You can get a UK Pay As You Go eSIM from giffgaff, Lyca Mobile and Uki Mobile. Compare Pay As You Go eSIMs for the UK.

In the UK, it’s currently possible to get a Pay As You Go eSIM from giffgaff, Lyca Mobile and Uki Mobile. These Pay As You Go eSIMs will allow you to get connected to the mobile network without the need for a physical SIM card inside your phone. You can also use it to activate dual-SIM functionality on your iPhone, Samsung Galaxy or Google Pixel smartphone.

In this article, we’ll look at the availability of Pay As You Go eSIMs in the UK, including the providers available and the best Pay As You Go eSIM deals. We’ll also look at how you can use a Pay As You Go eSIM inside your mobile phone.

Pay As You Go eSIMs: From £1.29/month
Pay As You Go eSIM Providers UK:
Compatible Devices:
  • Apple iPhone 11 and newer
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 and newer
  • Google Pixel 3 and newer
  • see more…

Best Pay As You Go eSIM

In the UK, it’s now possible to get an eSIM on Pay As You Go, with no need to sign a contract and no need to go through a credit check.

Having an eSIM will allow you to access dual-SIM functionality on newer iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel smartphones. For instance, you might be able to have two phone numbers at the same time on your device (e.g. both your work number and your personal number). An eSIM can also improve your mobile coverage by giving you access to another network, as well as giving you an extra allowance of mobile data.

At present, Lyca Mobile is our recommended network if you’re looking for a Pay As You Go eSIM plan in the UK:

Lyca Mobile

  • Get your eSIM straight away. Just choose the “eSIM” option at checkout.
  • eSIM with no contract & no credit check. Just pay as you go, or add a bundle if you like.
  • 5GB data & unlimited UK minutes for £1.29/month: Or 20GB data for £2.39.
  • 4G & 5G coverage from EE. 99% UK population coverage from the EE network.
  • Compatible with iPhone, Galaxy & Pixel. See all Lyca Mobile eSIM compatible devices

In the UK, Lyca Mobile is the first mobile network to offer a Pay As You Go eSIM with instant online delivery. They have a range of eSIM-ready plans from £1.29 per month, with no contract and no credit check required when you get a Lyca Mobile eSIM. Just choose the ‘eSIM’ option when you order your plan online.

As a special offer for February 2024, you can get Lyca Mobile’s 5GB plan for just £1.29 per month on an eSIM. Alternatively, there’s 10GB data for £1.49, 15GB data for £1.80, 20GB data for £2.39 and unlimited data for £9.99 per month.

All of the Lyca Mobile plans work on a Pay As You Go basis so you can easily pause, change or cancel your plan at any time.

Get a Lyca Mobile eSIM online →

If you’re a UK resident and if you’re happy to sign up to a contract, you can also consider getting a Pay Monthly eSIM from EE, O2, Sky, Tesco, Three or Vodafone.

UK Pay As You Go eSIM Providers

In the following section, we’ll look at the UK’s Pay As You Go eSIM providers in more detail.

giffgaff

If you’re looking for a Pay As You Go eSIM, you can get one by signing up to giffgaff. You can get one of their latest Pay As You Go plans from £6/month, with no contract and no credit check required.

All of giffgaff’s eSIM plans come with unlimited UK minutes, unlimited UK texts, an allowance of mobile data, and access to O2’s 4G & 5G network.

TariffMinutesTextsDataMonthly Cost
£6 Golden GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited2GB£6.00
1 month
£8 Golden GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£8.00
1 month
£10 Golden GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£10.00
1 month
£12 Golden GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited26GB£12.00
1 month
£15 Golden GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited35GB£15.00
1 month
£20 Golden GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£20.00
1 month
£25 Golden GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimited100GB
+ Always On
£25.00
1 month
£35 Golden GoodybagUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£35.00
1 month

It’s also possible to use a giffgaff eSIM without any regular monthly fees. If you don’t have an active monthly plan, you’ll pay 25p/minute, 10p/text and 10p/MB.

One disadvantage of giffgaff’s eSIMs is the fact you’ll need to order a physical SIM card through the post, before you can switch it for an eSIM in the app. However, this extra step should be fairly straightforward and doesn’t take too long. Once you’ve ordered your physical SIM card, it will normally arrive on the next working day (as long as you order before 5pm). When it arrives, you’ll use the information on the SIM card to set up your giffgaff account. You can then use the giffgaff app straight away to switch your service onto an eSIM in just a couple of taps.

Unless you want to, there’s no need to put the physical SIM card inside a mobile phone to activate it.

Plans From Data Plans Network

£6/month

2GB to unlimited

5G coverage
(powered by O2)

Lyca Mobile

Lyca Mobile offers Pay As You Go eSIMs from just £1.29/month with no contract and no credit check required. Like on giffgaff, you’re getting a fully-featured mobile service so you can use it for both calls & mobile data. You’ll also get a UK phone number, along with 4G & 5G coverage on the EE network.

