In this era of modern technology, mobile phones have helped us to remain connected. Besides being connected, these devices normally help us browse the internet and even navigate places, thanks to vital apps such as Google Maps. For this to happen, your phone needs to have a SIM card. If you are fond of travelling, you need to look for local SIM cards as your original SIM card might not work optimally in your foreign country.
Here, you might face a few challenges as you have to swap these cards and even understand their languages as they come with different languages. To avert all this hassle, you should consider looking for an eSIM card. eSIM basically stands from embedded Subscriber Identity Module. This article will demystify what this SIM card is and other things that you should know about it.
Difference Between General SIM and eSIM Card
A SIM card and an eSIM vary in a number of ways. To start with, the SIM cards are normally plastic in nature and can be inserted in a device and removed at will. In most cases, you have to understand the language and all the technical issues that come with a particular SIM card for you to enjoy cellular services on your device.
Also, these SIM cards are very particular depending on the country of origin. As such, they might only work in a particular country and not in any other country. Generally, you have to keep swapping SIM cards if you are fond of travelling from one country to another.
However, the eSIM card is normally different. Although it acts as a traditional SIM card, it’s normally embedded in a device such as a mobile phone. Therefore, you will not have the liberty to remove it like you would if you had a traditional SIM card discussed above.
If your device has an eSIM, you will be able to use it once it is turned on and activated on a network. Generally, you do not have to look for a store where you can buy a SIM card in order to enjoy cellular services on your device or better still, fumble around with the SIM slot.
How Does eSIM Work?
Also known as an Embedded Subscriber Identity Module or Embedded SIM is a SIM technology that is built right into your phone. It is actually a small chip that is used to authenticate your identity with your carrier of choice. This SIM is basically soldered directly to the motherboard of the smartphone or smart devices such that users cannot directly interact with it. It is actually a fully integrated component. However, it comes with remote provisioning facilities and therefore, the entire process of activating and managing the ESIM compatible devices becomes more convenient.
To connect this SIM is not as difficult as you might think. All you need to do is scan a QR code generated by the operator or better still, manually enter the SM-DP+ (Subscription Manger Data Preparation server address and activation code. All these parameters are provided by the service provider.
It is at the above-mentioned server that the subscriber profile will be generated and then the Local Profile Assistant (LPA) program on the device will request the relevant profile and then load it into the embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card (eUICC).
The eUICC is basically a microchip in which this profile is subsequently stored in an encrypted form. Besides this, it is used for network authorization. Apart from this, it can host several SIM profiles at the same time. This way, you can readily switch between virtual SIM cards the way you please.
Advantages of eSIM Card
There are many advantages that come with an eSIM card. They include:
1. They are more reliable
If you are using the normal plastic SIM cards, chances are high that you might lose them at one time or another. These SIM cards can easily get damaged or wear out unawares. To avert this, you should consider getting eSIM card. This card is more reliable as it not prone to getting lost or damaged. All this is possible since it is integrated into your mobile device.
2. Remote provisioning
If you have used eSIM cards in the past, it is no secret that the experience is wholesomely good. For instance, if you are using the Google Pixel 3, it will be activated instantly. In addition, the networks that are supporting the eSIM are on the rise. Generally, eSIM is future proofed.
3. Goodbye to the SIM extractors
Thousands of smart phones normally come with a SIM extractor. This tool normally helps to eject the SIM tray so that you can swap SIM cards. At some point, these SIM extractors normally get lost and can be very inconveniencing if you want to swap SIM cards. However, with eSIM, this will no longer be an issue. In fact, you will not need to keep on swapping SIM cards from time to time, thereby making eSIM more convenient for you.
4. Allows you to temporary change to another network
You will note that up to 5 virtual SIM cards can be stored on one eSIM at a time. Therefore, you can readily switch between different networks in case you find yourself in an area without a signal for your usual network. This becomes more practical whenever you are travelling. There will be no need to insert a local SIM as the eSIM is there to allow you enjoy this convenience.
5. Allows you to have more than one SIM
The other advantage of eSIM is that they offer the same advantage as dual-SIM phones with two slots for the traditional plastic SIM cards. Therefore, you can have two phone numbers on one device. Therefore, you will be able to use one number for personal use and the other one for other activities such as business.
