In the UK, eSIMs are available from EE, Lycamobile, O2, 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 like the iPhone 11, the Galaxy S20, and newer devices, you can download an eSIM 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 the dual-SIM functionality on these phones.

You can get an eSIM on compatible Pay Monthly plans from EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. You can also get a Pay As You Go eSIM from Lycamobile.

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 £5/month
eSIM Providers UK:
  • EE (from £10/month, SIM swap required)
  • Lycamobile (from £5/month, with instant setup)
  • O2 (from £13/month, SIM swap required)
  • Three (from £5/month, SIM swap required)
  • Vodafone (from £7/month, with instant setup)
Compatible Devices:
  • Apple iPhone 11 and newer
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 and newer
  • Google Pixel 3 and newer
  • see more…

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 into your device, eSIM uses a reprogrammable chip inside your smartphone. To download and install an eSIM, you’ll normally need to scan a QR code with your phone.

Compared to traditional SIM cards, there are both advantages of disadvantages of using an eSIM.

The advantage of using eSIM technology is 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 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 can 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 changing 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 for a physical SIM card before you’re able to use it.

eSIM Compatible Devices

The list of smartphones with eSIM support include 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 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
  • Huawei P40
  • Huawei P40 Pro
  • Motorola Razr2
  • 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 Fold 2
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

1 The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are able to hold both a physical SIM card and eSIM. You can change between the two but only one can be used at a given time. You therefore won’t be able to have two phone numbers at the same time.
2 The Motorola Razr is an eSIM-only device. It doesn’t support physical SIM cards.

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’ll be able to 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:

eSIM on UK Mobile Networks

In the following section, we’ll discuss the availability of eSIM on UK mobile networks.


On EE, it’s currently possible to get an eSIM on Pay Monthly plans (including EE’s SIM Only and Small Business plans). Unfortunately, eSIM isn’t currently 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:

24 months
24 months
24 months
12 months
24 months
3 months half price
24 months
24 months

All of EE’s eSIMs include access to their 5G network. In addition, you’ll get a Smart Benefit included when you choose an EE Smart SIM card. For instance, this could be an inclusive subscription to Apple Music, Netflix or BT Sport Ultimate.

Source: EE Help: What is an eSim?
Tariff Information: EE Website


If you’re looking for a Pay As You Go eSIM with no contract and no credit check, Lycamobile currently offers a range of eSIM plans from £5/month. You’ll get 4G & 5G coverage on the O2 network, and there’s instant online delivery so you can start using the eSIM straight away.

To get your Lycamobile eSIM, choose your plan and order through this page. Make sure to sign up as a new Lycamobile customer and choose the ‘eSIM’ option at checkout. Once you’ve placed your order, the eSIM will be sent to you straight away by email.

You’ll need to choose the ‘eSIM’ option during checkout.

The following table shows Lycamobile’s Pay As You Go eSIM plans:

UK Plan Smart
+100 intl.
National Plus
+100 intl.
National Plan Extra
+100 intl.
UK Plan Super Extra
+100 intl.
UK Plan Mega Plus
+100 intl.
UK Plan Unlimited
+100 intl.
UK Plan Unlimited Plus
+unltd intl.

As Lycamobile operates on a Pay As You Go basis, you can easily pause, change or cancel your plan at any time.

Source: Lycamobile UK: Frequently Asked Questions
Tariff Information: Lycamobile Website


On O2, it’s possible to 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:

24 months
24 months
24 months
24 months
24 months
24 months
24 months

All of O2’s eSIMs will give you access to the O2 Priority app along with O2 Extras such as inclusive Disney+. You’ll also get access to O2’s 5G network if you request a 5G eSIM pack.

Source: O2 Help and Support: eSIM
Tariff Information: O2 Website


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 Standard, Plus, or Premium 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:

12 months
12 months
12 months
12 months
12 months

You can also save on an unlimited data eSIM which is available for £18 per month when you sign up on a 24-month contract:

24 months

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.

