I remember the days when it was almost impossible to stay connected globally. Whenever I was traveling abroad, I had to either rely solely on Wi-fi, search for the best local SIM cards and then carry multiple SIM cards everywhere I went. Of course, this was not ideal.
I had to keep track of all the cards, it all cost a decent amount of money and there was also the fear of not being able to work abroad because of the poor Wi-Fi connectivity in the places I stayed. Luckily, times have changed for the better and now with a simple eSIM card, we can travel and stay connected at the same time without too much hassle.
So, what is an eSIM card exactly?
It is basically a SIM card that is embedded in your device and allows for easy and stress-free access to the Internet when traveling to different countries. The good news is that an eSIM doesn’t require a physical SIM card and to connect, all you need to do is scan a QR code and enter a confirmation code. Then, as long as you have an unlocked eSIM-compatible device (we’ll get to this in a moment) you’re good to go.
One of the main eSIM companies is called Airalo. They are the world’s first eSIM store that offers access to more than 100 eSIMs via compatible devices at the most affordable rates. To figure out how this all works, let’s start with the basics by answering some useful questions.
1. How do I purchase an Airalo eSIM?
The easiest way to purchase an eSIM on Airalo is to visit their website (airalo.com), find the country you’re planning to visit and purchase the eSIM data plan that suits you best. If you’re traveling to different countries in one region, Airalo also offers regional eSIM data plans. For example, if I was going on a trip to Germany, Austria, and France and got their Europe eSIM, this would allow me to stay connected in all of these countries.
2. How do I install an eSIM data pack?
This is quite easy. After you purchase the eSIM, you’ll receive detailed information on how to add the purchased eSIM to your phone. But there are two options available. The first option iss to add the eSIM by scanning the QR code. The procedure is simple and involves going into your account, then to ‘settings/cellular mobile plan’, ‘add cellular/mobile plan’ and then you’ll be able to scan the eSIM QR Code and enter the 4-digit confirmation code when prompted. The other option is to add the purchased eSIM manually. I think they have this option in case you experience issues while scanning the QR code. All you have to do is follow the steps which are included in the eSIM confirmation details after your purchase.
3. How do I activate my Airalo eSIM?
With Airalo’s eSIM, it actually activates as soon as you land in the destination the eSIM is designed for. If you purchase an Airalo eSIM for India, once you land in Delhi or Mumbai or wherever your first stop is in that country, just turn on your mobile device. Make sure your data is turned on and the eSIM will automatically connect to the local network and become active. If you purchase one of the time limited eSIMs (such as one that is valid only for a week), your time begins as soon as your phone connects.
4. Can I install the eSIM before I travel?
Yes, you can install the eSIM before you hit the road, but your data pack gets activated once you reach your destination.
5. How do top-ups work?
If you need to top-up your Airalo eSim, it’s also very easy to do. Simply log in to your Airalo account (either on the website or on their app), click on ‘My eSIMs’, choose the eSIM you want to top-up, and select the top-up amount. It basically takes less than 2 minutes to finalize the purchase.
6. Does an eSIM come with a phone number?
Yes, it does, but you can also use the Dual SIM / Dual Standby technology in compatible handset models that allows you to stay connected with both your eSIM and your physical SIM simultaneously. You can also choose which of these two SIM cards you wish to use for your data connectivity.
7. Can I make phone calls with my Airalo eSIM?
Yes, you can, as long as it’s done via VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This means, you are free to make calls via FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp and similar platforms. You cannot use the phone number itself to make phone calls.
8. Do eSIMs expire?
Most of Airalo’s eSIMs don’t expire. However, there are some exceptions, specifically when you purchase a time-limited eSIM. This includes eSIMs such as their ‘Thailand unlimited data for 8 days’. Naturally, the eSIM expires after 8 days, although you could renew it before then.
9. How can I tell if my phone is eSIM compatible?
This is quite an important question and one that you should look at before purchasing an eSIM. Airalo is expanding their list of devices that are compatible with the eSIM technology, but for now, here are the devices that can be paired with their eSIM cards:
iPhone 11 Pro
iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone XS Max
Nuu Mobile X5
Google Pixel 3 & 3XL
Google Pixel 4
Windows 10 PCs
Lenovo Yoga 630
HP Spectre Folio
iPad Air (3rd Generation)
iPad Pro (3rd Generation)
iPad Mini (5th Generation)
Motorola Razr 2019
Samsung Galaxy Fold
If you have a compatible device, this could be the ideal solution for staying connected during your travels.
It’s super simple, quite affordable and ensures you’re connected as soon as you arrive. Times certainly have changed!