If you are the proud owner of an iPhone 10 or 11, a Google Pixel 3 or 4, or even a shiny new Samsung S20, you may have noticed a few new options under your settings. Yes, we’re talking about the dual SIM and eSIM mobile network settings. While this feature has been around for a couple of years, true eSIM functionality has finally hit the market.
If you’re still wondering what an eSIM is and how it works, don’t panic. We’ve put together this complete guide to eSIM handsets on the market, as well as the destinations that support eSIM.
Let’s start at the beginning. What is an eSIM? An eSIM (or embedded SIM) is a small chip located inside your device that can be connected to mobile services worldwide. While functioning almost like a physical SIM card, an eSIM cannot be removed. We say almost, as an embedded SIM can be programmed (and reprogrammed) to any network and is not locked to any one operator.
An embedded SIM comes as-standard in a wide range of devices; everything from handsets and tablets, to smartwatches and laptops. However, an eSIM must be activated with a plan before it can connect to mobile services. eSIM plans can be purchased through participating mobile network operators, or even bought online .
This complete guide to eSIM handsets and destinations will help you find out if your smartphone is eSIM-enabled, and where you can buy one or use one.
Smartphone manufacturers that support eSIM
Apple were one of the first manufacturers to provide a fully-functioning eSIM in their devices, launching support for this revolutionary new technology in late-2018. Kick-starting a rapid adoption of eSIM, their current list of supported handset devices include:
- iPhone X, XS and XR
- iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max
Following quickly in Apple’s footsteps, Google announced fully-fledged eSIM support in their Pixel devices shortly after the release of the competing device, the iPhone X. Interestingly, Google had already incorporated eSIM technology in their earlier models, however it required a subscription to Google Fi in order to make use of the eSIM. Currently, Google supports eSIM in the following devices:
- Google Pixel 2 and 2XL (with Google Fi only)
- Google Pixel 3, 3XL, 3a and 3aXL
- Google Pixel 4 and 4XL
Of the major players in the handset manufacturing arena, Samsung has been among the last to adopt eSIM support in their devices. Having only released their latest product in February 2020, it’s expected to correlate to a huge rise in the use of eSIM technology among consumers. In fact, a recent study predicted that over 200 million eSIM-enabled devices will reach consumers by the end of 2020. These devices include:
- Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy Fold
As another of the leading manufacturers in handsets, Huawei has remained quiet on the eSIM front. Until now. In 2020, they have released a new device with embedded SIM technology to compete with the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google Pixel, as seen in the list below:
- Huawei P40 and P40 Pro
Motorola has taken a unique approach to eSIM technology by launching the first eSIM-only device. The Motorola Razr 2020 comes without a physical SIM card slot, meaning a customer can only use the virtual SIM card provided.
Other devices that support eSIM
It is not simply handsets that support eSIM. In fact, embedded SIM technology can be found in a variety of other devices, such as smartwatches, tablets and laptops. This includes Apple’s watch series 3 and later. Further, eSIM can be found in the iPad 10.2-inch, iPad Pro 11-inch, iPad Pro 12.9-inch, iPad mini (5th generation) and iPad Air (3rd generation). Other devices include Microsoft’s Surface Pro X, Samsung’s Gear S3 and Huawei Watch 2 Pro.
What countries support eSIM worldwide?
Now you know if your handset supports an embedded SIM, it’s time to work out where you can use your eSIM, and where you can buy one.
The simple answer to this is purchasing an eSIM online, as various online eSIM stores offer global roaming plans that work almost everywhere in the world.
However, if you would prefer to purchase your eSIM through your existing mobile network provider, or wish to buy in-store, here is a full list of participating countries. Please visit Apple’s support page for a more detailed breakdown on the network providers in that country.
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Sri Lanka
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
The lists above will only continue to grow as more manufacturers, mobile network operators, and consumers adopt eSIM technology. Has your device or country appeared in this guide? Perhaps it’s time to delve into those new settings after all. Want to learn more? Take a read through these frequently asked questions about eSIM.