UK Local Sim Vs Roaming Sim

People always struggle when deciding which kinds of SIM card to use whilst travelling. Should you use your own SIM card and pay the roaming fee or buy a local SIM at the destination?

When you travel to the UK and buy a SIM card there, you will use the local rate. That’s what we call a “Local SIM”. The average price for data usage is €0.028/MB and €0.62/Min for a local call. Normally, the local rate should be better than roaming rate as the telecom providers provide the services to customers directly. What’s the difference? Let’s see.

Roaming in the UK

Different countries and suppliers will charge you at their own rate. And there a is huge difference between what they will charge you, versus what a local provider will charge you. Below is a summary of the roaming prices for  Asia, Africa, South America, North America and Oceania.

If you come from Asia, you will get the cheapest roaming rate. It is only cost you €0.13/MB for mobile data and €0.62/Min for a call (in UK to the UK). The second lowest region is Africa; it will cost you €0.16/MB of mobile data and €0.16/Min for a call (in UK to the UK). And the roaming price for Oceania SIM plans to the UK is 1MB mobile data or 1 minutes UK to the UK call for €0.33.

Unfortunately, if you are using a South America SIM plan and roaming in the UK, the price is much more expensive. The roaming data will cost you €8.89/MB and €1.21/Min for a call (in UK to the UK). It is 316% higher than using a local SIM for using mobile data.

But, this is not the most expensive. The roaming charge from a North America SIM plan to the UK is even higher. It is €12.77/MB and €1.27/Min for a call (in UK to the UK). For mobile data, it is 445% higher than using a local SIM. Can you imagine how terrifying it will be when you receive your phone bill after you return to your home country?

So why people are still using roaming?

Local SIM vs Roaming SIM


Local SIM

Roaming SIM

Phone number

New number

Own number

Number of countries


More than one

Easy to get a SIM?

Spend time to find a shop in an unfamiliar environment

No additional work, use own SIM


Depends on one network provider

Some of the roaming SIMs can connect with more than one network provider


Normally is cheaper

Sometimes low but sometimes EXTREMELY high


Why not go online to buy a local Sim card before you travel?

SIM Local ( provides a wide range of local SIM cards. You can choose a sim card based on your needs – text, data and call due to the “Roam like home” regulations within the EU. *You can use your texts, data and calls within all EU countries. If you are not sure which SIM is most suitable for you, contact our team via email, Facebook or Twitter. They will give you valuable advice.

Once you choose a product on our online shop, check-out with your credit card or PayPal and confirm your delivery address. The product can be delivered to your home address before your trip. Or alternatively, place the order online and pick up at our Heathrow shops

Our shops are located at Heathrow Airport T2, T3 and T5. Visit this link for their locations:

So, when you are planning your next trip, you might compare the prices and other points above to decide which type of SIM card will best suit you

*Prices are based in Vodafone UK, Vodacom, T-mobile, Tim, China Mobile and Virgin Mobile in 2017.

*Individual terms and conditions are applied to telecom suppliers.


Silvia Yan
Silvia Yan


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