Our cookies

We use cookies, which are small text files, to improve your experience on our website and to show you personalised content. You can allow all or manage them individually.

⚙ Manage cookies individually

You can view our cookie policy and update your preferences any time here.

Choose which cookies to allow:

Best eSIM networks in the UK: which let you join instantly?

SIM card and microchip

The retailers featured on this page may compensate us when our readers follow links to their websites and make a purchase. More

We list all the regular UK mobile networks that offer eSIM and rate how convenient it is to join them using the technology. Last updated: 14th February 2024.

In our eSIM guide

eSIM providers in the UK

Most network mast with eSIM icon

Advantages of eSIM

Thumbs up and eSIM icon

Which UK networks have eSIM?

All these UK networks support eSIM

Click a logo below to see how we rank their eSIMs

spusu are the best value choice for taking an eSIM

spusu eSIM - use your plan within minutes after ordering

Full access to EE's excellent networkSee their eSIM guide

at spusu.co.uk
(opens in new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Get your eSIM instantly
Green plus sign Support for smartwatches and tablets
Green plus sign Really good value deals on EE
Green plus sign Inclusive EU roaming even included

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Hard to transfer eSIM to other phones

spusu are quite a surprising network to see on this list as they’re not one of the UK's big four. But they let you take out an eSIM right away and are usually in among the cheapest network to let you do so.

You get your QR code delivered to you right at the end of the checkout when you buy your plan. You then scan this to install your eSIM. There’s no need to wait for the package to arrive, it works right away.

And you can get an eSIM for tablets, smartwatches or any other device that supports them. So long as the device can use an eSIM, you can get it working on spusu.

In all, spusu offer an excellent mix of convenience, both in terms of getting your eSIM working right away and on multiple devices and with really useful extras like EU roaming.

Useful link: Read our full spusu network review

Lyca Mobile are another great value option for eSIMs

Lycamobile eSIM banner

All you need is a supported deviceRead their guide

at lycamobile.co.uk
(opens in new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Join on an eSIM right away
Green plus sign Great value on their deals
Green plus sign A rare eSIM network for Pay As You Go

What we don't like:
Red minus sign No support for smartwatches or tablets

Lycamobile surprised us by introducing eSIMs last year, as they’re one of the smaller UK networks. You can join any of their great value SIM only or phone plans on an eSIM and even get one on Pay As You Go.

They’re an excellent value choice for joining on an eSIM and are a good option to join if you want an eSIM for EU roaming. And they have a range of low-cost, flexible 1-month SIM only deals.

And you don’t have to wait for a SIM package to arrive, you just need to scan the QR code in the email that Lyca send you after ordering and your eSIM will start working. It’s a nice and convenient scheme overall.

Their list of supported devices doesn’t include smartwatches or tablets and they don’t say one way or the other if any devices apart from phones are compatible. So do bear that in mind when joining them.

Useful link: Read our full Lyca Mobile review

Vodafone let you download your eSIM right away on all plans

Vodafone eSIM banner

Get your eSIM right after paying for itRead guide

at vodafone.co.uk
(opens in new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Join on an eSIM directly
Green plus sign Brilliant support for tablets and smartwatches

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Plans are typically quite expensive

If your phone is eSIM compatible (check Vodafone’s list here) you can get an eSIM on all of Vodafone’s pay monthly SIM only or phone contracts. Otherwise, you can join on a physical SIM card.

After buying your eSIM you’ll receive an order confirmation email with a link. Clicking this will install all the info your phone needs to get your eSIM working instantly. No need to wait for your SIM to arrive.

Vodafone even let you take out eSIMs for tablets, smartwatches and most other eSIM compatible devices. Check their list of supported devices here to see if yours is compatible.

If you’re already on a physical SIM card on Vodafone you can have your SIM card swapped for an eSIM. That’s also handy if you want to stay on Vodafone and pop another physical SIM card into your device.

Useful link: Vodafone's guide to eSIM on their network

O2 are a good choice for joining on an eSIM

An O2 branded eSIM

Get your eSIM working right awayHow this works

at O2.co.uk
(opens in new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Install your eSIM right away
Green plus sign Nice support for smartwatches

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Limited support for tablets and other devices
Red minus sign Can’t get an eSIM on PAYG
Red minus sign Expensive deals

O2 now let you install your eSIM right after ordering, which wasn’t the case for a while. All you need to do is order a SIM only or phone contract, choose an eSIM and then install it.

You can also convert your current physical SIM into an eSIM if you like, and the other way round too. However, eSIMs are currently not available on O2’s Pay As You Go monthly bundles.

If you’ve got a smartwatch then you can take an O2 eSIM to use with it, letting you stay connected without having to Bluetooth pair it with your phone. But they don’t currently offer eSIMs for tablets or other devices.

Overall, you have to wait a bit longer to get an eSIM than on the networks above and there are a few obstacles in the way. But once you’ve set it up your eSIM should work just fine.

Useful link: O2's full guide to eSIM on their network

EE are a convenient but expensive way to get an eSIM

EE branded phone icons with eSIM

Get your eSIM right after orderingRead their guide

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign Get your eSIM working right away
Green plus sign Excellent smartwatch compatibility

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Limited support for tablets
Red minus sign Expensive plans

You can take an eSIM right away on any of EE’s SIM only or phone contracts on an eSIM-ready phone. After taking your plan you can get your eSIM directly using the MyEE app or waiting for your QR code to be delivered.

If you’ve got a smartwatch, you can connect it directly to your phone’s plan (read EE’s guide here). That means you don't need a separate eSIM plan to keep your smartwatch connected.

