If you regularly make international phone calls, getting an international calling bundle can save you substantial amounts of money.

In the UK, the vast majority of SIM-only contracts and Pay As You Go bundles only include an allowance of UK minutes, texts and mobile internet. For anyone who regularly calls abroad from their mobile phone, this often isn’t ideal as you’re left paying hugely expensive per-minute rates for international calling.

For instance, if your mobile networks charges 5p/minute for you to call abroad to other countries, using just 200 minutes would add £10/month to your phone bill. Getting an international bundle can therefore save you a lot of money, with up to 500 international minutes available on a bundle from £10/month.

In this article, we’ll review international calling bundles including those that work as a standalone product as those that work as an add-on. We’ll also compare the best value bundles for calling six specific countries: China, India, Italy, Poland, Romania and Spain.

International Calling Bundles

Standalone VS Add-on Bundles

There are two types of international calling bundle: standalone bundles and add-ons for an existing tariff.

When choosing an international calling bundle, it’s important to be aware of the difference between standalone bundles and add-on bundles.

  • Standalone bundles work by themselves and give you everything you need in terms of allowances for your smartphone. For a single monthly payment, you’ll normally get an allowance of international minutes along with UK minutes, text messages and a mobile internet allowance.
  • Add-on bundles are used in addition to your normal mobile phone contract. You’ll need to pay an additional fee on top of your normal mobile phone tariff to get the extra allowance of international minutes.

As an alternative to buying an international calling bundle, it’s also possible to pay for your international calls on a per-minute basis (Pay As You Go). While this gives you a little more flexibility compared to buying a bundle, charges can quickly add up if you’re making long or frequent phone calls. Therefore, customers who regularly call abroad may prefer to buy an international calling bundle.

Top Standalone Bundles

In our opinion, Lebara Mobile currently has the best standalone bundles for international calling. They offer 30-day bundles from £10/month that come with an allowance of international minutes, UK minutes, text messages and mobile internet.

All in One Bundles

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1001GB£10.00
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1003GB£15.00
Lebara Mobile1,000
+1000 intl.
1001GB£15.00
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1005GB£20.00
Lebara Mobile1,000
+1000 intl.
1003GB£20.00
Lebara Mobile1,000
+1000 intl.
10010GB£30.00

UK Plan Bundles

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Lebara Mobile1,000
+100 intl.
1002GB£10.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
1004GB£15.00
Lebara MobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
10010GB£20.00

Inclusive international minutes can only be used for calling selected countries. The international minutes on All In One can be used to call 40 different countries, whereas the international minutes on UK Plan can be used to call 24 European destinations.

If you’re willing to get a SIM-only plan that renews itself automatically every 30 days, a Lebara Mobile SIM only deal can save you even more money:

Network Minutes Texts Internet Monthly
Cost
Lebara Mobile 500
+500 intl.
100 1GB £5.00
for 3 months
(£9/mo after)
Lebara Mobile 500
+500 intl.
100 3GB £8.00
for 3 months
(£13/mo after)
Lebara Mobile Unlimited
+100 intl.
100 4GB £8.00
for 3 months
(£13/mo after)
Lebara Mobile Unlimited
+100 intl.
100 10GB £15.00
for 3 months
(£18/mo after)

For more information, please read our full review of Lebara’s SIM-only tariffs. Standalone bundles are also available from some other specialist mobile networks like Tello and Lycamobile.

Top Add-on Bundles

In contrast to a standalone bundle, an add-on bundle is used in addition to a normal mobile phone tariff. Because of this, you should treat it as an additional fee on top of your normal mobile phone tariff. For instance, if you already pay £20/month for your basic mobile phone tariff and add on £10/month for the international minutes, you’d pay a total of £30/month for the entire package.

At present, the following add-on bundles are available to purchase in the UK:

EE EE Pay Monthly

On Pay Monthly contracts from EE, there’s a choice of two international calling add-ons:

  • International Add-On (£10/month): Gives you 500 international minutes for calling 50 selected countries. You can only call up to five different phone numbers each month.
  • International Extra Add-On (£20/month): Gives you 250 international minutes for calling 100 selected countries. You can only call up to five different phone numbers each month.

If you’re still within the first 3 months of your contract with EE, you can alternatively choose to add an “International Commitment Pack” rather than an “International Add-On”. You’ll get double the number of international minutes to use every month but you’ll need to agree to keeping the pack for at least 18 months.

