Many travelers compare Internet access to electricity, hot water and air. After all, when you are away from your work and family, staying connected becomes essential. Generally, if you want access to the Internet in the UK, you can either search for public WiFi hotspots, roam with your mobile provider from home, or buy a mobile data SIM card. Picking out just the right solution can be challenging, that's why we decided to point out pros and cons of all popular alternatives. Ultimately getting a reliable global prepaid data SIM card is the best option in most cases.
With over 5 million WiFi hotspots in the UK, it should not be difficult to find a café that offers Internet access for free to paying customers. However, you must be aware of several safety points when considering free WiFi:
You can always pay for WiFi internet connection in your hotel but in nine out of ten cases you will be charged rather high amounts for subpar Internet access.
Pros: it's free and easy to locate in big cities.
Cons: Will most likely require you to register and provide administrative permission; might be pretty pricey in hotels; might be harmful to unprotected devices - you never know who's tapping into the network you're connected to.
It's no secret that majority of cellular providers charge a lot for roaming (when you use your standard SIM card outside of your home carrier's network). Several providers offer prepaid solutions of some sorts, but in most cases you'll have to pay huge roaming fees if you exceed you data allowance (always read the small print). Verizon, for instance, charges as much as $25 for 100MB when you go over your monthly data cap. Other providers only offer post-paid solutions , but, then again, it's hard to monitor your data usage and you may end up with unexpected expenses.
Cons: Pricey plan; ridiculous overage fees; no prepaid option; hard to monitor your data usage.
A mobile data SIM-card is a standard SIM that you can use with your unlocked phone; With this SIM you won't be able to make regular voice calls or have a phone number of your own but this inconvenience can be easily eliminated with mobile apps that use VOIP protocol (Skype, FaceTime and Google Voice). VoIP calls are always significantly cheaper than regular calls and they work just as good. If you buy a data card that's compatible with one of the UK mobile networks, you can put it into your mobile device, make calls, and use the Internet with ease while travelling in the UK.
If you decided you are better off with a mobile data SIM, keep in mind that you can choose between buying a data SIM from of the local UK providers such as EE, O2, Vodafone, 3 or getting a global data SIM with larger coverage and longer data validity.
Local SIM-cards are fairly priced, and they are a decent option if saving money is your main priority. However,there are quite a few downsides to local SIM-cards. First of all, a local SIM is not the best choice if you need connection right after you land, because you'll have to purchase it first. That will require you to show your passport and register the SIM, and, in some cases, you'll even need a "tax code". Since you're not a local, and you don't have a UK tax code, you'll have to generate one online.
Furthermore, you must keep in mind that local cards are limited to one country and nowadays, when most of Europe is border-free, buying a single-country SIM-card and thus limiting yourself isn't really a very good idea. If you ever decide to take a short trip outside of the UK, you'll have to buy a separate data SIM card for every country you visit, which means more hassle for you, not to mention additional expenses. Eventually when your trip is over, you will end up with a bunch of half-used SIM cards that well expire after about 30 days.
Pros: A lower cost; also got pre-paid options.
Cons: It takes time to purchase a local data SIM and the process may be quite frustrating; some providers require you to register; no way to test in advance; limited coverage; short validity period
If what you need is a hassle-free option with affordable price, consider getting a global data SIM. You can order it in advance; absolutely free shipping to your home or office; plus, you'll be able to get a connection the moment you arrive at your destination (we can also deliver our SIM-card to the hotel room you booked in UK). The card is loaded with 1GB of data, which is valid for a full year, can be easily used on all your new trips, and you don't need to have a degree in science to use it. Better yet, our card works with all unlocked gadgets and covers UK and 64 of the most popular travel destinations across the globe, so you can use it anywhere - on a single trip, as well as on a multi-country trip. With this card you can touchdown in London and have an exciting day-long trip to Vienna or Zurich without the need to buy new SIM cards and swap them all the time - Keepgo got you covered.
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Buy our global SIM-card before your trip to UK; you can even test it at home; put it into your favorite gadget and have a solid connection from the moment you land in the UK. In case you deplete your data balance can easily refill it online. By the way, every refill you pay for will extend your data validity for one year which means that you will have plenty of time to use every megabyte you paid for. Got questions? Our English-speaking customer support team is at your disposal 24/7. If you are not happy with the product, which is highly unlikely, we will issue you a full refund for the data you did not use.
Pros: good prices; multi-regional coverage; one year data validity; easy online refills; you can test it at home; free ground shipping ; compatible with all unlocked devices (plus, we also have a solution for all other devices).