The UK’s Cheapest Mobile Network For International Phone Calls

May 12th, 2017

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 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 other countries. We’ll look at opt-in deals from the major mobile networks including EE, O2 and Vodafone. We’ll also look at the specialist mobile networks for international calling: giffgaff, Lebara Mobile, Lycamobile and Tello.

Overview & Recommendation

Tello SIM CardOverall, 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 inside the UK. You can build your own bundle from £3/month and you can Pay As You Go for 5p/minute, 5p/text and 2p/MB in the UK.

As an alternative, we’d also recommend ordering a SIM card from giffgaff. They have low international rates for calling and texting, and you can 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 of per-minute rates for calling some of the most commonly-called countries from the UK:

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)
2p
(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)
9p
(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)
9p
(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)
16.5p
(16.9p to landline)
18p
(15p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Turkey (+90)15p
(5p to landline)
11p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
12.9p
(3.9p 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 12th May 2017. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, mobile.lebara.com, 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 specifically opt-in to get the lowest rates available.

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 150). 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: you’ll pay a higher rate for your usage inside the UK compared to if you were using the Classic Pay As You Go tariff. Also, it won’t be possible to 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 by opting-in to a time-limited promotion (e.g. Lycamobile’s Saver International or Lebara Mobile’s Best Rates offer). Additional terms may apply when opting in to an offer (e.g. there might be a monthly minimum top-up and you may need to opt-in again every 30 days).

By Region

Europe

If you’re calling a European country, the best value network to use 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 the country you’re calling so it’s worth double-checking in the table below).

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)10p
(10p to landline)
4p
(2p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
17.9p
(3.7p 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
(4.5p 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)
18p
(2p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
11.5p
(3.1p to landline)
20p
(6p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Czech Republic (+420)6p
(2p to landline)
6p
(5p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
7.5p
(3p 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)
3.1p
(2.3p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Estonia (+372)30p
(5p to landline)
6p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(6p to landline)
38.5p
(2.6p 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)
3.9p
(6.5p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
France (+33)5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
9p
(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)
9p
(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)
16.9p
(5.5p 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
(3.5p to landline)
10p
(5p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Hungary (+36)15p
(1p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p 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)
3.5p
(2.5p to landline)
-25p
Ireland (+353)8p
(1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
9p
(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)
9p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
3p
(2.1p to landline)
10p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Latvia (+371)25p
(50p to landline)
7p
(3p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
12.5p
(9.9p 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)
5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
6.5p
(2.5p 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)
2.8p
(2p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Netherlands (+31)5p
(5p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
4.1p
(2.2p to landline)
10p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Norway (+47)8p
(8p to landline)
-5p19p3.3p10p25p
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)
4p
(2p to landline)
9p
(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
(15p to landline)
15p
(3p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
15p
(5p to landline)
16.5p
(3.9p to landline)
18p
(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)
4.3p
(2p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Spain (+34)8p
(2p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
9p
(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)
2.8p
(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)
45.9p
(2.7p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Turkey (+90)15p
(5p to landline)
11p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
12.9p
(3.9p 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 12th May 2017. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, mobile.lebara.com, 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 making an international phone call to another European country. If you’re currently travelling in a European country, you should instead see our guide to 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 if you’re calling China or India but other mobile networks are 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
(4p 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)
2p
(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)
3.7p
(2.7p 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)
5.5p
(5.1p 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)
3.7p
(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)
5.7p
(3.3p 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
(5.5p to landline)
18p
(5p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Malaysia (+60)5p
(5p to landline)
3p
(3p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
4.1p
(3.7p to landline)
5p
(5p 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)
3.3p
(3.3p to landline)
4p
(4p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Nepal (+977)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
13p
(12p to landline)
10p
(10p to landline)
10p
(10p to landline)
13.5p
(11.5p to landline)
15p
(13p 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)
13.9p
(11.5p to landline)
13p
(10p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Saudi Arabia (+966)8p
(8p to landline)
13p
(9p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
12.9p
(9.5p to landline)
12p
(8p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Singapore (+65)5p
(1p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
2p
(1p to landline)
3p
(1p to landline)
3.3p
(2.6p to landline)
5p
(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)
16.5p
(16.9p to landline)
18p
(15p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Taiwan (+886)20p
(10p to landline)
10p
(3p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
10p
(5p to landline)
9.9p
(2.9p to landline)
10p
(5p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Thailand (+66)6p
(6p to landline)
6p
(6p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
6p
(3p to landline)
4.5p
(2.5p to landline)
7p
(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)
15.9p
(16.5p to landline)
15p
(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 12th May 2017. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, mobile.lebara.com, lycamobile.co.uk, tello.co.uk, o2.co.uk, vodafone.co.uk.

