flame Compare Deals and save hundreds of pounds Sim Only Deals Phone Deals

Which networks offer eSIMs on Pay As You Go?

20th May 2024

ESIM on Pay As You Go

While eSIMs have been around for a long time, these embedded SIM cards still aren’t supported by all UK networks, and even fewer offer them on Pay As You Go.

That said, you do have some options if you want to get an eSIM on a Pay As You Go plan. We’ll cover them below, and if you’re not sure what an eSIM is – or why you might want one – check out our guide covering what is an eSIM and which networks/phones support eSIMs.

Note also that you need a phone that supports eSIMs in order to use one, but these are widely available, and the guide above details many of your options.

Which networks offer eSIMs on Pay As You Go?

At the time of writing, six networks officially offer eSIM on Pay As You Go. These include Three, VodafoneGiffgaff, iD MobileLyca Mobile, and Tesco Mobile.

Recommended eSIM PAYG deals

Vodafone SIM Card

20GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£10

Buy Now

Three SIM Card

15GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£10

Buy Now

Three SIM Card

100GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£13.50

Buy Now

We’ll talk those through in more detail under dedicated headings below, but note that while the following information is accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing, if in doubt you should check directly with the network you're interested in using an eSIM with.

Three

Three is one of only two of the four main UK networks to offer eSIMs on Pay As You Go at the time of writing, though the others do offer eSIMs on Pay Monthly plans.

In any case, you can’t request an eSIM while signing up for a Pay As You Go plan on Three, but once you’ve received a physical SIM card, you can call Three’s contact centre or visit a Three store to request an eSIM in its place.

You may soon be able to request an eSIM at checkout though, as there is a toggle for this, just oddly at the time of writing it’s greyed out.

View deals

Vodafone

Along with Three, Vodafone is the other major UK network that supports eSIMs on Pay As You Go plans.

It’s simple to get an eSIM on Vodafone too, because you can request one during checkout, then simply follow the instructions that Vodafone will email to you to activate it.

If you already have a physical SIM card on Vodafone, then just contact the network to switch to eSIM.

Giffgaff

With Giffgaff, you can get an eSIM straight away as a new customer by downloading the Giffgaff app, toggling the eSIM option on the dashboard, and then choosing a plan.

If you already have a physical SIM then you can switch by opening the Giffgaff app and heading to Account > SIM > Replace my SIM > Switch to a new eSIM, then simply follow the steps to install your new eSIM.

View deals

iD Mobile

iD Mobile also offers eSIMs on Pay As You Go, and it makes the process of getting one simple by allowing you to select an eSIM during the process of placing your order.

Then simply download the eSIM via the QR code that iD Mobile will email to you.

Lyca Mobile

Lyca Mobile also lets you use an eSIM with its Pay As You Go plans, and better yet you can request one when placing your order. Just tap the eSIM option during checkout.

You’ll then receive an email containing an eSIM QR code. Just point your phone’s camera at this, and follow the prompts to install it.

If you already have a physical SIM card with Lyca Mobile, then you can switch to an eSIM by heading to your Lyca Mobile online account, then SIM Management > SIM Swap > Swap Physical SIM to eSIM.

View deals

Tesco Mobile

Tesco Mobile’s site doesn’t make it clear whether eSIMs work with Pay As You Go or just Pay Monthly, but a customer service agent assured us that you can access them on Pay As You Go.

Getting one at checkout doesn’t appear to be an option online, but you can give Tesco Mobile a call or head in store to get one, or to switch to one if you already have a physical SIM card.

View deals

Editorial Manager

James has been writing for us for over 10 years. Currently, he is Editorial Manager for our group of companies ( 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk) and sub-editor at TechRadar. He specialises in smartphones, mobile networks/ technology, tablets, and wearables.

In the past, James has also written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media, Smart TV Radar, and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV. He has a film studies degree from the University of Kent, Canterbury, and has over a decade’s worth of professional writing experience.

Sign up for our newsletter.