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

If you’re in the UK and often make international phone calls, having the right SIM card can save you significant amounts of money.

On a normal UK SIM card, you’ll typically need to pay about £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 even to as little as 1p/minute).

In this article, we’ll compare the cost of international calling from the UK to 96 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 and Lycamobile.

Overview & Recommendation

If you make a significant number of international phone calls, it will often be best to buy a bundle that includes international calling. For instance, Lebara Mobile offers a number of 30-day bundles that include either 100, 500 or 1000 international minutes (along with the normal allowance of UK minutes, texts and internet):

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Lebara MobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
1,0003GB£10.00
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1,0001GB£10.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
1,0006GB£15.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited
+unltd intl.
1,0005GB£15.00
Lebara Mobile250
+250 intl.
1,0003GB£15.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited
+unltd intl.
1,00010GB£20.00

Inclusive international minutes can only be used for calling 42 selected countries.

For more information, see the Lebara Mobile website for a list of inclusive countries or to order a free Lebara SIM card. You can also read our in-depth guide to international calling bundles.

Order Lebara Mobile SIM card (free) →

Comparison Of Per-Minute Rates For Occasional Calling

If you only make international phone calls occasionally or would like to call a country that isn’t included in a bundle, it’s also possible to pay for your international calls on a per-minute basis.

The best value network for occasional international calling really depends on which country you’d like to make phone calls to.

In the following table, we show a side-by-side comparison of per-minute rates for some of the most commonly-called countries from the UK:

CountryCost of calling abroad from the UK (per minute)
EEgiffgaffLebara MobileLycamobileO2Vodafone
China (+86)3p
(3p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
2p
(1p to landline)
3p
(1p to landline)
2p
(1.5p to landline)
1.5p
(1.5p to landline)
India (+91)5p2p2p2p2p1.5p
Ireland (+353)8p
(1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Italy (+39)7p
(3p to landline)
3p
(3p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p 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)
6p
(6p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Poland (+48)5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Romania (+40)5p
(1p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
4p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Sri Lanka (+94)20p
(15p to landline)
22p
(14p to landline)
15p
(12p to landline)
15p
(12p to landline)
18p
(15p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Turkey (+90)12p
(5p to landline)
11p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
United States (+1)3p2p5p6p2p1.5p

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 8th January 2018. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, mobile.lebara.com, lycamobile.co.uk, o2.co.uk, vodafone.co.uk.

You can order a free SIM card from EE, giffgaff, Lebara Mobile, Lycamobile, O2 or Vodafone to take advantage of these rates. In some cases, you may need to specifically opt-in to get the lowest rates available.

Order Lebara Mobile SIM card (free) →

How To Opt-In To Lower Rates

On EE, O2 and Vodafone, you’ll need to opt-in to get the lowest per-minute 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 (typically between £1 and £1.50 per 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 that on the International tariff, you’ll pay a higher rate for your usage inside the UK compared to if you were on the Classic Pay As You Go tariff. If you’d like to benefit from lower international rates on the Big Bundles tariff, you can get this when buying a Big Bundle costing at least £20/month.
  • 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 opt-in 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 and Lycamobile, 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

Most European countries are included in a Lebara All-in-One bundle so a £10 monthly top-up will give you 500 international minutes (along with 500 UK minutes and 1GB of UK data) and a £15 top-up will give you 1,000 international minutes (along with 1,000 UK minutes and 1GB of data).

