eSIM: What is it and how do you apply for one

The topic of eSIM has been brought up again when Smart and Globe announced that it will be using it on more devices under its postpaid plans. If it’s the first time you’re hearing about it, then you’re probably asking what is it and how do you get one? Let us help you with that.

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What is an eSIM?

eSIM stands for embedded Subscriber Identity Module, or embedded universal integrated circuit card (eUICC). Basically, it functions like a regular SIM card, which authenticates your identity with your carrier, but instead of purchasing the card separately and putting it in your device, an eSIM is already embedded IN the device.

GSMA has been discussing the possibility of this technology since 2010. In 2016, the Samsung Gear S2 Classic 3G was the first device to implement an eSIM. Apple implemented eSIM support in its newer Apple Watch, iPad, and iPhones. For Android, Google’s Pixel smartphones are one of the firsts to be equipped with eSIMs.

What are the benefits?

An eSIM is, as mentioned earlier, an integrated chip. That chip is rewritable, meaning if you switch carriers, that carrier just needs to rewrite the info on the chip. This is handy if you avail of the new MNP services 24. In addition, it can also store different carrier profiles and switch as much as you like, although note that you can only use one profile at a time. Should you lose your device, you can contact your carrier and they can remotely deactivate the device.

With a regular SIM card, you will need a new SIM card every time you switch carriers and can only manage one profile, it’s more complicated to switch numbers or replace SIM cards, and can easily be stolen.

However, while eSIM offers many conveniences, not all devices support it. Currently, it’s mostly available on newer Apple iPhone, Watch, and Samsung Galaxy devices, and can only be applied to a carrier with a postpaid plan.

So let’s say you have an iPhone 13, you can use a regular prepaid SIM then apply for a postpaid plan for the eSIM, giving you “dual-SIM” functionality.

How do you apply?

The first thing you need to find out is to know if your device has an eSIM, which is usually mentioned in the specs of the smartphone. Apple devices like the iPhone 13 series, iPhone 12 series, iPhone 11 series, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, the Galaxy Z Series, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Series, and the Galaxy Note 20 Series, are some of the devices known to support the eSIM.

If your smartphone has an eSIM, the next thing to do is to go to your preferred carrier and apply for a postpaid plan application. You can also opt to get a device with eSIM support directly from the carrier as part of the plan (Globe or Smart). Although note that it is likely it will be locked to that telco until your contract expires.

Upon successful application, subscribers shall be given a printed QR code to scan using their device by going to the phone’s mobile settings.

Should you use it?

If your device already supports an eSIM and you’re in need of a postpaid plan I don’t see any reason not to take advantage of this feature. For devices like the iPhone that doesn’t always support physical dual-SIMs, an eSIM + nano-SIM is a good alternative. If you don’t want to use it, it’s fine as well. We’ll eventually see this feature in prepaid as more devices with eSIM support get produced in the near future.

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10 Responses

  1. Avatar for D1k D1k says:

    If your phone us lost or got snatched for example, call your provider and have it deacticated. Problem solved

  2. Avatar for MJ MJ says:

    I keep asking Smart representative via email to transfer my current postpaid SIM to eSIM. Unfortunately it is still not available up to now.

    • Avatar for Toni Toni says:

      Actually, it’s been available since end last year.

      Last time I inquired, you have to appear in their store front and acquire it.


  3. Avatar for Angelo Angelo says:

    per Smart, MNP subs from other networks are NOT yet eligible. the benefits in this article doesnt match the statement

  4. Avatar for rey rey says:

    been using airalo for my esim for 2 years now, airalo is prepaid you can choose diff esims for diff countries

    • Avatar for Pat Pat says:

      Does airalo receive texts too? Receive calls? I see it as data-only, I wonder if it actually supports texting or something. Thanks.

  5. Avatar for dangerous minds dangerous minds says:

    makes me think, what if someone will find a way to access that chip and become available to everybody. imagine if they can use any active numbers they want.

  6. Avatar for Hi dk go dl Hi dk go dl says:

    Having a simcard gives you more options because you can switch device easily. As if your phone is just as easy to get stolen. Just were can you hear a simcard thief, thats too rare. If you want to switch profile then switch simcards. Its as easy as as that. Many phones even have dual sim support and dual standby. If you device gets broken then your stuck having no phone number until your device gets repaired.

  7. Avatar for Che Che says:

    Helpful article. Next topic pls: how to transfer esim to a new device

  8. Avatar for Ernest Mier Ernest Mier says:

    Please include info like: if you already own a dual SIM Note 20 and ask a carrier to activate eSIM functionality, (1) does this disable one of the physical SIMs? (2) Can you now install a micro SD card on the disabled SIM slot and get dual carriers PLUS extra storage?

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