This actually eliminates the need to carry two phones each having a SIM card of its own. With this kind of SIM arrangement, you can readily choose the SIM which you will be using to make calls, connect to the internet or even send text messages.
6. Less physical space on the phone
Since eSIMs negate the need for a physical space for a SIM card and its tray on a mobile phone, manufacturers can now use this apace to increase the phone’s batter size or better still improve other features that come with the phone.
In addition, fewer holes in a handset mean that your phone will be free from moisture and dust. Therefore, it will be less prone to breakdowns which might be expensive to repair.
7. Better design
Most people now prefer smaller devices such as smart wrist watches. If your smart wrist watch has eSIM, you can be sure that it will not be as enormous as it would have been if it used the traditional SIM cards. Good examples of wrist watches that are smaller in design include the Apple Watch Series 4 and Series 5.
Disadvantages of eSIM Card
1. You can remove an eSIM from a device
Assuming you are being tracked and you want to hide your whereabouts, it might be difficult for you if your phone is eSIM enabled. This is because the eSIM is fully integrated in the device and you cannot interfere with it whatsoever.
2. It is difficult to transfer your credentials into a different device
In case your phone breaks down and you want to transfer your credentials to another phone, the whole process of data transfer becomes easier when using traditional SIM cards. However, with eSIMs, it becomes hard to transfer data which might result to hr user only relying on the cloud to store vital details such as messages, contacts and other credentials.
What Devices Support eSIM?
Some of the devices that support eSIM include the following:
- The Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL
- Samsung Galaxy Z flip, S20,S20+ and s20 Ultra
- Motorola Razr 2019
- Apple Watch Series 3,4 and 5
- Samsung Gear S2 and Gear S3 smart watches
- The iPhone XS,XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 12,iPhone 12 Mini, iPad Pro and next iPhone 13 series .
- Huawei PS40,P40 Pro
- Nuu Mobile X5
- myPhone Hammer Blade 3 and myPhone Hammer Explorer Pro
- PDA Gemini
- Surface Duo
What Networks Support eSIM?
In the United States, there are only 3 carriers that support eSIM. They include:
- Verizon Wireless
How to Setup an eSIM Card
The process of setting up an eSIM card is generally easy and straightforward. However, it is important to note that you can do this in 4 main ways. They include:
- Scanning a QR code
- Using a carrier app
- Install an assigned plan
- Enter the information manually
1. Scan a QR code
Here, you should open the camera app and scan your QR code. As you do this, you should ensure that you have connected your device to Wi-Fi. Go to Settings and then Connections section. Choose ‘SIM card manager’ and then click the +button for Add Mobile Plan under eSIMs. Select Add using QR code. Once you have scanned the QR code, your eSIM profile will be downloaded and thereafter, you will be asked to activate your new SIM
2. Use a carrier app
If you choose this option, you should go to the App store and download your carrier’s app. Your carrier of choice will depend on where you live. If you live in the U.S, you can look for Verizon app or AT&T app from the app store. Thereafter, download the app and then use the app to buy a cellular plan.
You will then have to add the Data Plan to your phone’s settings. In addition, you have to label your plans by going to Settings and then the Cellular option. Tap the number whose label you intend to change. Thereafter, tap Cellular Plan Label and then choose a new label or better still, enter a custom label.
3. Install an assigned cellular plan
There are some carriers that assign a cellular plan for you install. For optimal results, you should contact your carrier for more information. If a plan has been assigned to you, here are the steps that you should follow:
- Once a notification appears that says Carrier Cellular Plan Ready to Be Installed, tap it.
- Thereafter tap continue at the bottom of the screen. This way, you will be able to active your eSIM card.
4. Enter the information manually
If the above-mentioned steps do not work well for you, you can consider entering the plan information manually. To do this, you should go to Setting and then tap either Cellular or Mobile Data. Thereafter, tap Add Cellular Plan and then tap Enter Details Manually. You will find this option at the bottom of your device.
eSIM Plans (USA & International)
The need to remain connected with your loved ones cannot be overemphasized. With an eSIM card fully integrated in your device, it will be easy for you reach out to those whom you love and even browse the internet. In fact, you will have the luxury of accessing hundreds of virtual SIMs from providers across the United States and by extension, across the world. The good news is that these carriers are only one download away and you will be good to go. Here are some of the eSIM plans that will not strain your budget.
