What is an eSIM

What is an eSIM: eSIMs VS Physical SIM

Written by Rebecca
July 25, 2023
6 Mins Read

With the rise of mobile devices, SIM cards have become an essential part of our lives. But now, a new technology is on the rise, eSIMs. In this article, we will take a look at what eSIM technology is, how it works, and the differences between eSIMs and physical SIM cards.

What is an eSIM?

Imagine you have a phone or a smartwatch that needs a SIM card to connect to the internet and make calls. Normally, you would insert a small, removable SIM card into the device, and that card would contain all the information needed to connect to a mobile network and use the device.

Now, eSIM (Embedded SIM) is like a virtual version of this SIM card. Instead of being a physical card, the SIM information is embedded directly into the device's hardware. So, there's no need to put in a physical card. It's all inside the device.

How does an eSIM work?

An eSIM profile is like a digital key that contains all the necessary details for your device to connect to a mobile network. It has information about which network you'll be using and how your device will be identified and authenticated on that network.

But before you can use an eSIM, you need to check if your phone supports it. Not all phones are compatible with eSIM technology. If your phone is eSIM compatible, great! You can then purchase your desired eSIM data plan online. For example, Textr eSIM offers international travel data plans that cater to your specific needs.

Once you've made your purchase, your service provider will provide you with a QR code or activation code. This code allows you to install the eSIM profile onto your device. Make sure you have a stable internet connection during this process. It's best to do this before you start your trip, so everything is ready to go.

After the eSIM profile is installed, you're all set! Just choose your eSIM data plan as the default data line to activate it. No need to deal with those physical SIM cards - it's all done digitally! If you're using a travel eSIM, you can activate the line when you arrive at your destination. Your data plan will be activated and start counting down once your device connects to the network.

One of the coolest things about eSIMs is their flexibility. With Textr eSIM, you can store multiple data plans in one single eSIM. So, when you travel to different countries, you can purchase different data plans through your Textr eSIM account. Switching between data plans is super easy and can be done within your account as you arrive at different destinations. It gives you the power to manage your data usage conveniently and efficiently.

Is eSIM better than a physical SIM card?

Absolutely! Before we dive into the details, it's essential to note that the connection and reception of eSIMs are no different from physical SIM cards. Users can expect the same high-quality mobile service with either option, so there's no compromise on call quality or internet connectivity.

However, eSIMs come with a host of advantages that make them a superior choice. Firstly, they offer incredible convenience by eliminating the need to purchase and handle physical SIM cards. Users can easily activate a new plan or switch between mobile network operators hassle-free, without ever needing to deal with physical cards. This is especially beneficial for frequent travelers who can activate their eSIM when abroad, without the worry of losing or misplacing a physical SIM card.

(Let me share a personal experience: I once lost my physical SIM card after a trip to Tokyo, and it was quite frustrating to be without a phone connection. I had to go through the process of contacting my provider, getting a new SIM card reissued, and then physically picking it up from a store. If I had an eSIM, it would have been so much easier and less stressful.)

eSIMs have an advantage in that they can store multiple network profiles, allowing users to switch between different carriers and plans without needing to swap out the physical card. According to Apple, at least 8 eSIMs can be stored in an iPhone, and users can activate the one they need at any time.

Not only does eSIM technology provide convenience, but it also offers significant cost savings. Since users can switch between mobile network operators without requiring a new SIM card, they can take advantage of the best deals and promotions available, all without incurring any additional costs.

While eSIMs bring numerous benefits, it's fair to acknowledge a few minor downsides. One possible drawback is that not all devices fully support eSIM technology yet. However, this is rapidly changing as more carriers and manufacturers embrace the eSIM standard.

In summary, eSIMs offer unparalleled convenience, cost savings, and the flexibility to switch between carriers seamlessly. Despite a few limitations, eSIMs have quickly become a worthy and advantageous choice for travelers, ensuring you stay connected with ease wherever you go.

Is an eSIM Really Safe to Use?

There have been some concerns about privacy and data security when it comes to eSIMs. Since eSIMs store personal data and phone numbers on the device, there is a risk that this information could be compromised if the device is lost or stolen. Additionally, there is the possibility that the eSIM could be hacked, potentially allowing unauthorized access to the user's data.

To address these concerns, eSIM technology providers have implemented robust security measures, such as encryption and authentication protocols, to protect against data breaches and hacking attempts. They also offer regular software updates to address any vulnerabilities that may be discovered.

Overall, while there are some privacy and data security concerns associated with eSIMs, the technology is generally considered to be safe and secure when used properly. It is important for users to take basic security precautions, such as using strong passwords and keeping their device software up to date, to minimize the risk of data breaches and hacking attempts.

Which Phones Support eSIM?

Unfortunately, not all phones are compatible with eSIM. But don't worry, we've got you covered! Use our handy eSIM Compatible Phone Checker to find out if your phone can enjoy the many benefits of eSIM.

Does eSIM support 5G?

Textr offers eSIMs that support cellular or mobile networks up to 5G, but the compatibility may differ based on the device you use. It's important to keep in mind that 5G networks are only accessible in specific countries and regions where the technology is supported.

To verify if the Textr eSIM plan is compatible with 5G, you can click on the "Coverage & Network" option on the plan you wish to buy.

Textr eSIM Japan data plan
Textr eSIM Japan data plan (Coverage& Network)

eSIM vs Physical SIM

Here's a comparison table highlighting the differences between eSIM and physical SIM technology:

Feature eSIM Physical SIM
Form Factor Integrated into device Small plastic card
Storage Digital Physical
Activation Remote activation Requires physical insertion
Number of profiles Multiple profiles on one device One profile per physical SIM card
Changing carriers Can switch carriers without a new card Requires a new card
Physical security N/A Can be easily lost or stolen
Availability Limited availability in certain regions Widely available
Compatibility Limited compatibility with devices Compatible with most devices


As we move towards a more connected world, eSIM technology is set to become an increasingly popular alternative to physical SIM cards. With the 2022 US-sold iPhone 14 being eSIM only, it's clear that eSIM is here to stay. Whether you're a frequent traveler or just looking for a more convenient way to switch between carriers, eSIM technology has a lot to offer. So if you haven't already, it might be time to consider making the switch to eSIM and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer.

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Textr eSIM App Mockup

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About the Writer

Written by Rebecca

As a blogger, traveler, and food lover, I'm always on the hunt for new taste sensations. I'm excited to share my tips and tricks to help you have the most memorable travels. Come along and let's savor the journey!

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