Getting hold of a GSM SIM Card in the UK is pretty easy. Often you can order them free online from a number of websites. But you can also buy then from several mobile phone stores or supermarkets. You can even get them from vending machines at the airport but these are not usually very good deals, but handy if you need to call someone soon after landing. Below is a summery of some of the most popular SIM Cards in the UK.

Which is the best SIM Card to buy in the UK?

The answer to which is the best SIM card to buy really depend son your needs. Do you need to make more calls, SMS or Data.
We will assume as a visitor or new comer to London that you want a PAYG SIM Card (Pay As You Go), what this means is that you pay for your calls in advance by buying a certain amount of credit in advance. with some cards the credit will expire within a certain number of days. with most SIM cards if you do not use your SIM Card at least once to make a call or send an SMS then you will get disconnected and could lose all your credit.

ASDA is one of the biggest supermarkets in the UK. It is owned by the US company Walmart. Their SIM Card normally costs 50p and can be bought from their chain of stores. ASDA operate a very simple price structure – 8pm per minute for all UK call (Land line and Mobile), 4p for UK SMS and 20p per megabyte for internet usage. ASDA uses Vodafone as their backbone. So any unlocked phone or old Vodafone should work.

Tesco SIM Card
Tesco is the largest supermarket in the UK. They use O2 as their service provider. They have a variety of calling plans available and sell their SIM cards in their stores. Since they use O2 as their service provider it is possible that you may be able to use an old O2 phone with their SIM Card even if the phone is stilled locked to O2.

Virgin Mobile SIM Card
Virgin was one of the first major virtual mobile phone companies in the UK. Virgin uses T-Mobile as their service provider. They sell phones through various outlets including online and through the Virgin Record stores, you will also find them on sale in some airports.


How do I check my balance on PAYG SIM Cards?

This section will give you details of how to check your remaining airtime balance and credit for the most popular UK Mobile Phone networks

GiffGaff Check Balance PAYG

When logged into “My giffgaff” you can check the Balance Summary widget on the my giffgaff landing page, this will show your current balance along with any live goodybag’s you have activated and any remaining allowances

You will also receive call allerts after making a call that uses an allowance – you can opt in and out of this at any point, usually it will be set as opted in from when you receive your SIM.


O2 Mobile Check Balance PAYG

To check your balance use Hotkey 2 or key *#10# then press the call button and your calltime balance will be shown on your display.
Alternatively dial 4444 FREE from your mobile to hear your balance and to top-up.

You need at least 1 minute of calltime credit to make a call. When your calltime falls too low, you’ll get messages indicating you’re nearly out of credit until you’re finally diverted to the O2 top-up line

O2 website


Orange Check Balance PAYG

Text the word BALANCE to number 450

Orange website


Ovivo Mobile Check Balance PAYG

Ovivo Mobile offers an online service tha allows you to check your balance
Text the word BALANCE to number 450

Ovivo website


Talk Mobile Check Balance PAYG

Talkmobile, Prepay and Control customer can check their balance in the following ways.
By calling Customer Services on 5888 from your Talkmobile phone.
Dialling *#1345# from the handset and your balance will then appear on your phone’s screen.
Or through the Talkmobile SIM menu under ‘Talkmobile’.

Talk Mobile website


T-Mobile Check Balance PAYG

You can check your remaining allowance by texting AL to 150 and you can check your balance by texting BA to 150
You can also check these, along with your unbilled calls, through My T-Mobile.

T-Mobile website


Virgin Mobile Check Balance PAYG

If you’d like to see how many minutes or messages you have left, you can check your balance by dialling 789, or texting BALANCE to 789789.

Virgin Mobile website


Vodafone Check Balance PAYG

call 2345 from your mobile phone and select option 4 to hear the balance
call *#1345# from your mobile phone for an on-screen display
visit and login to My account.

Vodafone website

O2 | Mobile Phones, Mobile Broadband and Sim Only Deals on O2

Pop into an O2 store to get our deals in time for Christmas. We’ve got offers on mobiles, tablets and bundles