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 Jul 27, 2019, 4:53 am
  #106  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: NYC
Posts: 6,387
Originally Posted by sixpaq
Think about how carriers make their money for a second and it will make sense to you. eSIMs are the end of contracts, ie recurring carrier revenue.
It is not that difficult to swap a physical SIM. An eSIM carrier could sign you up to a year long contract.
richarddd is offline  
Old Jul 28, 2019, 9:26 am
  #107  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 409
GigSky - Italy and France

So just a final wrap post about my Gigsky eSIM experience. In a nutshell, it worked perfectly. All my pre-trip questions were answered promptly. The eSIM worked as expected. Pricing value is subjective, but I would absolutely use Gigsky again.

Travel tip: purely as an aside, here's something that worked great for me: Setting Google Voice to use data only, I made all local calls using GV, which charges roughly 1 cent USD per minute. Pretty inexpensive I would say. Mitigated the need for a local SIM. And all incoming calls came through GV data only as well.

Last edited by PackingIt; Jul 28, 2019 at 9:32 am
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Old Jul 28, 2019, 10:19 am
  #108  
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Hawai'i Nei
Programs: Au: UA, Marriott, Hilton; GE
Posts: 7,075
Originally Posted by PackingIt
So just a final wrap post about my Gigsky eSIM experience. In a nutshell, it worked perfectly. All my pre-trip questions were answered promptly. The eSIM worked as expected. Pricing value is subjective, but I would absolutely use Gigsky again.

Travel tip: purely as an aside, here's something that worked great for me: Setting Google Voice to use data only, I made all local calls using GV, which charges roughly 1 cent USD per minute. Pretty inexpensive I would say. Mitigated the need for a local SIM. And all incoming calls came through GV data only as well.
A bit confused re your post, and hoping you can clarify:

1. You paid for Gigsky, and it worked perfectly
2. You used Google Voice for data only, but
3. You made calls using Google Voice

Not really sure what was the purpose of Gigsky and how you really integrated all your options.
747FC is offline  
Old Jul 28, 2019, 11:18 am
  #109  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 409
Apologies for the confusion. I'll try and break it down this way:

- Using GigSky data eSIM for the convenience of not having to remove my current SIM (which causes issues with iMessage, etc), and being able to immediately have data when I arrive in my destination.
- To avoid the risk of getting any charges from my cellular provider, I forwarded my calls to my Google Voice number. This, theoretically, helped me avoid any international charges related to getting voicemails or inadvertently answering an incoming call, both of which incur international charges, or would trigger the AT&T International Day Pass which I have on my plan.
- Using Google Voice in data only mode, I was able to use the Google Voice app to receive and make calls both local and back to home (USA). Calls to home were free, and local (Italy) calls were 1 cent USD per minute, which is quite inexpensive. And this is all over the data I get from the GigSky eSIM.

Hope that helped clarify. Let me know if not!

Originally Posted by 747FC
A bit confused re your post, and hoping you can clarify:

1. You paid for Gigsky, and it worked perfectly
2. You used Google Voice for data only, but
3. You made calls using Google Voice

Not really sure what was the purpose of Gigsky and how you really integrated all your options.

Last edited by PackingIt; Jul 28, 2019 at 11:36 am
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Old Aug 10, 2019, 7:48 pm
  #110  
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Join Date: Mar 2010
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Posts: 19,610
Originally Posted by sixpaq
I was able to provision a Three HK prepaid roaming eSIM on a Google Pixel 3a without any issues.

Three's roaming plan is 10 days at 500MB/day, throttled to 128kbps after you hit the daily quota. You can buy it directly from Three's web site for HKD $138 (USD $17.58).

Roaming coverage countries
--
APAC: China, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Australia
N. America: USA, Canada
Europe: United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland, Denmark, Austria, France
I just saw your post and I think I may have found a good cheap solution for travelling around Asia. Does Three accept foreign credit cards? Can I reload and basically make this my permanent line when travelling? Will Three restrict my usage or terminate my account if I roam exclusively or use the e-sim outside of HK 99% of the time?
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Old Aug 11, 2019, 9:44 am
  #111  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: BWI,IAD,DCA
Programs: UA gold, Hyatt Plat Marriott silver,Hilton Gold, PC Plat., SPG Gold.,Hertz Gold, Global Entry
Posts: 650
Originally Posted by lsquare
I just saw your post and I think I may have found a good cheap solution for travelling around Asia. Does Three accept foreign credit cards? Can I reload and basically make this my permanent line when travelling? Will Three restrict my usage or terminate my account if I roam exclusively or use the e-sim outside of HK 99% of the time?
Does Three have the esim active? Are is this for just HK? Not the United Kingdom?
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Old Aug 12, 2019, 7:17 pm
  #112  
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Posts: 19,610
Originally Posted by powerlifter
Does Three have the esim active? Are is this for just HK? Not the United Kingdom?
This offer is from Three HK and not Three UK. I don't know what Three UK offers at the moment.
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Old Aug 17, 2019, 3:30 am
  #113  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 15
Originally Posted by lsquare
I just saw your post and I think I may have found a good cheap solution for travelling around Asia. Does Three accept foreign credit cards? Can I reload and basically make this my permanent line when travelling? Will Three restrict my usage or terminate my account if I roam exclusively or use the e-sim outside of HK 99% of the time?
I was going to buy this offer, but I stopped when I read in the FAQs in 3 HK website the following statement: "Recommend to activate the eSIM in HK". Are we sure that it can be activated directly in an another country (in my case, South Korea)? Thanks.

