Back to all Posts

What is an eSIM?

Written by Tim Mugabi

If you’re in the market for a smartphone upgrade or have been shopping around for a new plan, you may have come across an innovation making its mark on the telco industry: the eSIM.

First released in 2016, eSIMs started receiving more attention in recent years as Google, Samsung, and, particularly, Apple, have begun to incorporate eSIM technology into their products.

But the question is, what exactly is an eSIM, and why should you consider getting one?

Let’s dive right in and answer those questions…

eSIM: The new standard

An eSIM (or embedded SIM) is a SIM card that’s built into a mobile device, such as a smartphone, smartwatch, or tablet. eSIMs were devised by the global body for the mobile industry, the GSMA, as the successor to the conventional, plastic SIM cards that are the current standard.

The GSMA is currently working with telco industry players around the world to gradually phase out existing SIM cards in favour of superior eSIM technology. In fact, eSIM activations already increased 300% last year and eSIM is forecast to quickly become the industry standard by 2024 when over 3.4 billion eSIM-enabled devices are expected to be in market.

eSIM-enabled smartphones, laptops and tablets are now being manufactured at scale by Apple, Samsung, Google, Microsoft, Lenovo and others with over 100 different models of eSIM-capable devices in market.

How do eSIMs work?

As mentioned above, the defining feature of an eSIM is that it’s embedded inside a mobile device and can support multiple SIM profiles or network connections. Instead of having a regular, physical SIM card issued to you by your telco, your plan is connected to a chip on your device’s motherboard. Other than this physical difference, both types of SIM connect to the network in the same way.

Now, I know what you might be thinking: the idea of having your provider and plan built into your phone sounds restrictive, right? And while you’d think that’s the case, the great news is, eSIMs actually give you more flexibility.

There’s no need to head into a store to arrange a new plan – or to place an order online and wait on the SIM in the mail. Instead, you can just sign up for a new plan or network provider straight from your device, making switching a breeze.

For international travellers, simply choose one of the available plans for your destination and make a payment. You’ll instantly receive a unique code (i.e. a QR or numerical code) via email, get set-up in 2 taps and connect immediately when you land!

Also, another important thing to note is that eSIMs aren’t supported by every mobile device: it must be eSIM compatible – hence them taking a little while to become the industry standard.

Click here to see all eSIM-compatible devices

Buy before you fly, get set-up in just a few taps, and connect immediately when you land with eSIM.

What are the benefits of an eSIM?

eSIMs offer several advantages to both consumers and the telco industry, including:

  • Cheaper Travel SIM plans: eSIMs are up to 90% cheaper than international roaming fees.
  • Super Convenient: You won’t have to go through the headache of figuring out the best deals on a new prepaid SIM when you touch down in a new country. You can have your plan all set up before you fly.
  • No More SIM-switching: Thanks to an eSIM, you won’t have to remember where you put the “little metal thing” you need to pop open the SIM tray (or have to make one out of a paper clip when you realise you’ve lost it…). Better still, you won’t have to frantically search for your home SIM at the end of your trip!
  • Better Hardware: Doing away with the old-style SIMs (and the space they take up in devices) allow manufacturers to build devices with increased battery life, better waterproofing, and bigger (i.e, faster) processors – at lower cost. A great example of this is the eSIM-only Motorola RAZR 4G 2019.
  • More Secure: Due to the solid-state nature of the eSIM, it has extra security layers to protect your account from being SIM-jacked or otherwise hacked.

Search for an eSIM

How do I Get My Hands on an eSIM?

Here at esimpop, we’ve spent the last few years building the ultimate eSIM guide featuring a comprehensive selection of the best eSIM plans from over 200 mobile operators across 180 countries and territories (and counting!). All of which are arranged according to different criteria, such as coverage, amount of data, and trip length – so finding the plan that best matches your needs is a piece of cake!

Whether you’re travelling to ThailandBali or Japan, or just need extra WFH data, start enjoying all the benefits of eSIM and download your plan today! Get your eSIM now.

Written by



Tim is a freelance technology writer and editor who specialises in writing content about AI, cybersecurity, cloud environments, and application development.
Originally hailing from the UK, Tim has travelled extensively for the past 10 years, holding a wide variety of jobs in Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia before becoming a writer – and digital nomad – in 2017.
He can currently be found somewhere in Southeast Asia – eSIM-enabled device firmly in hand!  

Related Posts

How eSIMs work

Avoiding international roaming bills, guaranteed connectivity upon arrival at your destination and no more lost SIM cards are just some of the many benefits of eSIMs.

Read More »

Refer a friend

✓ Valid number ✕ Invalid number
✓ Valid number ✕ Invalid number

Dont forget to like, follow and share our Socials 😁

Leave a Review

"*" indicates required fields

Drop files here or
Accepted file types: jpg, gif, png, pdf, Max. file size: 512 MB, Max. files: 6.
    By submitting this review, you agree to our Terms of Use
    This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.