What is an eSIM card?

Written By

HEMAJA BURUD

An eSIM is a SIM card that is embedded in a mobile device and can connect you to any operator offering eSIM services. It is an evolution of the physical SIM card. More and more smartphones, tablets and laptops are equipped with an eSIM card.

The eSIM works the same way as a traditional SIM card, but you don’t need a physical SIM card to use it. It is actually pre-installed in the device and you can activate it by installing an “eSIM profile” on it.

Google's Pixels have had eSIMs since 2017, and Apple's iPhones have had them since 2018. But even in countries where carriers are more enthused about eSIM, complex problems are slowing down adoption, according to a report commissioned by Mobile World Live and virtual carrier Truphone.

What Does eSIM Let You Do?

An eSIM device lets you change your wireless carrier, data, or service plan on the fly. You can also often use two different lines on the same device, such as a home and work line, or switch between different plans depending on where you are.

Which Phones Support eSIM?

All three major US carriers support eSIM on recent iPhone and Google Pixel models. The Samsung Galaxy S20, Note 20 series, Z Fold 2, and S21 series have supported eSIM in theory. But they haven't supported them in practice in the US, probably because of carrier resistance.

Which US Carriers Support eSIM?

All major US carriers support eSIM, but they don't do so with much enthusiasm. There are also eSIM options from roaming-focused carriers Ubigi, Truphone, and Gigsky. Most are data-only plans that don't give you a primary phone number.

eSIM Pros

-It's more reliable You can't lose your eSIM -Switching between networks that support eSIMs -Remote provisioning make the switch quick and painless. -Manufacturers have gradually cut down SIM card size -Removing the components to read a SIM card

eSIM Cons

-Currently, there aren't any dual eSIM phones either — just support for a normal SIM and an eSIM. -Dual eSIMs seem likely in the future, but we haven't seen any yet. -Any device with just an eSIM will constantly be active and on a network -Embedded though it may be, an eSIM is a physical chip, which makes hacking it very difficult