America

If you’re calling the US or Canada, Vodafone tends to offer the best value rates. For South and Central American countries, Tello tends to offer slightly cheaper 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)
14.5p
(2p to landline)
21p
(2p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Bahamas (+1 242)-18p9p12p16.9p20p45p
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)
4.1p
(4.1p to landline)
5p
(4p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Colombia (+57)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
4p
(4p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
3.5p
(4.3p to landline)
3p
(4p 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)
20.5p
(11.9p to landline)
19p
(10p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Jamaica (+1 876)17p
(10p to landline)
21p
(21p to landline)
19p
(9p to landline)
19p
(12p to landline)
23.5p
(16.9p to landline)
20p
(25p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Mexico (+52)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
7p
(5p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
2p
(1.8p to landline)
5p
(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)
4.5p
(4.1p to landline)
9p
(4p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Peru (+51)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
8p
(2p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
3.9p
(2.1p to landline)
9p
(3p 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)
14.5p
(6.7p 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)
9.5p
(2.9p 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 12th May 2017. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, mobile.lebara.com, 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)40p
(12p to landline)
44p
(11p to landline)
33p
(9p to landline)
42p
(9p to landline)
39.9p
(7.9p to landline)
48p
(7p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Cameroon (+237)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
30p
(30p to landline)
25p
(9p to landline)
29p
(10p to landline)
24.5p
(10.9p to landline)
33p
(70p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Egypt (+20)20p
(10p to landline)
10p
(8p to landline)
12p
(9p to landline)
12p
(9p to landline)
12p
(9p to landline)
11p
(8p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Gambia (+220)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
60p
(42p to landline)
55p
(25p to landline)
69p
(39p to landline)
80.9p
(80.5p to landline)
68p
(68p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Ghana (+233)25p
(20p to landline)
26p
(26p to landline)
23p
(9p to landline)
23p
(12p to landline)
23p
(17p to landline)
25p
(25p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Kenya (+254)12p
(12p to landline)
18p
(10p to landline)
12p
(5p to landline)
12p
(5p to landline)
9.5p
(1p to landline)
15p
(18p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Morocco (+212)30p
(15p to landline)
31p
(3p to landline)
29p
(3p to landline)
29p
(3p to landline)
32.5p
(3.1p to landline)
37p
(2p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Nigeria (+234)8p
(8p to landline)
7p
(6p to landline)
12p
(1p to landline)
12p
(1p to landline)
9.9p
(7.9p to landline)
9p
(9p 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)
49p
(29p to landline)
59.9p
(62.9p to landline)
62p
(59p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Uganda (+256)30p
(25p to landline)
28p
(28p to landline)
29p
(19p to landline)
29p
(19p to landline)
23.5p
(31.9p to landline)
30p
(28p 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)
32.5p
(10.5p to landline)
41p
(9p 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 12th May 2017. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, mobile.lebara.com, 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
(2p 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)
5.1p
(2.6p 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 12th May 2017. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, mobile.lebara.com, 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 5p/minute and 5p/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 to make up for this.

Costs of calling & texting within the UK
EEgiffgaffLebara MobileLycamobileTelloO2Vodafone
Calls to UK landline:30p15p9p12p5p5p30p
Calls to UK mobile:30p15p15p19p5p5p30p
Texts to UK:12p5p19p19p5p5p14p
Picture message to UK:40p16p45p--35p45p

For more information on prices inside the UK, please see our Pay As You Go price comparison table. If you regularly call or text within the UK, it may be cheaper to buy a 30-day 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
  • Lebara Mobile uses coverage from Vodafone
  • 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 26 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Ling said:

    Thank you Ken. This is very useful!! I sent this to my international students so they can compare and choose the most appropriate one! Great stuff. Cheers!

  2. Cindy said:

    Hi Ken

    Thank you for a comprehensive article. I am looking for a best value for money plan or PAYG sim that I could use to call UK locally and Malaysia, as well as about 1GB of data.

    What would you advise?

    Thank you,
    Cindy

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi Cindy,
      Many thanks for your comment. Have you looked into getting a giffgaff SIM card with their £10 goodybag? This should give you 500 UK minutes, unlimited UK texts and 2GB of 4G internet to use in the UK. giffgaff then charge 3p/minute for calls to Malaysia, which you can pay for on a Pay As You Go basis. If you’re able to survive on 750MB of data, you can get this for £7.50/month (therefore saving you £2.50/month).
      Ken

  3. Tan said:

    I phone family in Australia, Canada, Malaysia and Singapore about once a month. I have no landline. Could you kindly advice which is currently the best PAYG to take please? Much appreciate.[I note this site was last updated October 2016].

    1. Ken replied:

      Hi Tan,
      Thanks for your comment. According to the tables above, the cheapest mobile network varies slightly depending on which country you’re calling. I’d therefore look at the pattern of your usage (e.g. are the majority of your calls to one country with just a handful to another, or are they split out fairly evenly across the four). Using that information, you should then be able to calculate how much it would cost you on each network.
      Hope this helps!
      Ken

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