Three Three Pay Monthly

On Three, you can add the International Saver Add-On to your Pay Monthly contract. For £15.32/month, you’ll get 3,000 international minutes which can be used for calling one of 26 countries.
Vodafone Vodafone Pay Monthly

If you’re a Pay Monthly customer on Vodafone, you can buy one of two International Saver add-ons:

  • Vodafone International Saver 100 (£3/month): Gives you 100 international minutes for calling 100 selected countries.
  • Vodafone International Saver 500 (£7.50/month): Gives you 500 international minutes for calling 100 selected countries.

You can also add Vodafone’s international texting add-on which gives you 100 international texts for £5/month.

Vodafone Pay As You Go

Customers on the Freebie International Minutes tariff will receive 60 free international minutes every time they top-up their phone by £10.

At present, there are no international calling add-ons available on giffgaff, O2, Tesco Mobile or Virgin Mobile.

When comparing the cost of an add-on bundle to a standalone bundle, you should consider the total cost of both the basic tariff and the add-on together. In some cases, it might make sense to get a separate SIM card with a standalone international bundle as opposed to adding an add-on bundle to your current deal.

Calling China

If you’d like to make regular phone calls to China (+86), Lebara Mobile has a number of standalone bundles. For most people, one of Lebara’s All in One bundles will probably offer the best value (you can get 500 minutes for calling China from £10/month and 1000 minutes for calling China from £15/month).

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1001GB£10.00
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1003GB£15.00
Lebara Mobile1,000
+1000 intl.
1001GB£15.00

As an alternative, it’s also possible to buy the Unlimited International £10 bundle. This gives you unlimited phone calls to China for £10/month but there is no mobile data allowance included in the tariff.

Alternatives:

  • On EE Pay Monthly, you can add 500 minutes for calling China for an extra £10/month on top of your normal contract.
  • On Three Pay Monthly, you can add 3000 minutes for calling China for £15.32/month on top of your normal contract.
  • On Vodafone Pay Monthly, you can add 100 minutes for calling China for an extra £3/month, or add 500 minutes for calling China for £7.50/month.
  • On Tello Pay As You Go, you can get 500 minutes for calling China for £10/month or 1,000 minutes for £15/month.

As a further alternative if you need a China-based phone number (beginning with +86), this is available from CTExcelBiz (China Telecom UK) and CUniq UK (China Unicom UK). Both virtual network operators allow you to have a China-based phone number for an additional fee of £3/month. You’ll also pay 4p/minute to receive incoming phone calls on that number. Unfortunately, neither network offers a bundle for phone calls to China. Therefore, if you don’t need the China-based number, it may be cheaper to instead choose a local UK network.

Calling India

For phone calls to India (+91), our recommended standalone bundle is Lebara Mobile’s All in One £10 tariff. For £10, you’ll get 500 minutes for calling phone numbers in India along with 500 minutes for calling UK numbers, 100 UK text messages and 1GB of UK internet.

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1001GB£10.00
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1003GB£15.00
Lebara Mobile1,000
+1000 intl.
1001GB£15.00

It’s also possible to buy the Unlimited International £10 bundle as an alternative which gives you unlimited minutes for calling India for £10/month.

Alternatives:

  • On EE Pay Monthly, you can add 500 minutes for calling India for an extra £10/month on top of your normal contract.
  • On Vodafone Pay Monthly, you can add 100 minutes for calling India for an extra £3/month, or add 500 minutes for calling India for £7.50/month.
  • On Tello Pay As You Go, you can get 500 minutes for calling India for £12/month or 1,000 minutes for £18/month.

Unfortunately, Three’s International Saver Add-On doesn’t currently support phone calls to India.

Calling Italy

If you regularly make phone calls from the UK to Italy (+39), you can choose from a range of standalone bundles at Lebara Mobile.

If you only need a small allowance of minutes to Italy, Lebara’s £10 UK Plan 1 gives you 100 minutes for calling Italy alongside 1000 UK minutes, 100 text messages and 2GB of internet.

For a larger allowance of international minutes, the £10 All In One bundle comes with 500 minutes for calling Italy plus 500 UK minutes, 100 texts and 1GB of internet.

All in One (More Intl. Minutes)

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1001GB£10.00

UK Plan Bundles (More Data)

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Lebara Mobile1,000
+100 intl.
1002GB£10.00

If you don’t need a mobile internet allowance, it’s also possible to get unlimited calls to Italy for £10/month.

