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Review: BNESIM eSIM and our experience in the UK

Published on by Frank in Provider Reviews. Last updated on .

We recently went back to the United Kingdom, and took esims.AI Verified Partner BNESIM for a spin using their BNESIM Surf 3GB/month eSIM. BNESIM (BNE stands for Best Network Ever) is a Hong Kong-based eSIM and mobile data provider, and offers a massive 2,600+ different eSIMs for every possible occasion. BNESIM is a winner of the World's Best Travel SIM Provider 2023 award from the World Travel Tech Awards, so let's see if they live up to the hype in this BNESIM review.


BNESIM Surf 3GB/month in United Kingdom eSIM

3 GB

Valid for 30 daysSubscription

Discount couponCoverted Price

BNESIM Features

BNESIM has a lot of different types of eSIM products, almost 2,700 by our last count - the most of any provider on our platform. They offer numerous features on their data packages, including:

  • Monthly Subscriptions - this can be handy when you are staying longer than most eSIM plans last for. They also offer eSIMs without subscriptions, and you can cancel subscriptions at any time before they renew.
  • Smart Top Ups - you can automatically add additional data to your eSIM when it drops below a particular threshold.
  • Lifetime Data plans - some BNESIM eSIM products offer non-expiring eSIM data, which we like. We have not tried this out yet, but it is definitely an interesting concept for people with low data needs.
  • Wi-Fi Hotspot (tethering) - this may be important to you if you need to tether a laptop.

Purchase & Activation

Purchasing the BNESIM Surf 3GB/month eSIM was a pretty straight forward experience, and took around 5 minutes. I purchased the eSIM before we departed at the airport, so that I would have data ready to go when we landed in the UK. The currency was automatically converted by BNESIM into my local currency, and I checked out using my laptop browser. Don't forget to enter the BNESIM coupon code ESIMITY15 on the checkout to save 15% on your purchase.

After payment was complete, an email confirmation was received in a few moments, with instructions on how to install. BNESIM does offer a mobile app, but I opted to not install another app, and to install the eSIM by scanning the QR Code with my iPhone camera. The installation and activation process worked as expected, and I was able to successfully install the eSIM by simply scanning the QR code off the laptop screen, and it activated itself within a couple of minutes.

BNESIM Product Selection and CouponBNESIM Welcome Email

BNESIM has a useful website which gives you a wealth of information and control over your eSIM profiles. In my case, I could see my currently active eSIMs, along with options to purchase additional data for my destination, or to even activate the installed eSIM in another country. As you can see below, the BNESIM system is smart enough to detect that I am in Canada after activation, and display the amount of data I have available in Canada. They also texted me with a link to add data, making it very easy to add data packages to your existing eSIM when you arrive in other countries. In this case, I have no Canadian data as I purchased a UK data plan, and I am not planning to add a Canada data package, although I have the option to add data for any country to my BNESIM eSIM.

In addition, the BNESIM website allows you to easily see how much data you have left, allows automatic top-up on your data plan so you never run out of data, and allows you to easily manage your subscription. BNESIM is great because it allows you to cancel a subscription plan at any time after purchase, simply by logging on to their website.

Subscription DetailsData Dashboard


Now let's take a look at the performance results of the BNESIM Surf 3GB/month eSIM.

Before we jump in, a quick reminder on eSIM performance. Generally, your eSIM performance will depend on two main factors:

  1. The Mobile Network Operator (MNO) you are roaming on while in the country, as their network mainly dictates performance.
  2. The other important factor is the gateway through which your internet traffic is routed, which is provided to you via the APN settings that comes with the eSIM.

Interestingly, our BNESIM eSIM was using the same mix of gateways as the Maya Mobile Europe eSIM we tested earlier in 2023, specifically OVH SAS in the UK and Equinix in the Netherlands. Indeed, I found that my BNESIM eSIM routed my internet traffic via the UK or the Netherlands while roaming in the UK. What is great to see here is the BNESIM Surf 3GB/month eSIM provides gateways in countries with fast internet connections in Europe, which is what you want when travelling in Europe. What you don't really want is to route your internet connection around the world, such as the 3 Hong Kong eSIM does.

