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eSIM: explained

Say goodbye to searching for local carriers and swapping out multiple location-specific SIM cards, and hello to instant connectivity!

When travelling, reliable access to the internet can be very important… and often rather difficult to attain. With eSIM technology, travellers can navigate new locations and keep in touch with friends without hefty roaming fees or being tethered to Wi-Fi or charged hefty roaming fees. Ready to learn more about your new favourite travel necessity?

What is eSIM?

Let’s start with the basics. A SIM card contains your phone number and data plan, allowing your device to connect to a cellular network for data, calls, and SMS. An eSIM is a programmable SIM card that is embedded into your device. With rewritable information, you can change it’s operators or providers without swapping cards.

Image shows a comparison between the standard sim, micro sim, nano sim, and eSIM

Think of an eSIM as an embedded SIM, a small chip in your phone that lets you connect to different networks and profiles on demand. It works by scanning a QR code from a data or service provider such as KnowRoaming.

For those of you who are searching for a more technical definition, eSIM stands for Electronic Subscriber Identity Module. Another name for eSIM is eUICC, or Embedded Universal Integrated Circuit Card. While traditional SIMs are only provisioned with a single profile, this eSIM enables the remote management of multiple operator profiles. eUICC has existed for a number of years in industries such as the automobile industry for connected cars, but since becoming standardized and approved by the GSMA, it has been incorporated in more accessible consumer items such as smartphones.

The benefits of using eSIM

First and foremost, eSIM eliminates the hassle of attaining and swapping SIM cards for various locations. Gone are the days of leaving the airport and heading straight to the first cell phone provider you find to grab a new card – it’s already integrated into your device! This enables travellers to stay connected across the globe at any time, no matter how frequently or suddenly their location changes.

eSIMs can be purchased and/or activated at any time, and typically last for a set amount of time for a given amount of data (i.e. this 1GB USA Data plan that lasts for one month after activation). Because you can store multiple eSIMs at once, they have the potential to eliminate roaming charges, and enable users to easily and remotely switch operators for the fastest available signal.

Just looking for extra data? Most eSIM compatible devices (iOS and Android) support the use of eSIMs in tandem with a physical SIM card. Therefore, users can use their original SIM for voice and SMS, but load data onto an eSIM for additional connectivity. This can be useful for adding a few extra gigabytes on top of your data plan, or ensuring connectivity in remote areas where your cell provider has poor service. 

Does my smartphone support eSIM?

As eSIM is a relatively newer technology, it is much more common in devices from 2018 and onward. 

eSIM is supported on:

iOS
• iPhone 11
• iPhone 11 Pro
• iPhone 11 Pro Max
• iPhone 12 Pro Max (Sep2020)
• iPhone XS
• iPhone XS Max
• iPhone XR
• iPhone SE (2020)
• iPad Air (3rd Generation)
• iPad Pro (3rd Generation)
• iPad Mini (5th Generation)

Android
• Samsung Galaxy Fold
• Samsung Galaxy S20
• Samsung Galaxy S20+
• Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
• Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
• Samsung Note  20+
• Nuu Mobile X5
• Google Pixel 3 & 3 XL
• Google Pixel 3a & 3a XL
• Google Pixel 4 & 4 XL
• Gemini PDA
• Motorola Razr 2019
• Huawei P40 
• Huawei P40 Pro

ACER (Windows 10)
• ACER Swift 3
• ACER Swift 7

ASUS (Windows 10)
• ASUS Mini Transformer T103HAF
• ASUS NovaGo TP370QL
• ASUS Vivobook Flip 14 TP401NA

Dell (Windows 10)
• Dell Latitude 7210 2-in-1
• Dell Latitude 9410
• Dell Latitude 7310
• Dell Latitude 7410
• Dell Latitude 9510

HP (Windows 10)
• HP Elitebook G5
• HP Probook G5
• HP Zbook G5
• HP Spectre Folio 13

LENOVO (Windows 10)
• Lenovo Yoga C630
• Lenovo Miix 630
• Lenovo Yoga 520
• Lenovo Yoga 720 convertible laptops

SAMSUNG (Windows 10)
• Samsung Galaxy Book 2

SURFACE (Windows 10)
• Surface Go 2
• Surface Pro X
• Surface Pro 5 LTE Advanced

Device compatibility may vary for different countries/regions.
*eSIM on iPhone is not available in mainland China. In Hong Kong and Macau, only the iPhone XS features eSIM. 

** Certain Pixel 3s work when they have the “add carrier” option.

How to purchase and use a KnowRoaming eSIM

It is very simple to begin using an eSIM. Go to an eSIM provider site, select which region you would like to access connectivity for, purchase the plan, and scan the QR code!

To activate your eSIM, visit your device settings. The next instructions vary depending on which smartphone you have. 

For iPhone usersFor Android users
1. Go to your device Settings > Cellular or Mobile Data > Add Cellular Plan1. Go to your device Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile Network
2. Scan the QR code provided by KnowRoaming2. Tap Don’t have the SIM card? > Download your SIM > Tap Next
3. Tap Add Cellular Plan3. Scan the QR code provided by KnowRoaming
4. Choose Secondary Label and change the name to KnowRoaming4. Tap Activate
5. Select the option for ‘Use KnowRoaming for cellular data only’ and tap Continue5. Tap Telna or KnowRoaming
6. Select the option for ‘Use Primary as the preferred line’ and tap Done6. Add the APN Name: Tap on Advanced > Tap Access Point Names > Add APN name by clicking the three dots symbol  ⋮ 
7. Add the APN Name*: Tap on KnowRoaming eSIM > Cellular Data Network> Cellular Data > Add APN

Now you are ready to connect to fast, reliable and secure data across the globe!

For more information about eSIMs, or to begin using your own, visit esim.knowroaming.com.

2 Replies to “eSIM: explained”

  1. Chris

    Reply

    I’m already a KnowRoaming user ( first used on My Iphone6 plus). I now have a IPhone 11. Is an e sim better than what I already have or exactly the same ? Can the e sim number now be a Australian number rather than The US numbers provided ?
    Have you managed to make texting work with the e sim eg when banks want to send verification codes
    Hopefully the time will pass quickly so we can all get back to using your products as intended

    1. Vanessa Cole (Post author)

      Reply

      Hi Chris,

      It looks like you use a SIM card for voice and SMS. In this case we would suggest that you stick with our travel SIM or SIM sticker as our eSIM product is only for data plans (bank verification codes won’t be received).
      However, as mentioned above, eSIM has many benefits! If you would like to give it a try, calls and texts can be sent using communication apps supported by data such as FaceTime or WhatsApp.
      Regarding the number, our solutions come with a USA number, but you can “rent” an Australian number for a set period of time. This can be done through the KnowRoaming app.

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