In the UK, eSIMs are available from EE, giffgaff, Lyca Mobile, O2, Sky, Tesco, Three & Vodafone. You can use an eSIM in your iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel phone.
eSIM or embedded SIM technology is now available on the latest smartphones from Apple, Samsung and Google. On devices such as the iPhone 11, the Galaxy S20, the Pixel 3, and newer devices, you can download an eSIM on to your phone. This will allow you to get connected without the need for a physical SIM card. You can also use an eSIM to activate dual-SIM functionality on these phones.
In this article, we’ll look at eSIM technology in the UK. We’ll start by asking what eSIMs are and how they compare to the traditional SIM cards that have been in use for more than 30 years. We’ll then look at the devices you can use an eSIM with, and at the support for eSIM across different UK networks.
|eSIM Plans:||From £0.45/month|
|eSIM Providers UK:||
What is eSIM?
In mobile phones, eSIM or “embedded SIM” is a new version of SIM card technology where the SIM card is embedded inside your device.
Instead of having a physical SIM card from your mobile network that you slot inside your device, eSIM uses a reprogrammable chip that’s already inside your mobile phone. To download and install an eSIM, you’ll normally need to scan a QR code with your mobile phone.
Compared to traditional SIM cards, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using an eSIM.
The advantage of eSIM technology is that it can make it a lot easier and faster to change to another mobile network. Rather than waiting for a SIM card to be sent to you through the post, you’ll simply need to download or scan an eSIM with your phone. In addition, many devices support dual-SIM connectivity when an eSIM is used. When you use both an eSIM and a physical SIM card, you’ll be able to have two phone numbers and two plans on your phone at the same time (e.g. one for personal usage and another one for work usage).
The downside of eSIM is that only a couple of mobile networks currently offer eSIM-compatible plans in the UK. There can also be complications when you change to another phone. With eSIM, it isn’t as simple as taking out a physical SIM card and putting it inside another phone. In addition, if you change to another phone in the future that lacks support for eSIM, you’ll need to change your eSIM back into a physical SIM card before you’re able to use it.
eSIM Compatible Devices
The list of smartphones with eSIM support includes the following devices:
- Apple iPhone 11
- Apple iPhone 11 Pro
- Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone 12
- Apple iPhone 12 Mini
- Apple iPhone 12 Pro
- Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone 13
- Apple iPhone 13 Mini
- Apple iPhone 13 Pro
- Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone 14
- Apple iPhone 14 Plus
- Apple iPhone 14 Pro
- Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone 15
- Apple iPhone 15 Plus
- Apple iPhone 15 Pro
- Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max
- Apple iPhone SE 2020
- Apple iPhone SE 2022
- Apple iPhone XS
- Apple iPhone XS Max
- Apple iPhone XR
- Google Pixel 31
- Google Pixel 3 XL1
- Google Pixel 3a
- Google Pixel 3a XL
- Google Pixel 4
- Google Pixel 4 XL
- Google Pixel 4a
- Google Pixel 4a 5G
- Google Pixel 5
- Google Pixel 5a
- Google Pixel 6
- Google Pixel 6 Pro
- Google Pixel 6a
- Google Pixel 7
- Google Pixel 7 Pro
- Google Pixel 7a
- Google Pixel 8
- Google Pixel 8 Pro
- Google Pixel Fold
- Huawei P40
- Huawei P40 Pro
- Motorola Razr2
- Samsung Galaxy A54
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy S20
- Samsung Galaxy S20 5G
- Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
- Samsung Galaxy S21
- Samsung Galaxy S21+
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy S22
- Samsung Galaxy S22+
- Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy S23
- Samsung Galaxy S23+
- Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
For more information, see our full list of eSIM compatible phones.
Most of the above smartphones offer dual-SIM connectivity in conjunction with eSIM support. This means you can use a traditional plastic SIM card, an eSIM, or both at the same time. If you’re using both a traditional SIM card and an eSIM at the same time, you can have two phone numbers and two mobile networks on your phone at the same time.
For more information on how to set up and use eSIM on your phone, refer to your smartphone manufacturer’s website as follows:
- Apple: How to use dual SIM and eSIM (for compatible iPhone devices)
- Samsung: Using Galaxy smartphones with eSIM (for compatible Samsung Galaxy phones)
- Google: How to use dual SIMs (for compatible Google Pixel phones)
- Huawei: How to add an eSIM to your phone (for compatible Huawei P40 phones)
- Motorola: How can I activate the eSIM on Razr? (for Motorola Razr)
eSIM on UK Mobile Networks
In the following section, we’ll discuss the availability of eSIM on UK mobile networks.