Alternatives:

  • On EE Pay Monthly, you can add 500 minutes for calling Italy for an extra £10/month on top of your normal contract.
  • On Three Pay Monthly, you can add 3000 minutes for calling Italian landlines for £15.32/month on top of your normal contract.
  • On Vodafone Pay Monthly, you can add 100 minutes for calling Italy for an extra £3/month, or add 500 minutes for calling Italy for £7.50/month.
  • On Tello Pay As You Go, you can get 500 minutes for calling Italy for £12/month or 1,000 minutes for £18/month.

Calling Poland

If you often want to make phone calls to Poland (+48), Lebara Mobile’s standalone All-in-One bundles come with an inclusive allowance of phone calls to Poland:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1001GB£10.00
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1003GB£15.00
Lebara Mobile1,000
+1000 intl.
1001GB£15.00

If you don’t need a mobile data allowance on your tariff, you can alternatively get unlimited calls to Poland for £10/month.

Alternatives:

  • On EE Pay Monthly, you can add 500 minutes for calling Poland for an extra £10/month on top of your normal contract.
  • On Three Pay Monthly, you can add 3000 minutes for calling landlines in Poland for £15.32/month on top of your normal contract.
  • On Vodafone Pay Monthly, you can add 100 minutes for calling Poland for an extra £3/month, or add 500 minutes for calling Poland for £7.50/month.
  • On Tello Pay As You Go, you can get 500 minutes for calling Poland for £12/month or 1,000 minutes for £18/month.

Calling Romania

For international phone calls to Romania (+40), standalone bundles are currently available from Lebara Mobile. For £10/month, you can get 500 international minutes for calling Romania along with 500 UK minutes, 100 text messages and 1GB of UK internet.

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1001GB£10.00
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1003GB£15.00
Lebara Mobile1,000
+1000 intl.
1001GB£15.00

It’s also possible to get unlimited international calls to Romania for £10/month if you don’t need any UK minutes or a UK data allowance.

Alternatives:

  • On EE Pay Monthly, you can add 500 minutes for calling Romania for an extra £10/month on top of your normal contract.
  • On Vodafone Pay Monthly, you can add 100 minutes for calling Romania for an extra £3/month, or add 500 minutes for calling Romania for £7.50/month.
  • On Tello Pay As You Go, you can get 200 minutes for calling Romania for £5/month. Alternatively, it’s 500 minutes for £10/month or 1,000 minutes for £15/month.

Unfortunately, Three’s International Saver Add-On doesn’t currently support phone calls to Romania.

Calling Spain

If you regularly make international phone calls to friends and family based in Spain (+34), there are two types of standalone bundle available on Lebara Mobile. Customers wanting a larger allowance of international minutes should choose an All-in-One bundle, whereas customers wanting more UK data should choose a UK Plan bundle.

For £10/month, you’ll get 500 international minutes with the All-in-One bundle or 100 international minutes with the UK Plan bundle. You’ll also get an inclusive allowance of UK minutes, texts and internet.

All in One (More Intl. Minutes)

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Lebara Mobile500
+500 intl.
1001GB£10.00

UK Plan Bundles (More Data)

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Lebara Mobile1,000
+100 intl.
1002GB£10.00

As an alternative, you can also get unlimited minutes to Spain for £10/month. However, you won’t get any UK minutes or an inclusive UK data allowance.

Alternatives:

  • On EE Pay Monthly, you can add 500 minutes for calling Romania for an extra £10/month on top of your normal contract.
  • On Three Pay Monthly, you can add 3000 minutes for calling landlines in Romania for £15.32/month on top of your normal contract.
  • On Vodafone Pay Monthly, you can add 100 minutes for calling Romania for an extra £3/month, or add 500 minutes for calling Romania for £7.50/month.
  • On Tello Pay As You Go, you can get 200 minutes for calling Spain for £6/month. Alternatively, it’s 500 minutes for £12/month or 1,000 minutes for £18/month.

More Information

For more information, please refer to the relevant mobile network’s website (Lebara Mobile, EE, Three, Vodafone and Tello). If you only make international phone calls very occasionally, see our guide to the lowest Pay As You Go rates for calling abroad.

Your Comments 1 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 1 comment from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • I believe you do pay as you go monthly bundles to Ghana from UK.
    I would like to know where or how I could get one every month when I need one please,

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: