To stay connected during your travels in the UK, a Three UK SIM card allows you to use mobile data to access maps, translate languages, and share your adventures on social media. This guide will help you to get connected with Three during your trip to the UK.

Three UK SIM Card and eSIM

I. Quick Facts about Three

Three UK SIM Card - Best Mobile Operators in UK
3 (Three)

Three is one of the four major mobile network operators in the UK alongside EE, O2, and Vodafone. Here are some key facts about Three UK:

  • Founded year: 2003
  • Service provided: Mobile network operator, provides 4G/5G mobile data and voice services
  • Number of subscribers: Over 10.3 million (as of 2023)
  • Number of stores/agents: Over 300 Three stores across the UK and Ireland, also available at major retailers like Carphone Warehouse
  • Customer support: Support via phone, online chat, social media channels
  • Awards: Won Uswitch Best Network Coverage and Customer Service Awards multiple times
  • Coverage: Claims to offer the fastest 5G in more places than any other UK network, covering over 112 UK towns and cities with 5G

II. Why Choose Three When Exploring the UK – Coverage and Speed

Three offers excellent network coverage and fast data speeds, making it a great choice for tourists exploring all corners of the UK.

2.1 Three Coverage in the UK

Three UK SIM Card - Coverage maps in UK
3 (Three) – Coverage maps in UK. Source:

Three UK boasts an extensive network coverage across the nation. The mobile operator claims to cover over 99% of the UK population with indoor 4G coverage, nearly matching the reach of the largest networks. This expansive 4G availability means Three subscribers can stay connected whether in major cities or smaller towns.

With near nationwide 4G coverage and growing 5G deployment, Three provides a high-quality network that keeps users connected virtually everywhere in the UK.

2.2 Three UK Speeds

Three UK SIM Card - Speed test by Ookla
Three – Speed test. Source: Ookla

Three is consistently improving the speeds available to its customers across its UK network. Independent network testing companies regularly monitor download and upload speeds on all of the major UK networks. Their reports show that while other carriers sometimes have faster peak speeds in major cities, Three offers median download speeds of around 34.5 Mbps nationwide. This means customers can benefit from robust 4G speeds whether in areas of high density population or more rural locations.

Such speeds allow users to easily stream HD video, share large files over messaging apps, and browse the web quickly. Three is also expanding its 5G rollout, with plans to bring ultrafast speeds to more and more locations throughout the UK.

III. Three UK Connectivity Options for Travelers

Three UK offers a variety of solutions to keep both consumers and businesses connected, you have three main options to connect to the Three network: Purchase a Three UK SIM card; Use a Three MiFi/Pocket WiFi device; Roam from your home network to Three UK. Here is an overview of the pros and cons of each option:

Connectivity OptionProsCons
Three SIM Card– Fast and direct connection
– Inexpensive rates
– Flexible prepaid plans
– Some setup required
– Need to pick up SIM
Three MiFi/Pocket WiFi– No SIM swap needed
– Battery powered hotspot
– Expensive to rent
– Limited range
– May need deposits
Roaming to Three UK– Use existing number
– Reliant on roaming agreement
– Very expensive rates

    Therefore, for tourists looking for an easy, cost-effective connectivity solution during their travels, a pay-as-you-go SIM card from Three UK is likely to be the most convenient and practical choice compared to roaming or WiFi hotspot rentals.

    IV. Best Three UK SIM Card for Tourists & Cost

    Three offers both Pay As You Go and pay monthly SIM plans for tourists visiting the UK. Below are some of the best options with pricing:

    DataGo RoamMinutes & TextsPrice
    75GBAt no extra costUnlimited£15
    UnlimitedAt no extra costUnlimited£35
    10GBAt no extra costUnlimited£10
    150GBAt no extra costUnlimited£20
    Unlimited for 3 monthsAt no extra costUnlimited£90 (save £15)

    Three UK offers several attractive pay-as-you-go SIM card plans to choose from that are very affordable for international travelers. The standout options include an entry-level 10GB plan for just $12.50 per month, which is a reasonable amount of data to stay connected during short trips. For heavy data users, the 75GB and 150GB plans at $17.50 and $20 per month respectively are also very competitively priced.

    V. Does Three Support eSIM in the UK?

    Yes, Three UK currently supports eSIM for certain devices running the compatible devices. Here are some benefits of using an eSIM. For tourists, this eSIM capability provides some clear advantages. It means they don’t need to track down a Three store or retailer to get a physical SIM before their trip. Activation can be done online from anywhere prior to traveling or upon arrival in the UK. eSIM also avoids having multiple nano-SIMs taking up space.

