Moving to the UK: Organising a UK SIM card Number

The sooner you organise a SIM card, the sooner you can be contactable by friends and family as well as adding the number to your CV and giving it out to employers.

So, you’re moving to the UK and want to know, ‘How can I organise a UK phone number’, well I can tell you how we do this at BritBound and then you can make your mind up as to what would work well for you. Of course if you want us to help you organise this for you too then you can get the ball rolling by starting here -

Should you start with a Pay As You Go or Contract Plan?

We recommend initially starting with a PAYG (Pay As You Go) or SIM only (which is the same thing!), as the SIM numbers are portable, you can keep your same number if you decide to move to a contract plan. The difference between PAYG and a contract is that one has a fixed term, usually 12 or 48 months and the other you just pay on a month-to-month basis.

Once you’ve been on the PAYG for a couple of months you will have a better idea of your call / text spend and data usage and then you can look for a plan that betters the current deal you are on. If you can beat it that is!

In my experience most of our BritBounders tend to stay on the monthly bundles with only a small percentage moving to a contract plan.

Can I activate the SIM card before my arrival in the UK?

If you purchase a SIM card through the BritBound website then yes, you can ask us to activate your SIM before we post it to you. This way if you choose a SIM card that only gives you the number once it is activated we will be able to tell you your number too. Out of our SIM cards we carry, the ones that have the number printed on the packet are 02. Both Three and EE only tell you once the SIM has been activated.

Monthly Bundles

All the networks have standard charges which you would pay if you just started using your phone once you’ve added the SIM card. However, they all also offer ‘Monthly Bundles’ so provided you ‘top up’ (add credit) to your phone by a certain amount each month you can access the bundle offers which are far more attractive. The table below shows the current bundles for the main three networks that we carry and what you get if you buy their monthly bundle. I am writing this in July 2021 and these change all the time. The below is just to give you an idea of what I am talking about here.

Adding credit to your SIM card

When you first purchase a SIM the easiest way to add credit to it is with a 'Top-Up Voucher'. If you do this through BritBound then we will print out a voucher for you and attach it to your SIM card.

Once you add the credit to your phone (you just follow the instructions on the attached voucher and key in the 16-digit voucher number) you can then choose a Data and Call Bundle (see link below) using the credit you have added to your phone. You do not have to choose a bundle but if you do not purchase one of these your chosen network will default your charges to the standard tariff which is much higher than the monthly bundle offers, so we recommend you select one of these. You can increase or decrease each month if you want to.

Note that if you choose a £10 bundle and you have topped up £10 then your phone will say you have no credit. This is correct because you have used the £10 to purchase a £10 bundle. If you want a £15 bundle then your phone will need an additional £5 credit, meaning you need to get another Top-Up Voucher! We can always do this for you and send you a photo!

If the bundle you choose is less than the amount of credit you added to your phone, then this credit will carry over to the next month. However, the data, call minutes and texts will only last for 30 days so you need to top up your phone (online or with a top up voucher). You will be able to set up a Direct Debit to have the monthly amount automatically deducted.

If you are interested in moving to a contract I would advise waiting a couple of months so you can first get an idea of exactly how much data you need each month before committing to anything longer term.

How long in advance should I organise my SIM card?

If you want to have your SIM card posted overseas (something we can do), then we'd recommend doing this with enough time for your SIM to arrive before you leave. So probably a good 4 weeks.

How can I purchase a SIM card with Credit and have it posted to me overseas?

You can do everything here.