For occasional phone calls and for calls to a country not included in the bundle, you can pay for your usage on a per-minute basis. Typically, the best value UK network for calling other European countries will either be giffgaff, Lebara Mobile or O2. Prices start from 2p/minute if you’re calling a mobile or from 1p/minute if you’re calling a landline (the price, however, varies substantially depending on the country you’re calling so please double-check 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 MobileLycamobileO2Vodafone
Albania (+355)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
40p
(14p to landline)
39p
(9p to landline)
39p
(9p to landline)
39p
(15p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Austria (+43)10p
(10p to landline)
4p
(1p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Belgium (+32)5p
(5p to landline)
4p
(4p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
12p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Bosnia and Herzegovina (+387)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
27p
(10p to landline)
29p
(15p to landline)
29p
(19p to landline)
32p
(18p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Bulgaria (+359)20p
(6p to landline)
4p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Croatia (+385)15p
(5p to landline)
15p
(7p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
20p
(6p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Czech Republic (+420)6p
(5p to landline)
6p
(5p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
7p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Denmark (+45)5p
(3p to landline)
4p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(6p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Estonia (+372)30p
(5p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
19p
(6p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Finland (+358)15p
(5p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
France (+33)5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p 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)
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)
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)
10p
(5p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Hungary (+36)5p
(1p to landline)
4p
(1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
4p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Iceland (+354)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
4p
(4p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Ireland (+353)8p
(1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Italy (+39)7p
(3p to landline)
3p
(3p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p 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)
5p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Lithuania (+370)20p
(50p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Luxembourg (+352)15p
(5p to landline)
4p
(2p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
12p
(4p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Macedonia (+389)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
28p
(12p to landline)
29p
(9p to landline)
29p
(12p to landline)
31p
(13p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Malta (+356)£1
(£1 to landline)
4p
(1p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Monaco (+377)£1
(£1 to landline)
28p
(6p to landline)
29p
(9p to landline)
29p
(9p to landline)
32p
(6p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Montenegro (+382)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
35p
(10p to landline)
29p
(15p to landline)
29p
(17p to landline)
30p
(25p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Netherlands (+31)5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p to landline)
10p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Norway (+47)8p
(8p to landline)
-5p19p10p25p
Poland (+48)5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Portugal (+351)5p
(3p to landline)
4p
(2p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
19p
(4p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Romania (+40)5p
(1p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
4p
(1p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Russia (+7)20p
(15p to landline)
25p
(3p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
15p
(7p to landline)
18p
(4p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Serbia (+381)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
32p
(12p to landline)
24p
(9p to landline)
24p
(9p to landline)
32p
(13p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Slovakia (+421)15p
(1p to landline)
9p
(1p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
12p
(5p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Slovenia (+386)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
14p
(3p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
25p
(7p to landline)
5p
(14p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Spain (+34)8p
(3p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
19p
(7p 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)
8p
(4p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Switzerland (+41)12p
(3p to landline)
10p
(5p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
20p
(7p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Turkey (+90)12p
(5p to landline)
11p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Ukraine (+380)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
25p
(9p to landline)
25p
(12p to landline)
25p
(12p to landline)
22p
(11p to landline)
30p
(12p 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 8th January 2018. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, mobile.lebara.com, lycamobile.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, some countries will be included in Lebara’s All-In-One bundle (namely China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia and Thailand). If you’re calling one of these countries fairly regularly, it’s likely a bundle will offer you the best value.

For occasional calling and for calls to other countries not included in the bundle, the cheapest network will depend on which country you’re calling. For phone calls to China and India, Vodafone offers the lowest per-minute rates (1.5p per minute compared to 2p per minute on most other networks).