It’s currently possible to get an eSIM on EE’s Pay Monthly plans (including SIM Only and Small Business plans). Unfortunately, eSIM isn’t available to EE Pay As You Go customers.
To get an eSIM on EE, you’ll need to start off by getting a regular plastic SIM card. Once you’ve ordered and activated this SIM card, you’ll be able to get a new eSIM to replace it.
To get your replacement eSIM pack, you can log in to My EE, you can visit your nearest EE retail store, or you can call EE’s customer services team on 150 (0800 956 6000 if you’re calling from another network). Once you have your eSIM pack, you can use EE’s SIM swap webpage to transfer your plan onto an eSIM.
If you’d like an EE Pay Monthly SIM card that can be changed into an eSIM, consider one of the following EE SIM-only deals:
All of EE’s eSIMs come with access to their 5G network. In addition, you’ll get a Smart Benefit included when you choose an All Rounder plan. For instance, this could be an inclusive subscription to Apple Music, Netflix, or TNT Sports Ultimate.
If you’re looking for a Pay As You Go eSIM with no contract and no credit check, giffgaff now offers eSIM functionality on their plans. You’ll get access to O2’s 4G & 5G network when you’re using a giffgaff eSIM inside your mobile phone.
To get a giffgaff eSIM, you’ll initially need to order a physical SIM from giffgaff. Once you’ve placed your order, the SIM card will normally arrive on the next working day (as long as you order before 5pm). You’ll need to follow the instructions included in the pack to activate the SIM card. You’ll then be able to use the ‘Switch to eSIM’ feature inside the giffgaff app which will download and install the replacement eSIM on your device.
All of the following one-month rolling plans can be used on a giffgaff eSIM:
It’s also possible to use a giffgaff eSIM with no regular monthly fees. Simply order a free SIM card and switch it for an eSIM – you’ll just pay 25p/minute, 10p/text and 10p/MB.
giffgaff also offers a range of 18-month contracts with eSIM functionality:
Lyca Mobile also offers a Pay As You Go eSIM service with no contract and no credit check required. Their eSIM plans start from £0.45/month. You’ll get 4G & 5G coverage from the EE network, and there’s instant online delivery so you can start using the eSIM straight away.
To get your Lyca Mobile eSIM, choose your plan from the table below, making sure to choose the ‘eSIM’ option when you check out.
Once you’ve placed your order, the eSIM will be sent to you straight away by email.
You can also order an eSIM plan from the main Lyca Mobile website (e.g. if you’re looking for one of their international plans). If you do this, the ‘eSIM’ option will look a little bit different at the checkout, but it will work in the exact same way:
All of Lyca Mobile’s eSIM plans are offered on a Pay As You Go basis. This means you can easily change, pause or cancel your plan at any time.
On O2, you can move your Pay Monthly contract onto an eSIM. This includes handset, SIM Only and business plans. However, it isn’t possible to get an eSIM on O2 Pay As You Go.
To move your O2 Pay Monthly plan onto an eSIM, you’ll need to obtain an O2 eSIM pack. You can get one by visiting your nearest O2 retail store or by calling O2’s customer services team on 202. Once you have an eSIM pack, it can take up to 24 hours to transfer your plan onto an eSIM.
If you’d like a new O2 SIM card that can be swapped for an eSIM when you receive it, O2 currently offers the following SIM-only deals:
If you’re a Sky Mobile customer, you’ll be able to transfer your plan onto an eSIM. To do this, you’ll need to sign in to the ‘My Sky’ website and then follow the instructions on this psge. It can take up to 30 minutes for your eSIM service to go live on Sky Mobile.
If you’re looking for a Sky Mobile SIM card that can be swapped for an eSIM once it’s activate, Sky currently offers the following SIM-only deals:
All of Sky Mobile’s eSIMs will allow you to rollover unused data for up to 3 years. You’ll also be able to stream from Sky Go and other selected apps without eating into your data.
If you’re a Tesco Mobile Pay Monthly customer, you’ll be able to move your plan onto an eSIM. To do so, you’ll need to request a replacement eSIM. This is available through live chat, phone (0345 301 4455), or in-person at your local Tesco Mobile phone shop.
Your Tesco Mobile eSIM will be issued as a printed QR code, which you’ll need to scan with the camera on your phone. According to Tesco, it can take a couple of days for the printed eSIM to arrive in the post as it will be sent to you via Royal Mail.