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly Cost
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited5GB£1.29
for 3 months, then £5.90/month
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited10GB£1.49
for 3 months, then £5.90/month
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited15GB£1.80
for 3 months, then £8.50/month
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£2.39
for 3 months, then £7.90/month
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£5.99
for 6 months, then £12/month
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited88GB£8.00
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited£9.99
for 6 months, then £25/month
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited200GB£9.99
for 12 months, then £25/month
LycamobileUnlimitedUnlimited100GB£10.00
for 12 months, then £20/month

To get a Lyca Mobile eSIM, choose your plan from the table above. Be sure to choose the ‘eSIM’ option at checkout. Once your order has been placed, the eSIM will be sent to you straight away via email.

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

All of Lyca Mobile’s Pay As You Go eSIM plans come with inclusive European roaming. Most Lyca Mobile plans also come with an allowance of international minutes which is handy if you’d like to call abroad to other countries.

For more information, see the FAQs on the Lyca Mobile website. You can also read our in-depth Lyca Mobile review.

Plans From Data Plans Network

£1.29/month

5GB to unlimited

5G coverage
(powered by EE)

Uki Mobile

Uki Mobile is another provider of Pay As You Go eSIMs in the UK. Available exclusively through Airalo, the Uki Mobile plans start from US$10 per month (approx £7.90 per month).

Unlike the giffgaff and Lyca Mobile eSIMs, Uki Mobile mainly pitches itself at tourists and visitors to the UK. Although there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to use it as a UK resident, there are two disadvantages to doing so:

  1. Uki Mobile offers a data-only eSIM. You won’t get a UK phone number included. As such, it isn’t possible to use the Uki Mobile eSIM for calling or texting.
  2. You’ll need to pay for your Uki Mobile eSIM in US dollars. As it’s a foreign currency transaction, there can be extra fees from your bank. The exchange rate and the resulting price in pounds sterling can also differ over time.

Apart from that, you’ll get access to 4G coverage on both O2 and Three when you’re using a Uki Mobile eSIM in your phone. There’s also no contract & no credit check when you sign up for a Uki Mobile plan.

The following table shows the latest Uki Mobile Pay As You Go plans:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataPlan
Cost
NoneNone1GBUS$5.00
(~£4.00)
valid for 7 days
NoneNone2GBUS$7.50
(~£6.00)
valid for 15 days
NoneNone3GBUS$10.00
(~£7.90)
valid for 30 days
NoneNone10GBUS$11.00
(~£8.70)
valid for 30 days
NoneNone5GBUS$15.00
(~£11.90)
valid for 30 days
NoneNone20GBUS$18.00
(~£14.30)
valid for 30 days

As a special offer for readers of this website, you can save 10% on your Uki Mobile eSIM when you enter the KEN10 voucher code at checkout. This offer is only available if you’re new to Airalo. If you’re an existing Airalo customer, the KEN5 voucher code will give you 5% off.

Plans From Data Plans Network

US$10/month
(approx £7.90)

1GB to 20GB

4G coverage
(powered by O2)
Uki Mobile offers a data-only eSIM: you can’t use Uki Mobile for phone calls or text messages.

For more information, read our Uki Mobile review.

Other Mobile Networks

Unfortunately, other UK Pay As You Go networks are still yet to offer eSIM on their Pay As You Go plans. This includes Lebara, SMARTY and VOXI who are yet to make an announcement on when eSIMs will be available.

If you’re looking for an eSIM plan from another provider, you can also consider Pay Monthly eSIMs from EE, O2, Sky, Tesco Mobile, Three and Vodafone. For more information, see our guide to eSIM on UK mobile networks and our comparison of the UK’s best eSIM plans. You’ll need to sign up for a Pay Monthly contract to get these other eSIM deals.

More Information

For more information, see our guide to eSIMs in the UK. You can also see our list of eSIM ready phones and the best eSIM deals.

Your Comments 7 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 7 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Christopher James said:

    This article isn’t very accurate. There’s a decent amount of prepaid UK esim providers now.

    – 3 UK (finally!) offer PAYG eSIM. I activated mine today. Works perfectly with a great activation – and transfer from phone to phone – process.

    – eSIM.net, great as always. Supporting Voda & O2, though only downside is slightly higher prices compared to other prepaid providers.

    – GiffGaff. I don’t personally like GG. I think their service is woefully poor (still no VoLTE or VoWiFi!), with their eSIM process being equally as dismal. There’s no way to activate against eSIM alone and if you want to transfer to a new phone you are sent a physical sim to then transfer to eSIM. Absolute shambles and so in keeping with everything GG does.

    – Lyca, now they use EE they’re actually not completely awful. Why you would use them when eSIM.net and 3 Uk offer eSIM now is beyond me though.

    – Spusu, use EE but are missing B20, so forget it. Plus traffic is routed through Austria leaving latency too high. Too expensive and product is lacking. Avoid.

    For me, the big hold outs are now Voxi and 1pmobile. Both offer great service yet still no eSIM support. 1pm assured me it’s coming in Q4 ‘23, but I am not holding my breath.

    Please update your article to better reflect the state of eSIM on UK PAYG.

    • Hi Christopher,
      Thanks a lot for this! With regards to Three, I’m not aware they offer eSIM on Pay As You Go. Their website still says you’ll need a ‘Three Your Way’ plan, which is only available on Pay Monthly at the moment. Is this a recent change/development?
      Ken

  • There’s also anywhere esim (from the people who make the anywheresim) for multiple UK network service including voice and text if needed.

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