Source: Three Help: eSIM Support
Tariff Information: Three Website

Virgin Mobile

At present, it isn’t possible for new Virgin Mobile customers to get an eSIM. Although they still have some information about eSIMs on their website, the feedback seems to indicate that this was only offered for a short time in 2021.

In 2023, Virgin Mobile customers are due to be moved to O2. Once your plan has moved to O2, you’ll be able to follow the instructions on O2’s website to get an eSIM. This also applies to Volt customers who will have an O2 SIM card included with their Virgin Media plan.

Source: Virgin Media Help: eSIM Support
Tariff Information: Virgin Mobile Website


On Vodafone, you can order an eSIM plan online to start using straight away. Unlike other 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:

12 months
12 months
12 months

Alternatively, you can get a 5G-ready Vodafone Red plan on eSIM:

24 months
24 months
24 months
24 months

Vodafone also offers a range of unlimited data plans that can be used on eSIM:

2Mbps max
24 months
10Mbps max
24 months
24 months

To ensure you receive your plan on an eSIM, 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.

Source: Vodafone Help: Discover eSIM
Tariff Information: Vodafone Website

Other Networks

You can also get an eSIM from specialist roaming providers. For instance, Airalo offers a short-term plan with 3GB data for US$10 (approx £8). This is a data-only plan from Uki Mobile which offers 4G coverage from the O2 network. Unlike 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 so it isn’t particularly suited for long-term usage in the UK.

Amongst the other UK network providers:

  • giffgaff eSIM – At present, eSIMs are yet to launch on giffgaff. There’s an idea on the giffgaff community with more than 700 votes, with giffgaff saying they’re “looking into it”.
  • iD Mobile eSIM – Unfortunately, iD Mobile do not currently provide eSIMs on their network. They haven’t made any announcements as to when eSIM will be made available.
  • Lebara Mobile eSIM – Lebara Mobile doesn’t offer any eSIM support.
  • Sky Mobile eSIM – Sky Mobile doesn’t currently support eSIM. However, they’ve said they’re looking into adding the functionality in the future.
  • SMARTY eSIM – Smarty doesn’t currently support eSIMs on their network. As a low-cost sub-brand of Three, the launch of eSIMs on SMARTY is likely to come some time after the launch of eSIM on Three.
  • Tesco Mobile eSIM – Tesco Mobile are yet to make any announcements about the availability of eSIM on their network.
  • VOXI eSIM – Unfortunately, eSIM technology is not currently available to customers on VOXI (a youth-orientated sub-brand of Vodafone). As an alternative, consider getting a plan from Vodafone instead, given they have eSIM-ready plans from £7/month.

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 EE, O2 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.

On Vodafone and Lycamobile, you can order an eSIM straight away. Just choose the relevant option when placing your order online.

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.

More Information

For more information about eSIM in the UK, please see the EE, Lycamobile, O2, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone websites. You can also see our guide to eSIM plans in the UK and UK Pay As You Go eSIMs.

Your Comments 29 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 29 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • I started off with a Pisces eSim from Keepgo and a 1P PAYG plan and eSim total cost $6 plus £4. That gives 1Gb data valid for 12 months (and longer if topped up) and 120 days for voice/sms at 1p a minute/message (again longer if topped up). The data plan is valid throughout Europe inc UK. My grand-daughter doesn’t use the phone much outside so should be fairly cheap over a year, about £12 for calls and maybe another $18 for data. Winner! Used intelligently these eSims slash costs.

    • Just to add, SIM arrived today because of no post yesterday so porting my number won’t happen now until Monday but setting up the eSIM in MyEE was a simple affair so all’s good to go.

    • Hi Will,
      Thanks for the heads up! Do you have any more information about the eSIM being discontinued? I wasn’t able to find any reference to this on the Virgin Media website but it’s possible they just haven’t updated it…

      • Andrew replied:

        I tried to get one this evening and they said they definitely don’t do them. Didn’t make any reference to when that changed. When I said all the research I had done said they did they just kept repeating “we only do physical sim”!!

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