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 MobileLycamobileO2Vodafone
Afghanistan (+93)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
19p
(18p to landline)
19p
(9p to landline)
19p
(9p to landline)
18p
(21p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Armenia (+374)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
20p
(18p to landline)
19p
(12p to landline)
19p
(12p to landline)
20p
(19p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Azerbaijan (+994)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
26p
(35p to landline)
25p
(9p to landline)
27p
(19p to landline)
31p
(29p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Bahrain (+973)15p
(10p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
12p
(5p to landline)
12p
(5p to landline)
12p
(11p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Bangladesh (+880)5p
(5p to landline)
5p
(4p to landline)
5p
(2p to landline)
7p
(2p to landline)
4p
(4p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Cambodia (+855)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
7p
(7p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
7p
(7p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
China (+86)3p
(3p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
2p
(1p to landline)
3p
(1p to landline)
2p
(1.5p to landline)
1.5p
(1.5p to landline)
Georgia (+995)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
35p
(11p to landline)
19p
(9p to landline)
29p
(12p to landline)
26p
(18p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Hong Kong (+852)3p
(3p to landline)
3p
(3p to landline)
3p
(3p to landline)
3p
(3p to landline)
3p
(2.5p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
India (+91)5p2p2p2p2p1.5p
Indonesia (+62)20p
(10p to landline)
6p
(6p to landline)
7p
(5p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
7p
(7p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Iran (+98)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
16p
(20p to landline)
12p
(9p to landline)
19p
(12p to landline)
17p
(17p to landline)
30p
(30p to landline)
Iraq (+964)10p
(10p to landline)
20p
(11p to landline)
17p
(9p to landline)
19p
(9p to landline)
19p
(14p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Israel (+972)20p
(5p to landline)
6p
(2p to landline)
3p
(2p to landline)
9p
(3p 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)
14p
(4p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Jordan (+962)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
15p
(12p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
17p
(14p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Kazakhstan (+7)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
18p
(3p to landline)
14p
(9p to landline)
12p
(5p to landline)
18p
(5p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Kuwait (+965)8p
(8p to landline)
9p
(8p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
17p
(5p to landline)
9p
(8p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Malaysia (+60)5p
(5p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Mongolia (+976)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
3p
(3p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
9p
(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)
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)
6p
(6p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Philippines (+63)20p
(15p to landline)
11p
(9p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
13p
(10p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Qatar (+974)15p
(15p to landline)
15p
(15p to landline)
19p
(15p to landline)
19p
(16p to landline)
18p
(15p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Saudi Arabia (+966)14p
(10p to landline)
13p
(9p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
12p
(8p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Singapore (+65)3p
(1p to landline)
2p
(2p to landline)
2p
(1p to landline)
3p
(1p 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)
5p
(7p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Sri Lanka (+94)20p
(15p to landline)
22p
(14p to landline)
15p
(12p to landline)
15p
(12p to landline)
18p
(15p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Syria (+963)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
13p
(11p to landline)
35p
(19p to landline)
29p
(24p to landline)
15p
(15p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Taiwan (+886)20p
(10p to landline)
10p
(3p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
10p
(5p 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)
7p
(12p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
United Arab Emirates (+971)15p
(15p to landline)
13p
(14p to landline)
16p
(9p to landline)
16p
(12p 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 8th January 2018. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, mobile.lebara.com, lycamobile.co.uk, o2.co.uk, vodafone.co.uk.

America

If you’re calling the US or Canada, these countries are included in Lebara’s All-in-One bundle. Alternatively, you can Pay As You Go from 1.5p/minute with Vodafone tending to offer the best value rates. For Central and Southern American countries, Lebara Mobile tends to offer lower per-minute 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 MobileLycamobileO2Vodafone
Argentina (+54)20p
(10p to landline)
20p
(3p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
10p
(5p to landline)
21p
(2p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Bahamas (+1 242)-18p9p12p20p45p
Barbados (+1 246)19p
(19p to landline)
19p
(19p to landline)
19p
(9p to landline)
19p
(19p to landline)
21p
(19p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Bolivia (+591)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
15p
(9p to landline)
17p
(13p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Brazil (+55)15p
(1p to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
7p
(3p to landline)
7p
(3p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Canada (+1)3p2p5p5p2p1.5p
Chile (+56)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
9p
(4p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
5p
(3p 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)
3p
(4p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Costa Rica (+506)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
6p
(12p to landline)
5p
(5p to landline)
6p
(3p to landline)
6p
(10p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Cuba (+53)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
85p
(80p to landline)
79p
(49p to landline)
79p
(79p to landline)
80p
(80p to landline)
-
Dominican Republic (+1 809)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
8p
(6p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
9p
(5p to landline)
8p
(3p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Ecuador (+593)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
25p
(9p to landline)
19p
(9p to landline)
19p
(12p to landline)
19p
(10p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Jamaica (+1 876)17p
(12p to landline)
21p
(21p to landline)
19p
(9p to landline)
19p
(12p to landline)
20p
(25p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Mexico (+52)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
7p
(4p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(1p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Nicaragua (+505)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
20p
(12p to landline)
25p
(19p to landline)
26p
(19p to landline)
28p
(16p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Panama (+507)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
12p
(3p to landline)
9p
(4p to landline)
9p
(4p to landline)
12p
(4p 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)
9p
(4p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Peru (+51)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
6p
(2p to landline)
5p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
United States (+1)3p2p5p6p2p1.5p
Uruguay (+598)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
14p
(4p to landline)
19p
(5p to landline)
19p
(8p 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)
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 8th January 2018. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, mobile.lebara.com, lycamobile.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 MobileLycamobileO2Vodafone
Algeria (+213)40p
(12p to landline)
48p
(11p to landline)
33p
(9p to landline)
42p
(9p to landline)
48p
(7p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Cameroon (+237)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
30p
(85p to landline)
25p
(9p to landline)
29p
(10p 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)
11p
(8p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Gambia (+220)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
60p
(75p to landline)
55p
(25p to landline)
69p
(39p to landline)
68p
(68p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Ghana (+233)25p
(25p to landline)
26p
(26p to landline)
23p
(9p to landline)
23p
(12p to landline)
25p
(25p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Kenya (+254)18p
(12p to landline)
18p
(22p to landline)
12p
(5p to landline)
12p
(5p to landline)
15p
(18p to landline)
30p
(12p to landline)
Morocco (+212)30p
(15p to landline)
31p
(3p to landline)
39p
(3p to landline)
35p
(3p to landline)
37p
(2p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Nigeria (+234)10p
(10p to landline)
9p
(10p to landline)
12p
(1p to landline)
12p
(1p to landline)
9p
(9p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
South Africa (+27)8p
(3p to landline)
10p
(3p to landline)
19p
(12p to landline)
19p
(12p to landline)
10p
(3p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
Tunisia (+216)£1.50
(£1.50 to landline)
70p
(65p to landline)
39p
(29p to landline)
49p
(29p to landline)
62p
(59p to landline)
45p
(45p to landline)
Uganda (+256)30p
(30p to landline)
28p
(28p to landline)
29p
(19p to landline)
29p
(19p 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)
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 8th January 2018. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, mobile.lebara.com, lycamobile.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. Both countries are included in Lebara’s All-in-One bundle, or you can Pay As You Go at the following per-minute rates:

CountryCost of calling abroad from the UK (per minute)
EEgiffgaffLebara MobileLycamobileO2Vodafone
Australia (+61)10p
(3p to landline)
12p
(2p to landline)
9p
(3p to landline)
9p
(1p to landline)
12p
(2p to landline)
25p
(5p to landline)
New Zealand (+64)7p
(3p to landline)
6p
(2p to landline)
9p
(2p to landline)
9p
(2p 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 8th January 2018. Source: ee.co.uk, giffgaff.com, mobile.lebara.com, lycamobile.co.uk, o2.co.uk, vodafone.co.uk.

International Text Messages

The cheapest mobile network for international texting is giffgaff. On giffgaff, there is a flat rate of 8p for all international text messages (this is for a SMS text message of up to 160 characters).

Country Cost of texting abroad from the UK (per minute)
EE giffgaff Lebara Mobile Lycamobile O2 Vodafone
All Other Countries 10p-25p 8p 19p 19p 14p 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 (you just need to pay the normal data charges 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.

