Old Jun 5, 2023, 7:06 pm
FlyerTalk Forums Expert How-Tos and Guides
Last edit by: username
Free data/trials (control-f to find the actual section for each provider)
  1. Eskimo 1GB 2year
  2. RedBullMobile 100MB 1year
  3. Yesim 350 coins 1 year
  4. ExtremeConnect
Device
Be ADVISED: ALL Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong version of EVERY Phone DOES NOT HAVE SUPPORT for eSim
  1. Best device = Apple iPhone
    1. Supports dual eSIM (most android phones w/ eSIM have 1 physical + 1 eSIM slot, but cannot use 2 eSIMs together)
    2. Depending on carrier, supports DSDV (VoLTE voice calls on sim1 gets routed through sim2.data, as though you were doing WiFi calling)
    3. Some androids might support DSDV
  2. esim.me
    1. Allows you to use eSIM on non-native eSIM device
    2. Requires supported/modern phone
    3. Pricey / confusing options
Useful search sites
  1. https://esimdb.com/
  2. https://esims.io/
  3. https://esimradar.com/

eSIM features to consider
  1. Network coverage
    1. which networks are supported (not all eSIM list the networks, and networks can change overtime)
    2. You may want to avoid lower-tier networks or if your phone doesn't support their LTE/5G bands
  2. Amount of data
    1. "Unlimited" data typically has fair usage in ToS/fineprint, eg 0.5-1GB per day or 1GB every 3 days, reset on 4th day midnight. may or may not allow hotspot
    2. Generally data-limited plans allow full-speed w/ hotspot, some offer slow 128kbps after you hit the limit while others cut you off immediately)
  3. length of coverage
    1. eg: 1 day, 3 day, 7 day, 30day, 180day, 365day, noExpiry
  4. Country coverage (single country, regional/EU, global)
  5. Proxy/Latency/IP
    1. Most eSIM providers route you back to their main network, which can incur latency
    2. Your searches will probably geo-locate back to that main network (instead of the country you're in)
    3. Some of your apps may not work (eg Pandora radio only works in USA, won't work in another country)
  6. Data sharing / transfering of eSIM to new device
    1. A few providers allow you to share data, so you can split one plan with multiple eSIM devices (Eskimo, Dent, Vegolink)
    2. Many providers only allow you to activate eSIM profile once. if you have to switch phones, you either lose that data, or have to pay a token amount to get a new eSIM profile with the remaining balance
  7. Price/GB
  8. How data is counted per session
    1. Usually in ToS, usually its rounded up per 1KB/10KB/100KB/1MB increments. Obviously smaller increment is better
  9. Method of activation
    1. Some providers require you to use their app to load the eSIM
    2. Others send you QR code and/or activation URL, for you to manually load onto phone
    3. You need valid network access (via wifi or existing mobile data) to activate eSIM
  10. Expiry countdown
    1. Some providers start counting down expiry once you purchase, or once you activate eSIM onto phone, or once you set foot into country
  11. Speed
    1. generally these eSIM providers get low priority, could be a problem if there is network congestion
    2. you may want to consider a proper provider over an MVNO
  12. Visual Voicemail - it seems depending on the phone and carrier, Visual Voicemail might require a Cellular Connection through your provider or their roaming partners. So, Visual Voicemail might not work if you are using a data-only eSIM with roaming turned off for your "home line"

Unique feature
  1. Ubigi
    1. free eSIM profile. If you don't have valid plan, the eSIM still allows you to connect & browse ubigi.me (and purchase data via creditcard/paypal)
    2. Seems native geo-located IP but still through a regional proxy with some latency (Transactel owns part of Ubigi, and Transactel has their own backend)

Longer term data (180day to no expiry)
  1. Yesim (coins expire 1 year)
  2. Dent (1 year)
  3. Eskimo (2 year)
  4. Esimplus (no expiry)
  5. AIS eSIM2Fly topup (365 day)
  6. 3HK (365 day)

PAYG data
  1. Yesim (varies, deducts from sharedWallet)
  2. Dent (10/GB)
  3. RedBullMobile (varies, need to prepay per GB)





