How to set up a local SIM card in the Isle of Man

Buy a local SIM card to reduce your roaming rates.

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The Isle of Man is a popular tourist destination for people traveling around Great Britain. Using your phone there can be expensive, so to keep costs down why not switch to a local SIM card to take advantage of better plans, deals and tariffs. The Isle of Man has prepaid SIM cards available for tourists, with prices as low as IMP5 (£4.85) for calls and data. So, whether you’re planning a quick break, an extended trip or an island hop, check out the best SIM card offers available on finder.com/uk.

Prices last updated 4 Sep 2017

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    Telco providers in the Isle of Man

    There are two main phone operators on the island: Manx Telecom and Sure Telecom. Both operators have been tried and tested by both locals and international visitors, and can be trusted. Although the island uses the same +44 international code as the UK, please be aware that they are run on different platforms and roaming rates will be charged. According to OpenSignal’s country coverage map, the Isle of Man’s signal is above average in the more urban areas and along the shore, but may suffer in some regions.

    About Isle of Man’s telecommunications

    Both operators offer prepaid SIM cards and you can buy them from stores, supermarkets, kiosks, drug stores and official stores, as well as at the ports and airport. 2G, 3G and 4G plans are available for unlocked GSM phones. You can buy a SIM card by showing your passport, and your telephone number is already active when you purchase it. To add credit, there are several prepaid card kiosks around the island, and vouchers are stocked in shops and supermarkets.

    Below, we have broken down each telco provider to highlight exactly what they can offer you during your stay in the Isle of Man.

    Manx Telecom

    Manx is the larger of the two providers and offers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased from official stores and approved resellers, and credit can also be picked up from the same retail outlets. Your passport must be shown to the retailer before the SIM card is activated. SIM cards can be picked up for IMP5, and come with that amount of credit. Credit can be purchased in the form of credit vouchers which can be found in most stores across the island, or by using your credit card online. Top-ups can be added in IMP5, IMP10 and IMP20. Manx offers customers “Go Chat” or “Go Surf” packages which offer exactly what they suggest.

    The standard default data rate is charged at IMP0.50 per MB. The following data packs can also be added. These SIMs come with the same amount of credit as the purchase price:

    IMP5100 minutes2GB15 days
    IMP10200 minutes5GB15 days
    IMP201,000 minutes20GB30 days

    Please note that this SIM card is not subject to EU roaming caps.

    Manx Telecom’s APN: internet, website: http://www.manxtelecom.com/

    Sure Telecom

    Sure Telecom is the only other provider and offers 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE services. Prepaid “Pay-as-you-go” SIM cards can be picked up from official stores and approved resellers and credit can also be purchased from the same retail outlets. Your passport must be shown before the SIM card can be activated. SIM cards can be bought for IMP5, and come with the same amount of credit. Credit can be purchased in the form of credit vouchers or by using your credit card online. Top-ups can be added for IMP5, IMP10 and IMP20.

    The standard default data rate is charged at IMP0.05 per MB on the Classic plan and IMP0.20 per MB on the Rewards plan. The Classic plan will always remain on the basic standard default rate, the following packs can be added to the Reward plan SIM card. These SIMs come with the same amount of credit as the purchase price:

    IMP5100 minutes100 SMS2GB7 days
    IMP10250 minutes250 SMS5GB14 days
    IMP205,000 minutes5000 SMS20GB30 days

    There is also a pay-as-you-go Mobile Broadband data SIM card available. For IMP1 per day you will receive 500MB data. To add more credit, it’s IMP1 per 500MB.

    Sure’s APN: internet, website: http://web.sure.com/isleofman

    Some top tips from finder.com staff:

    • Locals call a SIM card a “Chip” or “SIM”.
    • English is the main language on the Isle of Man.
    • Ask the retailers to help set-up the SIM card for you. They are official sellers and will know what to do.
    • There are limited stores on the island, so get out early to receive the best help.

    TripAdvisor tips for the best SIM cards and where to buy them

    TripAdvisor reviews can help guide you through what SIM cards have been tried and tested in Isle of Man. Here are some top tips from TripAdvisor users:

    “I’d probably just get a PAYG SIM card from Sure or Manx Telecom for a couple of days – easy to get when on the island.”

    “I found out that the smaller Tescos do not carry the nano type SIM cards that are used in iPhone 5 and newer devices, though they all had the full size and micro.”

    Pros and cons of the Isle of Man’s telco providers

    You will need a SIM-unlocked, GSM-compatible international phone. To double check you have this option, or whether it’s possible to unlock your device, contact your provider before you set off on your travels.

    Pros:

    • Prepaid credit when required
    • No in-store contract needed
    • Could be compatible with your current phone

    Cons:

    • No phone devices offered with the SIM card packages
    • Can only be used on SIM-unlocked GSM phones
    • Roaming can be expensive
    • Network coverage can suffer in some parts
    • There are limited stores on the Isle of Man

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