Last edited by Michele De Acetis; Aug 17, 2019 at 3:41 am Reason: Correct typos
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Old Aug 17, 2019, 11:48 am
  #114  
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Originally Posted by Michele De Acetis
I was going to buy this offer, but I stopped when I read in the FAQs in 3 HK website the following statement: "Recommend to activate the eSIM in HK". Are we sure that it can be activated directly in an another country (in my case, South Korea)? Thanks.
I haven't tried it yet. Maybe you can find out for us?
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Old Aug 18, 2019, 2:14 am
  #115  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 15
Originally Posted by lsquare
I haven't tried it yet. Maybe you can find out for us?
I'd prefer not to be a beta tester for that
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Old Aug 18, 2019, 4:17 pm
  #116  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,285
Originally Posted by lsquare
I haven't tried it yet. Maybe you can find out for us?
I activated an 3HK esim in US on AT&T with iPhone XS. It took ~ 30 min and I manually connected to AT&T (3HK US roaming partner) while waiting for activation confirmation sms. A few others on flyertalk and reddit have reported activating outside HK if you dig around, though I wouldn't be surprised if YMMV based on roaming network. The 3HK management app is not available in the US app store. I had no issues purchasing an additional 1 day package with Chase Visa and haven't used it, yet, so can't confirm performance or how to keep it valid.

Also FYI, activating any eSIM + Verizon physical sim results in the Verizon app not being able to load Verizon account details & timing out. The Verizon website still works as it prompts for account login. This was also reported on reddit a bit after the dual sim iPhone was released and I recently reported it as a bug, too.

esimdb blog details some of their experiences with using and reloading in Japanese
https://esimdb.com/ja/blog/tag/3-hong-kong/
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Old Aug 19, 2019, 4:15 am
  #117  
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Posts: 15
Originally Posted by freecia
I activated an 3HK esim in US on AT&T with iPhone XS. It took ~ 30 min and I manually connected to AT&T (3HK US roaming partner) while waiting for activation confirmation sms. A few others on flyertalk and reddit have reported activating outside HK if you dig around, though I wouldn't be surprised if YMMV based on roaming network. The 3HK management app is not available in the US app store. I had no issues purchasing an additional 1 day package with Chase Visa and haven't used it, yet, so can't confirm performance or how to keep it valid.

Also FYI, activating any eSIM + Verizon physical sim results in the Verizon app not being able to load Verizon account details & timing out. The Verizon website still works as it prompts for account login. This was also reported on reddit a bit after the dual sim iPhone was released and I recently reported it as a bug, too.

esimdb blog details some of their experiences with using and reloading in Japanese
https://esimdb.com/ja/blog/tag/3-hong-kong/
Thanks a lot for the info. Very helpful.

M.
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Old Aug 19, 2019, 2:50 pm
  #118  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,285
Forgot to note eSIM activation requires wifi (or other cellular data) as it needs internet to activate the profile.

Deleting an iPhone XS/XR eSIM entirely seems to involve resetting all settings and not just network https://forums.macrumors.com/threads...#post-27619050 https://forums.macrumors.com/threads...#post-27619900 Hopefully they'll fix that in the next major release. Something to keep in mind.
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Old Aug 19, 2019, 2:59 pm
  #119  
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Originally Posted by freecia
Forgot to note eSIM activation requires wifi (or other cellular data) as it needs internet to activate the profile.

Deleting an iPhone XS/XR eSIM entirely seems to involve resetting all settings and not just network https://forums.macrumors.com/threads...#post-27619050 https://forums.macrumors.com/threads...#post-27619900 Hopefully they'll fix that in the next major release. Something to keep in mind.
So only 10 day plans are available? Possible to get 30 day plan? You like what you're getting so far?
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Old Aug 19, 2019, 4:12 pm
  #120  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,285
Originally Posted by lsquare
So only 10 day plans are available? Possible to get 30 day plan? You like what you're getting so far?
I haven't used the loaded data, yet. 30 days would be 3 10-day plans (or 30 1 day plans), though the 10-day plan doesn't have to be used sequentially. It roams on AT&T in the US so you're welcome to try it ahead of time.

Another FT'ers 3HK roaming in JP experience here: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/30953289-post489.html
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