Living in the UK

Setting up a mobile phone in the UK

Not all international mobile phones or international SIM cards are compatible with service providers in the UK. If you aren’t able to use your current mobile phone or sim card in the UK, then you’ll need to set up a contract when you’re here.

UK mobile networks

Not all international mobile phones will be compatible with UK mobile phone service providers. If the current phone that you are using can be used in the UK, and you would like to keep that device, then you’ll be able to switch your current SIM card to a UK SIM card quite easily.

If the current phone that you’re using cannot be unlocked or used in the UK, you’ll be able to get a new handset in either a mobile phone store or online. To help save you time, we recommend researching if your current mobile phone is able to be used in the UK prior to your arrival.

Mobile phone plans and deals

If you need a new phone or SIM card, you need to think about whether having a monthly contract or paying as you go would be best for you. To determine this, you should consider:

  • What will I be using my mobile phone for?
  • How often will I be using it?
  • Will I require the internet?
  • Will I need international minutes?

Once you’ve decided whether you’d like a monthly contract or pay as you go plan, you can go into a store or online and choose from the below:

  • A long term monthly contract: These contracts usually range from 12-24 months and have a variety of data, minutes and text options for you to choose from. There will be a set price for each option and typically, the company will bill you for this on the same day of each month.
  • A pay monthly contract: A variety of data, minutes and text options will be available for you to choose from. The provider will bill for the payment on a monthly basis. The difference between this option and a long term monthly contract is that you aren’t signed up to a long term arrangement. Instead, you can cancel with a month’s notice.
  • A pay as you go SIM: This option involves no contract. You simply pay for the data that you use, minutes and texts as you go.

Popular mobile phone companies in the UK

Most networks will cover the majority of the UK. You can check the network coverage in your area by visiting any of the above providers websites.

Which documents will I need to set up a mobile phone contract?

To set up a mobile phone contract, most network providers will ask you for your:

  • UK bank account details
  • x2 proof of address which show your full name and UK address (i.e. bank letters/utility bills)
  • A proof of identification

Tips to getting a good deal

To help you secure the best deal for your requirements, here are some tips:

  • Get more than one contract quote and compare the available deals that each service provider offers.
  • Purchasing both broadband and a mobile contract together, from the same provider, may get you a better deal than paying for both separately.
  • The mobile phone provider may offer you phone insurance. ‘Tech insurance’ can often be purchased through your bank (for example) and may be cheaper.
  • If you’ll be using your phone to make international calls (excluding Skype, WhatsApp, BOTIM, IMO etc) then you should confirm how much international calls are per minute with that provider; international calls are usually charged on top of any minutes which are included in your monthly plan, so this be costly if you aren’t aware.

If you’re interested in working in the UK and would like to discuss the positions available in your specialty, and how we can assist you, please contact our team.