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eSIM vs SIM: What Are the Differences?

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Laura Liang

Content Editor at Textr

Published Jul 13, 2022

Deciding on an eSIM vs. SIM is a lot easier than you might think. An eSIM offers everything a SIM does but without the physical card. As the market is rapidly expanding, you have more options than ever before.

Of course, there’s a bit more to deciding which is best for your needs. In this article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of an eSIM vs. SIM.

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Similarities Between eSIM and SIM

You should probably already know what is a SIM card for. It’s what connects your phone to your network provider. Unsurprisingly, an eSIM does this, too. Here are the main similarities:

  • Both offer network connectivity
  • You can have more than one in your phone (although you can have up to 5 eSIMs)
  • Both can be used in different devices, such as tablets
  • Both identify your device and the type of plan you’re on
  • You can use both at the same time in the same device

At the most basic level, both as SIM cards. However, an eSIM is a virtual SIM card, meaning there’s no physical item. Instead, your device comes with the SIM chip built in and you load virtual cards onto it.

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Pros and Cons of eSIM

eSIMs are relative newcomers to the market, but here’s a brief roundup of their pros and cons.


1. They’re Convenient

You can download an eSIM anywhere, provided you’ve got a WiFi connection. This makes setting up new plans much easier than with a physical SIM card.

2. They’re Secure

Due to the potential security issues of a virtual SIM card, manufacturers have essentially overcompensated with security. This means they end up being more secure than physical SIMs.

3. They Provide Flexibility

An international eSIM is a great option if you travel. For example, you could download a new eSIM in each country you visit, meaning you can take advantage of local network rates and plans.

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4. They’re Competitive

When it comes to the prices of an eSIM vs. SIM, they’re the same. In a lot of situations, you might even be able to find an eSIM free.


1. They’re Not Available in Older Devices

As mentioned, eSIMs are pretty new technology. For example, the first iPhone model to feature eSIM was the iPhone X, which came out in 2018. While this shouldn’t be an issue for most people, it’s something to bear in mind if you know you’ve got an older model.

2. Transferring Data is More Difficult

A physical SIM can store a small amount of data on it, which you can then transfer to a new phone. You can’t do this with an eSIM, though, making it difficult to get information off a damaged phone.

Instead, you’ll need to back up your data on the cloud, but you should be doing this anyway!

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Pros and Cons of SIM Cards

Although we’re all familiar with SIM cards, it’s worth looking in more detail at their pros and cons to understand whether they’re the best version of this technology.


1. They’re Established

SIM cards are basically as old as mobile phone technology. As such, they’re available on every network with a range of plans, including prepaid options. Although this gives them a more dominant market share, eSIMs are quickly catching up.

2. They’re Removable

One of the biggest advantages of any physical technology is your ability to remove it. Say your phone battery dies, you can take the SIM out and put it in a new device.

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3. They Fit All Phones

Regardless of whether your phone takes normal, micro, or nano SIMs, they fit in all phones.


1. They Can Be Damaged

Being able to remove a physical SIM from a phone is useful if the phone is damaged. But what about if the SIM gets damaged? They’re fragile cards that can be snapped with ease. If this happens, you’ll lose your data. Suddenly, backing it up on the cloud seems like a better idea!

2. They’re Limited

If your phone has dual SIM capability, you can have a maximum of 2 physical cards. With eSIMs, however, you can have up to 5 profiles. This gives you much greater flexibility for things like international eSIM profiles or business management.

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3. They’re Hackable

When it comes to the security of an eSIM vs. SIM, the eSIM wins every time. To hack a physical SIM card, you just need the card. For an eSIM, you’ll need to get through layers of secure portals, which is objectively much harder.

4. They’re Not As Convenient

If you travel and want to use local network plans, you’ll need a new SIM for each one. However, an international eSIM can be uploaded in each new country, which is definitely much easier.

Why Should I Choose eSIM Over SIM?

When making the decision of eSIM vs. SIM, there are very few reasons why you shouldn’t choose a virtual SIM card. eSIMs are more convenient and secure, particularly if you travel a lot or need business profiles on your phone.

Of course, if you’re just buying a new phone for personal use, a standard SIM will do the job. However, it probably won’t be long until eSIMs become the norm for us all.

The bottom line is that an eSIM offers greater benefits in almost all scenarios, despite it being much younger technology. The list of network carriers that offer eSIMs is already large and is growing by the day.

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Soon to join this ever-expanding list is Textr, which will be launching its eSIM free service in the next few months. It’ll offer all the benefits listed for eSIMs, so watch out for that.

Until then, why not get started using Textr Team for your business purposes? You can set up multiple phone numbers from different countries and use unlimited texts and high-quality call minutes, all in one app.

Start your 7-day free trial today to check out all the benefits Textr offers. Download it now on iOS, Android, and for web browsers.

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