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eSIM thread

Old Dec 9, 2023, 8:29 am
  #661  
formerly rt23456p
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 1,193
Am I the only one buying country-specific eSIMs as opposed to universal eSIMs? I usually sort out the order the night before my departure, and often find that country-specific eSIMs are ridiculously cheap compared to universal eSIMs. For example, for 10 USD, I can get a Japanese eSIM with 15 GB of high-speed data for 15 days, with no calling feature, but after exceeding the limit, I still get unlimited 3G (Docomo provider). Similarly, for 18 USD, I can get a US eSIM with 1000 GB of high-speed data for 15 days, including unlimited calling (T-Mobile provider).
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Old Dec 9, 2023, 10:31 am
  #662  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 580
PES_B1,

Please share the MVNO’s with the plans you’ve mentioned. I’m especially interested in hearing about the T-Mobile, 1TB service for only $18, including voice service. Have you actually used this?
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Old Dec 9, 2023, 4:23 pm
  #663  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SJC
Programs: AA, AS, Marriott
Posts: 5,965
Originally Posted by PES_B1
Am I the only one buying country-specific eSIMs as opposed to universal eSIMs?
I have done this but only through Airalo. I am also interested in the MVNOs that you're using for Japan and the US.

If I know that I'll be heading to a location with cheap tourist SIMs, such as Singapore, I'll just buy a physical SIM upon arrival.

I'm looking ahead to a trip I have booked to the Cook Islands in 5 months, and none of my usual options have coverage: T-Mobile, Solis (Skyroam), or even Airalo. Vodafone Cook Islands does have an eSIM available with remote provisioning for NT$49 ~= US$30 for 10 GB data, 30 minutes of talk time (including to some international destinations), and 300 texts. I then have to decide whether to unplug for a few days or stay connected.
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Old Dec 10, 2023, 1:00 am
  #664  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: San Francisco/Sydney
Programs: UA 1K/MM, Hilton Diamond, Marriott Something, IHG Gold, Hertz PC, Avis PC
Posts: 8,113
Originally Posted by CheckInPeach
I had a similar issue with Airalo once in HK. Could connect to the network but no data transferring. Airalo support is usually quite fast but first bothers you will all these standard questions. At the end it turned out that the default APN was wrong and I had to set another one. Then all was fine. I assume it was the same issue with your Global Yo eSIM.
Oh I agree. The nature of what these travel eSIM providers are doing means that there will be issues. Which means that what matters is support. A provider that has no clear way of accessing support, and then takes 4 days to even get back to you as was the case with Global Yo, is clearly not someone that I want to be using as a provider. I haven't had any issues with Airalo eSIMs yet, but at least based on the reports of the few people I've seen that had problems, they are relatively good at getting those issues resolved!

FWIW, the Vodacom (physical) SIM I ended up buying in South Africa has international data roaming for 99 rand (US$5) for 1GB for 7 days. Which is cheaper than any of the eSIMs that were available for my next country, so for now I'm simply using that!
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Old Dec 10, 2023, 1:26 am
  #665  
 
Join Date: Nov 2023
Programs: \_(ツ)_/
Posts: 91
Originally Posted by PES_B1
Am I the only one buying country-specific eSIMs as opposed to universal eSIMs?
It depends on the travel. If I want to visit several countries in a certain region, I usually go for a regional eSIM. If it is just one country, then eSIm for that specific country. For Europe I have a lifetime eSIM.
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Old Dec 10, 2023, 3:28 am
  #666  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SJC
Programs: AA, AS, Marriott
Posts: 5,965
Originally Posted by docbert
I haven't had any issues with Airalo eSIMs yet, but at least based on the reports of the few people I've seen that had problems, they are relatively good at getting those issues resolved!
I've never had an issue of an Airalo eSIM flat out not working after the initial setup, but I did have a poor experience my first time using one in Japan a year ago. Their eSIM from Moshi Moshi was painfully slow to the point that Mrs. Majuki and I were using the 256 kbps data from our T-Mobile plan for faster data. Airalo coincidentally reached out proactively via e-mail, asking for feedback after my first eSIM purchase, and I replied saying I was less than satisfied with my experience. Airalo assured me that they were changing their roaming partners in Japan, refunded my money, and extended the validity of the eSIM. When we returned to Japan in January for a few days prior to coming back to the US, the service was noticeably faster.