On their website, BNESIM claims coverage on O2, EE and 3 UK, and these 3 networks all provided connectivity - Vodafone UK was the exception, and did not provide any service (April 2024 update: the BNESIM website does now list Vodafone as an MNO partner in the UK). Unfortunately, BNESIM is one of those companies that displays their own branding in place of the Network name, at least on iPhones, making it impossible to see what MNO you are connected to unless you manually select a Mobile Network in the network settings of your phone. There is no promise of 5G service from BNESIM, and indeed we were only ever able to get a 4G/LTE signal in the UK in 10 days of testing.

Speed Test Results

In the United Kingdom, our results were average (perhaps we are spoiled in Canada?) and comparable to our Maya Mobile experience, and depended on the network we were connected to. We conducted all speed tests on an iPhone 14 Pro on Southwark Bridge in central London, with a full strength signal.

NetworkSpeedtest Results (Down/Up/Ping)
3 UK LTE19.7 Mbps / 2.74 Mbps / 96 ms
O2 LTE45.1 Mbps / 21.0 Mbps / 64 ms
EE LTE20.8 Mbps / 39.8 Mbps / 216 ms

We are somewhat disappointed with 3 UK (again), O2 provided the best speed in this test, and the EE speedtest was average and did have a notably high ping. Our general experience using the BNESIM Surf 3GB/month eSIM in the UK was that the speeds are very acceptable, and the experience generally great. We successfully managed to make FaceTime video calls using the eSIM without any issues.

3UK LTE SpeedtestO2 UK LTE SpeedtestEE UK LTE Speedtest

Pros & Cons


There are a bunch of things we liked about our BNESIM Surf 3GB/month UK eSIM - and BNESIM in general.

  • Easy purchase and activation process without using an app (although there is an App option)
  • Good value for money in the 3GB UK eSIM category (see below)
  • You can cancel the auto-renewing subscription plans at any time before renewal - which makes the auto-renewal plan always a better option than a one-time plan (unless you are forgetful!)
  • Good control over my eSIM account - I could see what data packs I had purchased for my eSIM, and can easily control them.
  • A solid and reliable connection for the vast majority of the trip


  • We did not like how the mobile network name was always set to display "bne" (see speedtest results), as we could not easily see what network we were connected to. However, BNESIM are not the only company to do this.
  • The online account seems to be linked to the eSIM profile, so if you delete the eSIM, you no longer have access and need to start again from scratch. We tried to log back in to the BNESIM website much later, and an OTP was being sent to the deleted eSIM.

Value for Money

Updated for April 2024: The BNESIM Surf 3GB/month UK eSIM is actually one of the best value for money eSIM options in this particular data capacity range, after applying discount coupons.


BNESIM Surf 3GB/month in United Kingdom eSIM

3 GB

Valid for 30 daysSubscription

Discount couponCoverted Price

Other options in the 3GB category are the slightly cheaper eSIM4Travel option, which also gives you 3GB for 30 days and has a 10% off coupon, making it marginally cheaper. There is also an option from ESIMPLUS, also based out of Hong Kong, which comes in slightly more expensive but does cover Europe.


eSIM4Travel Europe 32 - 3GB/30Days

3 GB

Valid for 30 days

Covers 31 countries

Discount coupon

ESIMPLUS France | 15 / 4G/5G / 3GB

3 GB

Valid for 15 days

Covers 44 countries

Discount couponCoverted Price

Lastly, there is also a 3GB option from Maya Mobile, but this is only valid for 5 days.

Maya Mobile

Maya Mobile UK 3GB - 5 Days eSIM

3 GB

Valid for 5 days


There are lots of options to choose from if you need an eSIM for the United Kingdom, and interestingly, we found that UK-only eSIM options are not necessarily the best-value options, and you may get better bang for your buck with a Europe eSIM. Therefore, do not assume that a country-specific eSIM is the best value for money option. Fortunately, esims.AI lists both regional and country-specific eSIMs on each country page, so you can compare them all at once for your destination.


We liked the BNESIM Surf 3GB/month eSIM and we can recommend this as a solid option for travellers. The pricing is very competitive, especially when using the code ESIMITY15 to get 15% off the price, making it one of the best value options. The eSIM was easy to install via the simple QR-code installation process, although there is also an app available. There were a good selection of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to roam on, and speeds were decent.


BNESIM Surf 3GB/month in United Kingdom eSIM

3 GB

Valid for 30 daysSubscription

Discount couponCoverted Price

As we said at the beginning, BNESIM offers a massive 2,600+ different eSIMs for every possible destination or trip type, so give them a try on your next trip!