If you are looking for a plan that will ensure that you get sufficient data without necessarily having to strain your budget, the above plan is the best option for you. You will realize that Airalo is a Singapore based eSIM provider. It is known to offer eSIM plans to hundreds of users out there.
When it comes to their website, app interface and the overall experience, you can trust that you will get true value for your money. Depending on your budget, there are several options that you can consider here. For instance, the USA Roam offers 3GB valid for 30 days and requires you pay $11.
There is also the USA Roam which comes with 5GB of data valid for 30 days. However, you will have to pay $16. Finally, there is the USA Roam which comes with 10GB of data valid for 30 days and requires you to pay $26.
The above-mentioned carrier is one of the main local US providers that offer prepaid eSIM plans mainly to tourists. For 10GB of data, you will have to pay $40. Although this might be expensive to some, you can be sure that you will enjoy the great T-Mobile network and T-Mobile app.
If you want to get online, you just need to download the T-Mobile eSIM app and then get your plan in an easy and straightforward way. If you are a heavy data user, you can consider choosing T-Mobile One Prepaid option where you will have unlimited data for 30 days. However, this comes at $70 per month.
3. Three Hong Kong
It is no secret that most people normally prefer unlimited data. While 10GB might be plenty to some, others might prefer more, depending on what they do with the internet on a daily basis. The good news is that Three Hong Kong now provides you with unlimited data. With a daily speed limitation after 500MB/day,you can trust that you will pay $18 per month. This plan has proved to be very effective for those who want to save more and enjoy more data throughout the day.
This is one of the most popular providers of global eSIM data plans. Founded in 2011, this is one of the most reliable cell phone service providers for travelers. It is even listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. This carrier covers more than 150 countries worldwide. When it comes to data plans, you will be able to enjoy 500MB for only $5 per month. However, if you choose to buy 1GB of global data, you will pay $27 and this offer is only valid for only 15 days.
SIMs vs eSIMs: Which is Right for You?
Compared to ordinary SIM cards, eSIMs are better off by far. To start with, you will not keep on removing SIM cards from your device anytime that you want to swap them. This actually reduces chances of SIM cards getting lost and the inconveniences that follow thereafter.
Also, eSIM cards ensure that you are not disconnected during transit. Better still, you will be able to switch plans the way you please. Finally, you can be able to store than one divide and are normally available for a wide range of technology such as the iPad and Samsung devices. Therefore, eSIM is the best option for you.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use one eSIM on iPhone?
Yes. You can now use eSIM on your iPhone and enjoy all the benefits that come with eSIMs. From having the freedom to switch carriers to reducing the inconveniences of having to carry multiple SIM cards, every now and then, there are many benefits of having an eSIM in your iPhone.
Does the eSIM work without internet?
Yes. Although you typically need to have a good internet connection when purchasing and downloading your profile, switching from any of the downloaded profiles does not require you to have any internet connection.
Is eSIM safe?
Yes. You will note that the eSIM basically offers the same level of security and protection that is provided by the removable SIM card. In fact, eSIMs can readily be programmed to request verification from an operator in case someone tries to change your profile. This element makes them more secure to use.
How long does an eSIM take to activate?
More often than not, activating an eSIM is always instant. Ideally, it should only take around 10 minutes or less to set up an eSIM.
Does eSIM drain battery?
Not really. Since it is soldiered on the phone motherboard, it may have an advantage compared to the removable carrier-provided physical SIM. Here, you will not experience battery drain normally caused by the poor contact between the physical SIM and the SIM slot. Better still, the progressive wear of the SIM electrical contacts will no longer be in existence if your phone uses an eSIM.
Compared to the removable carrier-provided physical SIM cards, eSIMs are better off by far. From reducing the inconveniences of having to swap SIM cards when travelling to allowing you to remain connected during transit, there are many advantages of having a device that uses eSIM. In fact, eSIM-compatible devices now allow you to store more than one eSIM on your device. Therefore, you will be able to purchase data plans such as the ones mentioned above ahead of time and simply activate them upon arrival. It is true to say that with an eSIM, you will always remain connected regardless of where you are.