Guides

What is an eSim card?

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Last update: March 27, 2024
Roams UK
Author: Roams UK

An eSim is an embedded sim card. It is a small chip embedded in your phone, which eliminates the need for a physical sim card that can be put in and taken out of your phone. You can swap operators with a phone call (as long as they support eSims) and you can add them to any data plan. Let’s learn all about what eSims can offer us!

How does an eSim work?

Interestingly, an eSim works the same way that a regular sim card does.

The only difference really is that the eSim is soldered directly onto a circuit board during production of the product, making it a fully integrated component. You will probably never see or have to deal with the eSim in your phone’s lifetime, physically that is.

The big attraction of eSIMs is that they can be configured using the device itself, or setup remotely. This means that they have huge benefits when it comes to roaming. Currently, roaming can be very expensive when people are using their mobile phones in multiple different countries. Roaming is expensive because your SIM is tied to one provider, and the agreements that they have made with other network providers in other countries. With an eSim, you can adapt and change networks easily with no hidden roaming charges.


How do I get an eSim?

In the UK, EE, O2, Truphone, Ubigi, Three and Vodafone support eSIM. Three doesn't currently support eSIM. O2 recently launched eSIM on compatible Apple and Pixel phones. Since products come with a built in eSim, simply choose the Apple watch or phone that you want and ask that it be an eSim powered device in store


How to activate an eSim

Most mobile devices and networks have a similar procedure for activating an eSim. Before beginning, make sure you are connected to wifi and you have your QR code sent from your network ready to go.

For Android:

  1. Go to Settings→ Mobile Network→ Operator
  2. Select ‘Add Operator’
  3. Use your camera to scan your QR code.
  4. Your eSim is downloaded and activated, congrats!

For iOS:

  1. Go to Settings > Mobile Data
  2. Select Add Data Plan
  3. Use your camera to scan the QR code
  4. Your eSIM will be downloaded and activated

Can you delete an eSim?

Yes, you can delete an eSim. You cannot reinstall the same eSim on a device once you have deleted it.

To temporarily disable your eSim, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings on your device
  2. Go to Mobile data
  3. You should see the option to “Turn on/off this line.” This disables the eSIM temporarily. You can re-enable or reuse this eSIM at a later time. Do note that the eSIM validity cannot be paused, so your eSIM will still expire after its validity period.

To delete an eSIM:

  1. Go to Settings on your device
  2. Go to Mobile data
  3. Tap on your eSIM
  4. Select Remove Mobile Data Plan
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Laura Burón
Edited and revised por Laura Burón