What is an ESIM and where can I get one?

What is an ESIM and where can I get one?

An ESIM, or Embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that allows you to connect to a cellular network without the need for a physical SIM. This technology has gained popularity in recent years due to its convenience and flexibility, particularly in the mobile phone market. In this article, we will discuss what an ESIM is and where you can get one.

What is an ESIM?

A traditional SIM card contains data such as your phone number, carrier information, and security credentials. This physical card needs to be inserted into your device in order for it to connect to mobile networks. On the other hand, an ESIM is embedded into your device's hardware and does not require any physical swapping of cards.

ESIMs use a small chip in your smartphone that stores all the necessary information and can be programmed remotely. This means that you can switch between carriers and plans without having to physically change your SIM card. The process of activating an ESIM is also much simpler compared to a physical SIM, as it can be done through a QR code or over-the-air network provisioning.

How does ESIM technology work?

ESIM technology uses a process called Remote SIM Provisioning (RSP) to connect to a cellular network. This means that the information on your ESIM can be updated and changed remotely without needing to physically change or swap out any cards, instead your phone is relying on purely digital SIM cards. The RSP process involves securely transferring data from the mobile network operator to the ESIM, which is then used for authentication and connection to the network.

ESIM supported devices

While ESIM technology has been around for a few years, it is still not widely supported by all devices. Currently, the latest iPhone models (starting from iPhone XS and newer) and some Android smartphones such as the Google Pixel have ESIM capabilities. It is important to note that not all carriers support ESIMs yet, so it's best to check with your carrier before purchasing an ESIM-supported device.

Can you get mobile data on an ESIM?

Yes, you can get mobile data on an ESIM just like you would with a physical SIM card. An ESIM allows your device to connect to a cellular network and access the internet, make phone calls, and send text messages.

Is an ESIM as secure as a physical SIM card?

An ESIM uses the same security standards as a physical SIM and is considered just as secure. The data on an ESIM chip is also encrypted, making it difficult for malicious parties to access your personal information. In fact, some experts argue that an ESIM may be more secure than a traditional SIM since it cannot be physically removed or swapped.

Can I have an ESIM and use a normal SIM card at the same time?

Yes, you can have an ESIM and a physical SIM card in your device at the same time. This is especially useful for those who travel frequently and need access to different carriers or plans. Some smartphones now come with dual-SIM capabilities, allowing you to use both an ESIM and a traditional SIM simultaneously.

Which providers sell an ESIM card (UK)?

Many major UK mobile networks now offer ESIMs, including EE, O2, Vodafone UK, and Three. However, not all devices are compatible with ESIMs so it is important to check with your provider and device manufacturer before purchasing ESIM plans. ESIMs are found as either a SIM only plan over a set number of months, or you can by a prepaid ESIM that is for a set term, usually 30 days.

Who sells unlimited data ESIMs (UK)?

Currently, EE and O2 offer unlimited data plans in the UK for their ESIM products. These prepaid data plans are a convenient option for heavy data users as they do not have to worry about exceeding their monthly data allowance. It is worth noting that if you have bought your unlimited ESIM mobile plan from any of the major networks, it will most likely be subject to a fair usage policy. This means that you will be capped at a set limit of data each month. However you are unlikely to reach this limit, since the fair usage policy is designed to stop people using unlimited SIMs for improper purposes and clogging up the network for normal users. You can find a range of eSIM products on our website by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Can I still use international data roaming with my ESIM?

Yes, you can still use international data roaming with an ESIM just as you would with a physical SIM. However, it is important to check with your network provider for any additional fees or restrictions that may apply when using your ESIM abroad. Most providers have a cap on your data usage when roaming which can be found in the terms of your ESIM data plan or prepaid data plan.

Can I use an ESIM in my router to supply my internet connection?

Yes, you can hypothetically use an ESIM in a router to supply your internet connection. This can be particularly useful for travellers or those who do not have access to a stable Wi-Fi network. However, it is important to check with your router's manufacturer and ensure that your device is compatible with an ESIM before attempting to use it in a router, since ESIMs are fairly new technology and most 4G/5G routers do not have them installed into the motherboard.

How do I activate my ESIM?

The process of activating an ESIM may vary depending on your device and the provider you choose. In general, it involves scanning a QR code or entering a code provided by your carrier to activate the ESIM on your device. This can usually be done through the device's settings menu or through an app provided by your carrier. Once activated, your device will be connected to the cellular network and you can start using your ESIM plan.

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