...which is cheaper than any of the eSIMs that were available for my next country, so for now I'm simply using that!
I'm the same with a prepaid 3 UK physical SIM. I bought it in January 2020, and amazingly it was still active by the time I got back to the UK in September 2021. Since the SIM gives 4 GB of data for 30 days for 10 and includes service in many European countries, I continue to use that. If I'm not staying in the UK I'll either stop by a store on a Heathrow connection or get a local contact to purchase a top up voucher on my behalf.
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Old Dec 10, 2023, 4:43 am
  #667  
formerly rt23456p
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 1,193
Originally Posted by draver
PES_B1,

Please share the MVNOs with the plans youve mentioned. Im especially interested in hearing about the T-Mobile, 1TB service for only $18, including voice service. Have you actually used this?
I purchased it before on taobao, the process is very simple if you understand some basic level of Chinese
https://m.tb.cn/h.5m79UGX
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Old Dec 10, 2023, 5:23 am
  #668  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 580
Originally Posted by PES_B1
I purchased it before on taobao, the process is very simple if you understand some basic level of Chinese
https://m.tb.cn/h.5m79UGX
I am interested in which service that marketplace offered the MVNO that you used. That link looks like it is a "AliExpress" type vendor, and any info about the sim you acquired would be helpful. It seems others here on FT would also like to know. A Terabyte of data for $18 makes this worth pursuing.
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Old Dec 10, 2023, 6:50 am
  #669  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,296
Originally Posted by draver
I am interested in which service that marketplace offered the MVNO that you used. That link looks like it is a "AliExpress" type vendor, and any info about the sim you acquired would be helpful. It seems others here on FT would also like to know. A Terabyte of data for $18 makes this worth pursuing.
@PES_B1 can you provide details on how they activate the ESim? You can hide the unique activation code, just interested in the server.

My guess is that they're reselling TMobile directly as a business, instead of white labeling some mvno/travel provider, and TMobile doesn't have any data limits
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Old Dec 10, 2023, 7:23 am
  #670  
formerly rt23456p
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 1,193
Originally Posted by paperwastage
@PES_B1 can you provide details on how they activate the ESim? You can hide the unique activation code, just interested in the server.

My guess is that they're reselling TMobile directly as a business, instead of white labeling some mvno/travel provider, and TMobile doesn't have any data limits


This is their manual.
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Old Dec 10, 2023, 7:36 am
  #671  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 3,296
Originally Posted by PES_B1


This is their manual.
https://www.reddit.com/r/tmobile/com...code_for_esim/


Yeah, so they're connecting to T-Mobile directly some how. Maybe a special business plan to allow for free calls to china
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Old Dec 10, 2023, 4:05 pm
  #672  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: SJC
Programs: AA, AS, Marriott
Posts: 5,965
Originally Posted by paperwastage
Yeah, so they're connecting to T-Mobile directly some how...
My guess is they're reselling some business account service (perhaps against the T&Cs).

T-Mobile does have a test drive option, which is an official way of getting connected to their network without any middleman, but I imagine that might be one time use.
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Old Dec 11, 2023, 2:51 pm
  #673  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 815
Originally Posted by draver
I am interested in which service that marketplace offered the MVNO that you used. That link looks like it is a "AliExpress" type vendor, and any info about the sim you acquired would be helpful. It seems others here on FT would also like to know. A Terabyte of data for $18 makes this worth pursuing.
they are either just repackaged Tmobile unlimited plan trial SIM or they have some fake corp contract with tmobile, if you use 1TB in 1 day I'm pretty sure you will get banned.
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Old Dec 11, 2023, 2:55 pm
  #674  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 815
Originally Posted by Majuki
My guess is they're reselling some business account service (perhaps against the T&Cs).

T-Mobile does have a test drive option, which is an official way of getting connected to their network without any middleman, but I imagine that might be one time use.
yeah I'm pretty sure they are just resell you a Tmobile trial plan, that's why the selling list max is 90 days........

these sellers are doing crazy staff, they will sell one euro prepaid sim to multi users, since most chinese oversea tour just last 10 days, so they can sell a monthly prepaid sim to 3 users!
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Old Dec 11, 2023, 3:26 pm
  #675  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 815
Originally Posted by Repooc17
Is there a short term (less than a week) eSim plan someone can recommend for use in Europe? The ability for phone calls would be more important than data, as I can get wifi pretty much everywhere I need to be. Thanks.

Also, have an unlocked phone if swapping physical sim might be cheaper.
WOO eSIM Europe 30GB for $19 included calls https://esim-europe.com/ https://www.woo.pt/en
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