With something like an All-in-One bundle from Lebara Mobile, you’ll get an allowance of UK minutes & data included on your bundle. On other networks, you’ll normally need to buy a separate bundle for your usage in the UK. Alternatively, you can Pay As You Go at the following rates:

Costs of calling & texting within the UK
EEgiffgaffLebara MobileLycamobileO2Vodafone
Calls to UK landline:35p15p19p12p3p20p
Calls to UK mobile:35p15p19p19p3p20p
Texts to UK:15p5p19p19p2p20p
Picture message to UK:40p16p45p-45p20p

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. Alternatively, selected international calling bundles may also include a UK allowance.

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:

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

More Information

For more information about international calling rates on each network, please see the EE, giffgaff, Lebara Mobile, Lycamobile, O2 and Vodafone websites. You can also read our in-depth guide to international bundles.

Your Comments 57 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 57 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Hi Ken,

    EE’s Calling Abroad add-on is free for both pay-as-you-go and pay-monthly customers. However there’s a significant difference in the actual rates charged. For example, sending a text (SMS) to most countries on PAYG costs 10p, whereas on Pay Monthly it costs 18p. (That’s with the free Calling Abroad add-on.) Similarly, a landline/mobile call to e.g. Sweden costs 1p/5p on PAYG, but 5p/15p on Pay Monthly. In general most rates are 2x-3x higher on Pay Monthly.

    I haven’t looked at O2 or Vodafone, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they played the same tricks as EE.

    I’ve been using Giffgaff for several years now, and I’m always pleased that they have no hidden rip-offs like this.

  • My son is travelling to Thailand, Bali , then predominantly spending time in Australia and New Zealand ( 10 months )we will be texting and relying on WiFi where possible
    What are the best options for sim only deals?

    • Hi Suzanne,
      Many thanks for your comment. For a trip of 10 months, you’re probably best off getting a SIM card in the country you’re travelling to. Unfortunately, I’m not an expert on local SIM card deals so I wouldn’t be able to advise – I suggest consulting a website from that region for answers if you can.
      Ken

  • Hi Ken,

    Thank you for a very elaborate and informative article. I will be travelling from India to London soon and have ordered giffgaff. Its unlimited data plan for a month is around 20 pounds. Just wanted to know if its connectivity is good in UK or should I look for other options. I need a working SIM as I land on the airport for further travelling etc. Your help will be much appreciated. Regards.

  • Hi, I am looking for the best sim-only deal for calling UAE mobiles with moderate UK calls included. Also data for social media but no streaming of video. Can you advise?

    • Hi Jon,
      Based on the tables above, your best bet might be to pick up a SIM card from giffgaff. It’ll cost you 13p/minute to call mobiles in the UAE. You can then combine this with a giffgaff goodybag (e.g. the £10 goodybag with unlimited UK minutes, unlimited UK texts and 3GB of data). For a slightly cheaper alternative, you can get the £7.50 goodybag with 250 UK minutes, unlimited UK texts and 1GB of data.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hi Ken, and everyone,
    any advice on UK mobile providers who offer a SIM card only deal on a monthly fixed price bundle deal, which would include international texts? I’m on an old 2G Nokia phone, and text messages + phone calls is all I need.

    Many thanks in advance!

    • Hi Mara,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not currently aware of any SIM cards offering inclusive international texts on a monthly fixed-price bundle. Perhaps someone else reading this artile might be able to advise?
      Ken

  • Hi Ken,

    Please note that calling the USA does NOT include calling Hawaii & Alaska, those come with different rates, at least as 02 goes. If you could update your spreadsheets, that would be very helpful.

    Thanks!

    • Hi Matthew,
      Lebara’s All in One bundles come with an allowance of minutes to Slovakia (500 minutes from £10/month and 1000 minutes from £15/month). I think this is probably the best value international bundle available for calling Slovakia.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Kamran Ghobadian said:

    Hi Ken,

    I’m trying to find the best tariff to use to call Iran, which doesn’t seem to fall into your tables. It’s for an elderly relative who may make a few local UK calls but doesn’t need data. Following that Im wondering if pay monthly or pay as you go then makes sense. Many thanks.