If you’re a Three Pay Monthly customer who has joined since the 30th January 2023, you’ll be able to get your Pay Monthly plan moved onto an eSIM. You’ll need to have a Lite, Value, or Complete plan to be eligible.
To get a replacement eSIM from Three, you can call their customer services team on 333 (or 0333 338 1001 if you’re calling from another mobile network). It’s also possible to get a replacement eSIM from your nearest Three retail store.
If you’d like a new SIM card from Three that can be swapped for an eSIM once you get it, Three currently offers the following SIM-only deals:
You can also save on an unlimited data eSIM which is available for £20 per month when you sign up on a 24-month contract:
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to get an eSIM on Three’s Pay As You Go service, or on Three’s Pay Monthly plans that were taken before the 30th January 2023.
On Vodafone, you can order an eSIM plan online to start using straight away. Unlike the other major networks, there’s no need to get a plastic SIM card first. This can save you a lot of time and hassle.
The following plans offer 4G coverage on an eSIM and are available from £7/month:
Alternatively, you can get a 5G-ready Vodafone Red plan on eSIM:
Vodafone also offers a range of unlimited data plans that can be used on eSIM:
To ensure you receive your plan on an eSIM, make sure to choose the “eSIM” option when you checkout online. This is shown in the screenshot below:
You can also get an eSIM from Vodafone Business if you’re planning to use the eSIM for work.
If you’re an existing Vodafone Pay Monthly customer, you can move your current plan onto an eSIM. To do so, follow the instructions on Vodafone’s website. It takes around 10 minutes to move your current Vodafone price plan to an eSIM.
As well as supporting the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel phones, Vodafone also has eSIM support available on the Apple Watch and on other wearable devices. There’s more information about this in Vodafone’s help centre.
You can also get an eSIM plan from specialist roaming providers. For instance, Airalo offers a short-term UK plan with 3GB data for US$10 (approx £7.90). This is a data-only plan from Uki Mobile with 4G coverage from the O2 and Three networks. Unlike on the plans above, there’s no need to be a UK resident. However, you’re getting a data-only service without a UK phone number. This means it isn’t particularly suited for long-term usage in the UK.
Amongst the other UK network providers:
How To Set Up An eSIM
When you order an eSIM from one of the UK mobile networks, they’ll normally provide you with a QR code that you can scan with your phone. This is the easiest and fastest way to install an eSIM onto your device.
If, for some reason, you need to set up the eSIM manually (e.g. due to a broken camera or missing QR code), you can manually input the SM-DP+ address for your provider. You’ll also need the activation code and confirmation code, both of which are unique to your eSIM.
The following table shows the SM-DP+ address for the UK mobile networks:
|eSIM Provider||SM-DP+ Address||Activation & Confirmation Code|
|EE||ee.pr.go-esim.com||(unique to your eSIM from EE)|
|Lycamobile||dp-plus-par07-01.oasis-smartsim.com||(unique to your eSIM from Lycamobile)|
|O2||cel.prod.ondemandconnectivity.com||(unique to your eSIM from O2)|
|Three||huk.prod.ondemandconnectivity.com||(unique to your eSIM from Three)|
|Vodafone||vuk-gto.prod.ondemandconnectivity.com||(unique to your eSIM from Vodafone)|
If you’re getting a giffgaff eSIM, this is only available as a direct digital download through the giffgaff app.
Frequently Asked Questions
|Which UK mobile providers offer eSIM?||
At present, you can get an eSIM from the following UK mobile networks:
For a list of eSIM-compatible deals, see our guide to eSIM plans in the UK.
|How can I change my regular SIM card to an eSIM?||
On Vodafone and Lyca Mobile, you can order an eSIM straight away. Just choose the relevant option when placing your order online.
On the other mobile networks (EE, giffgaff, O2, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile and Three), you’ll need to order a physical SIM card to begin with. This can then be changed to an eSIM at a later date, by ordering a replacement eSIM pack.
|Which mobile devices are compatible with eSIM?||
You can use an eSIM in selected mobile phones from Apple, Google, Huawei, Motorola and Samsung. Compatible devices include Apple’s iPhone 11, Samsung’s Galaxy S20 and later devices. In most devices, eSIM will also enable dual-SIM connectivity, allowing you to have two phone numbers at the same time on your device.
For more information about eSIM in the UK, please see the EE, giffgaff, Lyca Mobile, O2, Sky, Tesco Mobile, Three and Vodafone websites. You can also see our guide to eSIM plans in the UK and UK Pay As You Go eSIMs.