EE do support a few tablets for eSIMs (see their list of compatible tablets here). But you’ll have to get a separate deal to get an eSIM with your tablet to use it on the go, unlike with their smartwatches.

You can’t currently get an eSIM on EE’s Pay As You Go bundles. That does mean if you can’t pass a credit check to join a contract or you prefer being on a monthly bundle you’ll be stuck with a physical SIM.

Useful link: EE's full guide to eSIM on their network

Honest Mobile also now let you join on an eSIM

Honest Mobile eSIM banner

Join directly on an eSIMSee their plans

at honestmobile.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Honest Mobile let you join directly on an eSIM, either on a 1-month or 12-month SIM only deal. Honest don’t have a list of supported devices, but their chat agent said that any eSIM compatible phone should work.

You’ll be sent your QR code directly after taking your eSIM from their website. By scanning this, your SIM plan will be ported to your device directly, rather than having to wait days for your SIM package to arrive.

Their SIM only plans aren’t as good value as some of the networks above, but the cost of your plan will actually go down over time. And you get full access to Three’s excellent 4G and 5G network.

We also asked a chat agent if their eSIMs worked in smartwatches and other devices and they confirmed this. So, it should be nice and easy to get an Honest Mobile eSIM working on any compatible device.

Useful link: Our full Honest Mobile network review

Three keep changing whether you can get an eSIM instantly

Screenshot of eSIM process on Three

We couldn't buy an eSIM instantlyRead eSIM guide

at Three.co.uk
(opens in new window)

What we like:
Green plus sign You can get an eSIM
Green plus sign Support for tablets
Green plus sign Decent value deals overall

What we don't like:
Red minus sign Can't currently order instantly
Red minus sign No smartwatch support
Red minus sign Doesn't work at all on PAYG

We know that Three are capable of offering eSIM as they have done in the past. Their eSIM page on their website even says you can get one on their SIM only plans or phone contracts.

The problem is, whenever we test if you can order one and get started immediately, the option to choose eSIM keeps disappearing. Currently when you order, the only option is a physical delivered SIM.

You can in theory change later from a physical SIM to an eSIM if you’d like. Although, we haven’t attempted to do this ourselves as a real test. There is sometimes a gap between what Three say is possible and is.

Three don’t offer smartwatch support for eSIMs, or any other kind of device. And you can’t get an eSIM on their Pay As You Go monthly plans.

Useful link: Compare eSIM-ready plans

eSIM benefits

Change networks faster and have multiple SIMs on the go

Ofcom switching process

The first benefit of eSIMs is that they ideally remove any waiting time. You don’t need to wait for your physical SIM card to be delivered and you can install a new one whenever you like.

Imagine you’re fed up with your current mobile network and you’re able to just switch to another one by downloading the necessary information right away. eSIM allows that right now.

In theory this means networks will have to do more to keep their customers happy, or else risk losing them to another network. By improving the competition between networks, eSIMs should help improve quality of service.

And eSIMs make it easier to get the most out of a dual SIM phone. You can have a physical SIM and an eSIM in the same phone or potentially two eSIMs. This will help improve coverage or let you have two numbers.

Useful link: How text to switch works

There are a few other benefits of eSIMs

Galaxy Fold handset

As we've said above, eSIMs let you have two SIMs on the go at once. That means you can have one number for work and another number for personal use. And you can expand signal by joining two different networks.

It's also useful for travel. If you're going somewhere your main mobile provider doesn't include roaming, you can add an eSIM from a local provider and crack on using your phone there without as big extra charges.

The removal of physical SIM trays also frees up a bit of space in the phone for extra battery or will allow for slimmer and more flexible designs in future once physical SIMs go.

The big downside to eSIMs is that they make it harder to switch phones. You can’t just pop in your old SIM into your new phone, you’ll have to ask your network for another eSIM code and do the process all over again.

Useful link: Compare eSIM only plans


It can be a bit of a pain dealing with scanning QR codes, fiddling with phone settings and activating things online. Some people might just prefer popping out a SIM tray and putting a physical SIM in it.

It’s better insofar as you can often order a plan and download an eSIM immediately without waiting for a physical SIM card to be delivered. There’s no particular network advantage like better data speeds or similar though.

Yes. You’ll need the internet the first time you add it to your phone but once it’s set up, it just carries on working in the background - whether you have internet or not.

The main downside is you can’t just pop out your SIM and put it in another phone if you need to, like if you run out of battery or damage your phone.

Yes. You’ll need to go through your relevant network’s lost/stolen SIM card process to get a new physical SIM card sent out to you though. They may disable your eSIM in the meantime too.

Typically not, if it’s for the same network, phone number and device at once. Networks do support physical SIM for your phone with an attached eSIM for smartwatches though.

No. There’s no mobile network in the UK that charges extra for an eSIM vs a physical SIM. Adding an additional smartwatch eSIM for example may cost extra though.

No. Your phone will specifically need to have eSIM as a feature. Many new phones built after 2020 have it by default. If you’re unsure, use a search engine for your model to find out!

Compare eSIM only deals

eSIM only plans

We pre-filtered these results for networks with eSIM

Magnifying glass CPU



1p Mobile logo
Three logo
ASDA logo
Boshhh Mobile logo
Coop Mobile logo
EE logo
Genius logo
giffgaff logo
Honest logo
ID logo
IQ logo
Lebara logo
Lycamobile logo
O2 logo
Sky logo
spusu logo
Talkhome logo
Talkmobile logo
Tesco logo
Vodafone logo
VOXI logo


Data: (0MB+)

Minutes: (0+)


Maximum length: (Any)

Added features

More network guides