    • Hi Kamran,
      Many thanks for your comment. I’ve just updated the table above to include calls to Iran – amongst the networks I looked at, Lebara Mobile was the cheapest I found. They charge 9p/minute for calls to an Iranian landline and 12p/minute for calls to an Iranian mobile phone.
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

  • Hi Ken

    followed yo advise for Mobile International calling via EE to Europe [Germany France]

    bought Payg Sim, credited it did the ‘call abroad to 150’ still no 5 p or 1 p per minute …
    rather £ 1 !! … no mater what ..

    May be you chart needs improving ??

    So far this does NOT WORK with EE

    • Hi Thomas,
      I’m really sorry for the convenience. There’s more information here about EE’s Call Abroad add-on – according to that, the rates should still be available. It might be worth getting in touch with EE to ask them why the offer hasn’t been added to your account?
      Thanks,
      Ken

    • Hi Ken,

      thank you … You obv. know … your stuff …

      HAVE TRIED the very HIDDEN link .. on the EE site .. you had ‘found’

      and so far … it seems to work width the ‘Call Abroad’ message to 150

      Thank you

      • Hi Ken …

        you used to publish an XLS type of chart including all ‘active’ BIG providers in the UK … including ‘exotic ones ‘ like RWG Mobile’
        as well as – all defunct .. Resellers

        This could be xls column sorted … so be adapted to your ‘users’ individual needs.

        Q: is this still available … or a new VERSION in the making??

  • lycamobile has changed tariffs, i bought a card and some airtime 10 gbp to call south africa, on the first day was charged 1p a minute, from last friday 3rd november the tariff changed to 12p a minute and i soon ran out of airtime, feel quite disappointed, called them up and was told of the changed tariff 12 p a minute to landlines is ridiculous.

  • I call Moldova, the Vodafone charge is very expensive, following your link, it says £2.00 minute to landline and £1.50 minute to mobiles, I get it for 19 pence a minute with Tesco international, no contract, pay as you go.

  • Hi Ken,

    Although giffgaff offers some competitive international rates, they are only available on monthly plans. For irregular PAYG users, Phone Co-op mobile is an alternative for both calls and texts to selected countries.

  • Hi Ken,

    Useful read !!!!

    Calling India from ee UK seems to be little costlier than the above mentioned rate. its 5p/minute now.

    Appreciate your article

    Cheers!!!

    • Hi Venkat,
      Cheers – I really appreciate the feedback! Could you let me know which mobile network has updated their rates for India? I’ll try to get this table updated to reflect it!
      Thanks
      Ken

    • Guru Pandit replied:

      The cost of calling India is 5p on EE from a postpaid subscription, however using pay-as-you-go it is still 2p per minute to India. So, Ken’s write-up still stands good (although can do with a mention of postpaid / pay-as-you-go difference)

  • Denise Schoots said:

    The POST OFFICE has an International Phonecard.
    Eg. it costs 4p/min to call South Africa
    £5 and £10 cards last 60 days, and £20 last 90 days

  • Hello Ken,
    That is a very good article and helps a lot. You have done a great job and good research for this article.I would really appreciate if you could help me. I use only mobile phone (no landlines) and I am searching for an offer that includes internet, minutes (uk & international) and texts. I am not interested in contracts. What would you suggest me to choose? Do you know if there is a company providing good deals for what I am looking for? Thank you very much.

  • 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!

  • 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

    • 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

  • 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].

    • 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

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

    • 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

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

  • 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.

    • 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

  • 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

    • 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

  • 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

    • 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

    • 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”!

    • 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

  • 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.

    • 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

  • 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.

    • 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

      • 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?

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will never be published. By default, I'll use it to send you an update when there are replies to your comment. However, if you don't want to receive this, you can disable it using the dropdown menu below: