
(4p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
4.7p
(4.1p to landline)
9p
(4p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Peru (+51)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
3.7p
(2.1p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
United States (+1)3p2p5p6p2p2p1.5p
Uruguay (+598)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
14p
(4p to landline)
19p
(5p to landline)
19p
(8p to landline)
12.9p
(5.9p to landline)
15p
(4p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Venezuela (+58)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
10p
(7p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
7p
(3p to landline)
8.5p
(3.3p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)

Cost of calling selected countries in North & South America from a UK mobile network (per minute). As the headline figure, we've shown the per-minute cost of calling a mobile phone number. Where a lower price applies for calling landline numbers, this is shown separately in brackets. Last updated on 1st October 2016. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, lebara.co.uk, lycamobile.co.uk, tello.co.uk, o2.co.uk, vodafone.co.uk.

Africa

The following table compares the cost of international phone calls from the UK to Africa:

CountryCost of calling abroad from the UK (per minute)
EEgiffgaffLebara MobileLycamobileTelloO2Vodafone
Algeria (+213)30p
(12p to landline)
40p
(12p to landline)
33p
(9p to landline)
34p
(9p to landline)
31.5p
(7.9p to landline)
41p
(7p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Cameroon (+237)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
28p
(11p to landline)
25p
(9p to landline)
29p
(10p to landline)
29.9p
(9.9p to landline)
29p
(30p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Egypt (+20)20p
(10p to landline)
10p
(8p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
12p
(9p to landline)
10.5p
(8.5p to landline)
10p
(8p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Gambia (+220)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
45p
(42p to landline)
55p
(25p to landline)
59p
(29p to landline)
58.5p
(62.9p to landline)
68p
(68p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Ghana (+233)25p
(12p to landline)
23p
(20p to landline)
23p
(9p to landline)
23p
(12p to landline)
17p
(17p to landline)
23p
(23p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Kenya (+254)8p
(8p to landline)
18p
(10p to landline)
12p
(5p to landline)
12p
(5p to landline)
9.5p
(1p to landline)
15p
(14p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Morocco (+212)30p
(15p to landline)
29p
(3p to landline)
29p
(1p to landline)
29p
(3p to landline)
29.9p
(3p to landline)
37p
(2p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Nigeria (+234)8p
(8p to landline)
6p
(6p to landline)
12p
(5p to landline)
12p
(1p to landline)
9.9p
(7.9p to landline)
6p
(7p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
South Africa (+27)8p
(3p to landline)
10p
(3p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
3.9p
(2.9p to landline)
10p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Tunisia (+216)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
54p
(35p to landline)
39p
(29p to landline)
39p
(29p to landline)
56.5p
(56.5p to landline)
59p
(59p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Uganda (+256)20p
(20p to landline)
28p
(28p to landline)
29p
(19p to landline)
29p
(19p to landline)
23.5p
(27.5p to landline)
28p
(25p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Zimbabwe (+263)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
37p
(10p to landline)
37p
(9p to landline)
39p
(9p to landline)
34.5p
(8.9p to landline)
41p
(8p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)

Cost of calling selected African countries from a UK mobile network (per minute). As the headline figure, we've shown the per-minute cost of calling a mobile phone number. Where a lower price applies for calling landline numbers, this is shown separately in brackets. Last updated on 1st October 2016. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, lebara.co.uk, lycamobile.co.uk, tello.co.uk, o2.co.uk, vodafone.co.uk.

Oceania

The following table compares the cost of international phone calls from the UK to Australia and New Zealand. In both cases, Tello is our recommended network due to their low rates:

CountryCost of calling abroad from the UK (per minute)
EEgiffgaffLebara MobileLycamobileTelloO2Vodafone
Australia (+61)10p
(1p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
9p
(1p to landline)
4.9p
(2.7p to landline)
12p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
New Zealand (+64)7p
(2p to landline)
6p
(2p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
4.9p
(2.5p to landline)
10p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)

Cost of calling Australia and New Zealand from a UK mobile network (per minute). As the headline figure, we've shown the per-minute cost of calling a mobile phone number. Where a lower price applies for calling landline numbers, this is shown separately in brackets. Last updated on 1st October 2016. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, lebara.co.uk, lycamobile.co.uk, tello.co.uk, o2.co.uk, vodafone.co.uk.

International Text Messages

The cheapest mobile networks for international texting are Tello and giffgaff.

On Tello, international text messages range in price from 5p to 10p depending on the country you’re texting (this is for a SMS text message of up to 160 characters). On giffgaff, there is a flat rate of 8p for all international text messages (this is regardless of which country you’re sending a text message to).

Country Cost of texting abroad from the UK (per minute)
EE giffgaff Lebara Mobile Lycamobile O2 Tello Vodafone
All Other Countries 10p-25p 8p 19p 19p 14p 5p-10p 24p

For even bigger savings, we’d normally recommend using an instant messaging app instead of SMS (e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, WeChat, LINE, etc). Providing both you and the recipient are using the application, it’ll be free to send messages to each other wherever you are in the world (only the normal data charges will apply for using the app).

Calls & Texts Within The UK

When choosing a low-cost SIM card for international calling, it’s also important to consider the costs of calling and texting within the UK. Tello is the currently the best value option for usage in the UK (they charge just 3p/minute and 3p/text). giffgaff is also worth considering as an alternative (they’re more expensive at 15p/minute and 5p/text, but they have some good value goodybag bundles).

Costs of calling & texting within the UK
EEgiffgaffLebara MobileLycamobileTelloO2Vodafone
Calls to UK landline:30p15p9p12p3p5p30p
Calls to UK mobile:30p15p15p19p3p5p30p
Texts to UK:12p5p19p19p3p5p14p
Picture message to UK:40p16p45p--35p45p

For more information on prices in the UK, please see our Pay As You Go price comparison table. If you regularly call or text within the UK, you can save money by buying a Pay As You Go bundle.

Coverage

Before ordering a SIM card from your new mobile network, we strongly recommend using an online coverage checker. This will allow you to make sure coverage is available where you live. Please choose a mobile network to see their online coverage map:

  • EE
  • giffgaff
  • Lebara Mobile
  • Lycamobile
  • O2
  • Tello
  • Vodafone

If you’re comparing coverage across multiple mobile networks, it may be useful to know that the specialist mobile networks piggyback on coverage from the main providers. giffgaff and Lycamobile use coverage from O2. Meanwhile, Lebara Mobile uses coverage from Vodafone and Tello uses coverage from Three.

More Information

For more information about international calling rates on each network, please see the EE, giffgaff, Lebara Mobile, Lycamobile, O2, Tello and Vodafone websites.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 21 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Hans said:

    One thing to keep in mind with Tello is that you can’t roam. They do have an app though that lets you use Wifi while travelling abroad, but this is of no use if you are in the middle of nowhere with no WiFi access point in sight. But Tello seems to be one of the most cost-effective options for calling overseas numbers from the UK.

  2. Tony said:

    Hi Ken
    First I must congratulate you on a very informative article.
    I notice that you refer to some calls as (as little as 1p/minute) but calls to the USA are 1.5p via Vodaphone.
    With reference to calling the USA I have found a website that you might like to look at: Winkfone.com.

    Check out their rates to USA calling from the UK
    USA Landline from 1p /minute. Mobile Call Rate
    USA Mobile from 1p /minute.
    SMS Rate USA SMS from 15p /sms.
    Winkfone to Winkfone Talk & Chat Wink to Wink FREE

    I would be interested to know what you and the other readers think about this facility

    Tony

  3. Samrat said:

    Hello Ken,

    I am a first time traveller will be travelling from India to UK as an undergraduate this September. I am confused between Lyca and Lebara. I will need to make call back home atleast once a day. Althougth the SMS will be mostly limited internationally, it will be i suppose more frequently in the UK itself. Also the use of internet, whatsapp , 9GAG, FB will be frequent. So could you tell me which network will be more beneficial for me ? Also, which will be easily accessible for top-ups, has better plans and is customer friendly.

    Thanks

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Samrat,
      Thanks for your comment and good luck with the start of your undergraduate course in September! For information on the best value PAYG deals in the UK, I recommend having a look at my in-depth article here (choose the best value network for your required amount of data). You can then use this in conjunction with the information above (looks like most major mobile networks charge between 1p and 2p per minute for calling an Indian number).
      I haven’t run all of the numbers but lots of international students use giffgaff. They have some great value goodybags for usage in the UK (e.g. 1GB for £10, 4GB for £15) and they charge just 2p/minute for phone calls to India.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  4. jeetendra said:

    Would like to contact my friend in Morocco / Marrakech which network would be the cheapest for me to call from UK

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi there,
      According to the table above, Lycamobile is the cheapest network for calling Morocco. With a Saver International free opt-in, it’s 1p/minute to call landlines in Morocco and 25p/minute to call mobiles in Morocco. Without Saver International, it’s 3p/minute and 29p/minute (these same rates are also available on giffgaff).
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  5. Michal said:

    I got one question, its nice a price but how they charge me for example: UK phone number and I will be in Germany and I will call from UK number to Germany number.
    Always everyone told me it is doesn’t matter price is just 5p etc but next month on my bill is completely highter charge.
    Thanks.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Michal,
      Thanks for your comment. The prices listed on this page are for when you’re in the UK and calling another country. If you’re instead using your UK SIM card but abroad in another country, you’ll actually be paying the prices for roaming. This is why you might be charged a substantially higher amount.
      Ken

  6. David Eason said:

    Ken
    I have a monthly account with EE n the UK & when I’m in the USA for several months I have a great set up with my mobile hotspot to use my MagicJack mobile system to the UK or IDT if no wifi available. Both very cheap.

    My problem is that when I recieve, mainly business calls, on my UK number it’s an extortionate cost. Whilst I have arranged the abroad package with EE my February bill was £364 for receiving calls. If I could divert uk calls to my USA number fine but of cours that is not allowe. Can you help?
    David

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi David,
      Thanks for this. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any simple solutions for the problem you’re facing. One possible workaround, however, might be to find a VoIP provider that gives you a UK-based phone number. For instance, you could get a UK-based Skype Number to which you forward your phone calls when you’re away in other countries (then you could receive those incoming calls via the Skype application). Alternatively, you might be able to find a US network that gives you a UK-based phone number for dialling in (you could then use that number for your forwarded phone calls).
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  7. JP said:

    I have two business phones from Vodafone. I am abroad up to 8 months a year on contracts (typically Ireland, Spain, Netherlands but also others). I found an obscure contract about six years ago that widened the footprint of my included minutes from UK to the whole of Europe – so calls from base in England to any European country, from European country to country and back to uk are all covered in the inclusive minutes, as are standard texts and 25mb data per day. Voda are desperate to “upgrade” me from this contract (£46 ex vat per phone, per month), but I’m obviously resisting, although the number of minutes in the contract (500) is inadequate (bills can easily be +40/50% because of over contract minutes) and the two battered BlackBerries are past their best. I’m out of contract by over twelve months but hanging in. Would giffgaff or something similar be a solution, does any other provider offer a serious European business tarrif?
    Secondly, when are we going to get rid of these ridiculous roaming charges – my next contract will be in Ireland – on one side of the arbitrary border there could be wildly different charges.
    Any help would be much appreciated – I’ve lost patience trying to deal with under-briefed “sales” departments who can’t seem to get past “I can give you a free iPhone and X minutes for £Y” and don’t seem to be bothered about solving a genuine business problem ( I can’t be the only one out there).
    Thanks in anticipation…
    JP

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi JP,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, I’m not aware of any network that currently has a really good pan-European business tariff (there’s probably a reason why Vodafone are trying to hard to get you to move to another tariff ;-)). Rather than searching for a new tariff now, I recommend waiting until the 30th April 2016. On that date, a new interim cap will placed on the charges for roaming in the EU, before roaming charges are fully abolished in July 2017. After the changes next month, it might be the case that some new more attractive tariffs appear on the market 🙂
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

    2. JP replied:

      Thanks for info. After much toing and froing Voda have agreed new handsets on an 18 month contract on same terms as I have, with opportunity to amend any time after 12 months – this will get me to the end of roaming date so I can look again. Ludicrous how multi-nationals revert to silo thinking when it suits – I was told by Voda Ireland they were nothing to do with any other Voda business: “we’re just a franchise”!

  8. Philip dolman said:

    What is the cheapest network to ring a landline in uk from Spain by mobile phone

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Philip,
      Thanks for your comment. The article here is for people who are in the UK and ringing a non-UK number (e.g. calling from the UK to Spain). For calls in the opposite directions, you’ll need to consult a guide about the SIM cards in Spain. I’ve got a brief article here which goes over this briefly – hope that helps to point you in the right direction?
      Many thanks,
      Ken

  9. Abhi said:

    Hi,
    Lyca is offering call rates at 1p/min for India which is cheapest.
    It would have been great if you review this page every 3 months so that public can get right information.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Abhi,
      Thanks for the heads up about this! As you mention, prices can change quite regularly so it’s always worth double-checking the rates on the official website. I’ve scheduled an update of this article in the next few weeks and I typically try to update it around every 3 months.
      Ken

  10. Shyuan said:

    Minor correction regarding EE international tariff. EE PAYG now allows us to call abroad at much cheaper rate, for example, 3p/min to malaysia, provided you opted for the call abroad addon.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Shyuan,
      Thanks for the heads up about this offer on EE. Anyone else who’s also on EE can opt-in to the offer by texting CALL ABROAD to 441 (Pay Monthly customers) or by texting CALL ABROAD to 150 (if you’re on Pay As You Go). After opting in for cut-price international calling, EE can sometimes be competitive with the networks listed above (you’ll have to check the prices on their website against those listed in the table above). For more information including a full list of prices, please see the EE website.
      Ken

      1. Andy replied:

        Hi Ken,

        My daughter is currently on EE and is traveling to Australia for 6 – 12 months in a week’s time. We were thinking of transferring her number on to a PAYG SIM while she’s away and getting a local pay-monthly SIM. Having read this, I’m wondering if she could keep her UK SIM, add the CALL ABROAD add-on and use that to call Australia numbers from within Australia?

        1. Ken Lo
          Ken replied:

          Hi Andy,
          Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, the prices listed on this page are for people who are in the UK and who are calling abroad. For anyone who’s currently abroad, roaming charges will apply instead. For this reason, the Call Abroad add-on will not be suitable for your daughter.
          If you’d like to keep a UK number active on a Pay As You Go SIM card, my recommendation would probably be to get a free SIM card from ASDA Mobile. For more information, see my guide on Pay As You Go inactivity policies.
          Hope this helps,
          Ken
          Ken

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