Mobile phones

Getting a UK mobile number quickly is critical to staying in touch when away from Wifi and for navigating when away from home. Ukrainian numbers will generally work on WiFi but not when away from Wifi. A UK number will give connection while away from WiFi.

Most smartphones have a slot for a physical SIM card and also have a built-in eSIM. The Ukrainian number will be on the physical SIM card in the phone already. If you ask the phone company to install the UK number on the eSIM, then both the UK and Ukrainian numbers will work on the same phone. This has the advantage of keeping the same number for all existing contacts, whatsapp etc., while also providing a UK number to use on the UK mobile network. Then when not connected to WiFi, the Ukrainian number will not work, but the UK number kicks in. (It sounds more complex than it is – in practice it works very smoothly).

iPhones have this built in eSIM.

A list of Android phones with an eSim can be found here: support-ubigi-esim-android/

There are a whole variety of offers on phone options. On the whole, adding a phone to a host’s existing account seems the easiest way ahead.

Amongst the offers are:


Vodafone has free SIMs on offer, but these are only available through a limited number of charity organisations welcome-refugees-from-ukraine-to-get-in-touch/


Three is rolling out a connectivity support package for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK. Any incoming refugees from the country will be able to visit any of Three’s 311 UK stores to get a free 30-day Pay As You Go SIM card preloaded with unlimited domestic calls and texts, as well as unlimited data for use within the UK.