For the next 3 years, my grandmother will be travelling at least 4 times intermittently to England, each time for 1 or 2 weeks. As she rarely telephones and will use only a mobile telephone there for emergencies, it is cheapest and wisest for her to buy a pay-as-you-go (PASYG henceforward) SIM that never expires the credit.

The difficulty: Giffgaff and Lycamobile expires PAYSG credit only after one month, and thus would waste her money. Thus please see the titled question.

  • 2
    What country does she live in, and what mobile phone service does she have now? – Michael Hampton Sep 25 '16 at 1:07
  • Freedompop might also be an option - it has a free tier SIM which is pay-as-you-go beyond that and doesn't expire AFAIK. Although I have a Freedompop SIM, I've never actually used it other than a bit of testing so I'm not certain (although I do know I've never paid anything for it!) – Luke Briggs Sep 25 '16 at 21:25
  • 1
    @LukeBriggs Thanks. I ordered Freedompop. What about posting your comment as an answer? – Tamara Milanovic Sep 26 '16 at 17:51
  • No problem! I was a little weary of posting it as an answer as I wasn't completely sure of the details, but after a little more checking it did seem to be suitable. – Luke Briggs Sep 26 '16 at 19:58

For Giffgaff, regular top up credit does not expire. It lasts indefinitely, so long as your account is active.

To keep the account active, you do have to use the phone occasionally. ie make at least one phone call, or send a text, every 6 months. Giffgaff can email you monthly statements, so you could check when it was last used. You could use roaming to make a phone call while abroad, that should keep the account active, and only cost a few pence.

The Giffgaff "Goodybags" (a bundle of minutes, text or data) do expire after a month. But you don't have to buy these, you can just pay the regular PAYG rates for any usage. This would be the cheapest option if you're only making a few calls.


Freedompop is a relatively new option here in the UK which seems to be very suitable in this case. It has a free tier so for light use like this it doesn't cost anything. Beyond light use, it's pay-as-you-go with some of the cheapest PAYG rates available at this point in time.

I currently have a Freedompop SIM - I don't use it very much (mainly because they don't presently support transferring a UK phone number, although I believe that's coming in the near future and isn't an issue in this case anyway) so at this point it hasn't cost me anything. All the best to your Grandmother!


Three UK PAYG top up credit doesn't expire even after fairly lengthy periods of account inactivity. I've had an account since 2006 and have gone as long as a year without using it.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.