    There are many providers offering tourist eSIMs for Three, such as So if you want stress-free data access across the UK during your travels, is the easy choice – purchase an eSIM plan now and enjoy reliable connectivity through Three’s high-quality network.

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    VI. Where Can I Buy a Three UK SIM Card or eSIM?

    Buy Three UK SIM Card at Store
    Buy 3 SIM Card at Store

    Here are some options for buying a Three UK SIM card or eSIM:

    • Airport Pickup: You can find Three stores and kiosks at major UK airports such as Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester. Prices are similar to online but you can get set up on the spot.
    • Three Stores: Visit one of over 700 Three stores nationwide to buy a SIM. Have your passport ready for identification. Find a store here.
    • Other Retailers: You can also purchase Three SIMs at electronics stores like Carphone Warehouse or newsagents like WHSmith. Look for the official Three logo.

    6.2 Where to Buy a Three UK eSIM

    To purchase a Three eSIM for your trip to the UK, simply visit their website. There’s no need to go to a physical store. It’s super convenient to order your eSIM ahead of time and have connectivity right on arrival. No need to hunt around stores.

    Besides, online-only eSIM retailers like offer convenience for travel purchases. provides high-quality eSIM plans for travelers so you can have reliable cellular data without worrying about roaming fees or changing physical SIM cards. Their prepaid eSIM packages start at just $3.50 for 3 days of service and provide fast 4G LTE speeds on the largest networks in the UK.

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    VII. How to Activate a Three UK SIM Card/eSIM

    7.1 Activating a Three UK SIM Card

    Follow these steps when you insert your new Three SIM:

    1. Locate the SIM tray – Insert the SIM into the correct slot
    2. Power on your device – Allow 1-2 minutes for the SIM to be recognized
    3. Activate the SIM – Three SIMs come pre-activated so should work instantly
    4. Configure APN settings – Usually not required but refer to Three’s instructions
    5. Check your connectivity – Open the browser or use the internet to test

    You should now be ready to start using your Three SIM in the UK!

    7.2 Activating a Three UK eSIM

    Here is how to get started with your Three eSIM:

    1. Install eSIM – Scan QR code or download eSIM profile during activation
    2. Activate eSIM – Follow the on-screen prompts to finish activation
    3. Set up cellular plan – Go into Settings > Cellular to select your eSIM
    4. Start using – Once activated and set up, you can begin using the eSIM

    With a few quick steps, you’ll be ready to use your Three eSIM in the UK!

    VIII. Three UK Call & SMS Rates

    Three UK offers very competitive call and text rates for both domestic and international customers. If you purchase a Three SIM card with calling and messaging, here are the current PAYG rates:

    Call/SMS TypeRate
    Calls to standard UK landlines (starting 01, 02, 03)$0.04
    Calls to UK mobiles (any network)$0.04
    Calls to your Three voicemail$0.04
    UK Text messages$0.03
    UK Mobile data$0.01
    UK Picture messages$0.21
    UK Video message$0.21

    While Three charges slight premiums for multimedia messages, their standard voice and SMS rates are some of the lowest among major providers in the UK market. The basic pricing makes Three a cost-effective option both for residents as well as international travelers on a budget who want to stay in touch while visiting the UK.

    IX. FAQs about Three UK

    Is there a way to keep my existing number if switching to Three?

    Yes, Three offers a ‘Number Porting’ service which transfers an existing mobile number free of charge when switching networks. The process takes around an hour to complete once requested.

    Is 5G available on Three?

    Yes, Three is rapidly rolling out 5G with coverage in over 160 locations so far. A 5G device is required.

    Can I use a Three SIM across the UK?

    Yes, Three has excellent national coverage allowing you to use your SIM throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

    What countries can I use my Three UK SIM Card in for no extra charge?

    Three includes free roaming in many European countries. Roaming is available in over 70 destinations worldwide but a daily fee usually applies. Check Three’s website for details of which countries are covered

    How do I recharge a Three pay as you go SIM?

    You can recharge online via the Three website or Three App. Recharges can also be made by calling Three’s automated service or purchasing physical top-up vouchers from supermarkets and newsagents.

    X. Final Words

    In summary, Three UK SIM Card is an excellent choice for tourists thanks to their widespread coverage, sufficiently fast speeds, and competitive SIM pricing. For ultimate convenience, purchase an UK eSIM in advance online before your trip and enjoy seamless connectivity on landing. Happy exploring!