Imagine downloading a data plan onto your phone that can connect you to a mobile network wherever you want, whenever you want, for however long you want – affordably. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Welcome to the wonderful world of the eSIM data plan.
Travelers are no stranger to the struggles of international roaming and data coverage. Whether it’s getting slammed with an eye-popping phone bill a few weeks after your trip or struggling to FaceTime over spotty Wi-Fi, we’ve all been there.
Here’s everything you need to know about having an eSIM data plan, including why it can be more affordable, easier, and smarter than juggling multiple SIM cards.
What Is an eSIM Data Plan?
An eSIM data plan, like the ones available in our app, is a prepaid data-only plan that you can download directly to your eSIM-compatible device. Think of it as a lightweight prepaid plan for whatever local carriers exist in the country you’re currently in.
You get access to local data service at local prices without the need to hunt down a physical SIM card. It’s a nifty way to sidestep those expensive international roaming fees, which raked in a whopping $12.6 billion for telecommunications providers globally in 2019.
You won’t get a new local phone number for every eSIM data plan. But if you have dual SIM enabled on your phone, you can continue to use your own phone number while using the data from your eSIM. If you don’t have dual SIM abilities, you can still make phone calls using WhatsApp, Telegram, or another popular service. Your phone is still fully functional.
Using eSIM can seem a little daunting at first but it’s quite easy once you get the hang of it. We’ve got a handy guide covering everything you need to know to get started with an Airalo eSIM right here.
Advantages of eSIM vs. SIM Cards
Although eSIM has been around for a few years, it’s only recently starting to gain traction as more and more carriers allow it. There’s little surprise why — eSIM has numerous advantages over the traditional options for travelers (or anyone else who frequently switches services). We love eSIM because:
You Can Instantly Connect
With an eSIM, you can stay connected during transit. While a local SIM card means a local number and local data, it also means you’re effectively disconnected during transit when you have the highest likelihood of needing to contact someone for something. With an eSIM, you can simply activate your service once you’ve arrived and you’re connected immediately.
An eSIM is Built Into Your Device
No more messing around with fragile, tiny hardware. Who thought it was a good idea to make people handle sensitive hardware the size of a fingernail? An eSIM is embedded in your phone and handled through an app, making things easier for everyone.
It's Easy to Switch Data Plans
Every Airalo eSIM data plan is prepaid and requires no contract, so you can top off your service or switch your service whenever you want.
You Can Use Two-Factor Identification
With an eSIM, you can keep your 2FA steps intact. Multi-factor authentication plays a huge role in our lives, and that can be a problem if you’re abroad without phone service. If you’ve got dual SIM on your phone, you can keep all those security measures in place.
Clear and Fair Pricing
Every seasoned traveler (and tourist) has experienced the joys of getting ripped off. That doesn’t happen when you can clearly read what you’re getting when you tap “Purchase.”
You Can Have Multiple eSIMs
You can store multiple eSIMs on one device. Most eSIM-compatible devices let you store more than one eSIM on your phone. That gives you the freedom to purchase your data plans ahead of time and simply activate them on arrival.
Available for a Range of Devices
eSIMs are available for a range of technology. You can get eSIM on your iPad and even some Windows 10 laptops. That’s not always true with traditional SIM cards.
Is an eSIM Just for Travel?
Having an eSIM data plan is often helpful when you travel, but those aren’t the only people who can benefit from them. An eSIM data plan is also great for:
1. People Who Want a Secondary Prepaid Line
If you’ve got Dual SIM with an eSIM on your phone, some carriers will allow you to have a secondary prepaid line that goes to your phone. You’ll need to check with your main carrier to see what options are available for you.
2. People Who Want Cheap Data
When your regular data plan costs as much as $10/GB, your data usage bill can sting. However, if you were to use Dual SIM with an eSIM data plan, your data usage could cost much, much less.
3. People Who Need Short-Term Plans
Most prepaid plans with a physical SIM card require you to pay for an entire month’s worth of service. But what if you only need it for a week or two? The right eSIM data plan allows that flexibility, meaning you won’t overpay for services you don’t need.
With an eSIM data plan, you’re never truly off the grid. Simply purchase your plan when you need it (or even ahead of time) and activate it in a few quick steps — it’s that easy!
Airalo is a marketplace with eSIM data plans in hundreds of countries and regions. Get started now by finding the ideal plan for your next destination.