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 Feb 5, 2019, 7:47 pm
  #1  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: ORD
Posts: 14,130
eSIM thread

I thought I'd start a thread to talk about carriers that offer eSIM functionality on Android or iOS. On a lark, I just set up a Ubigi account and paid $5 for 500MB of data. It was surprisingly easy to do and works pretty well. T-mobile downloaded and uploaded at about 20Mbps in my speed test, while Verizon (my main carrier) did 120 down and 20 up.

I'm looking forward to using this in France this summer.

What other fun things have you found with eSIM?
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gfunkdave is offline  
Old Feb 13, 2019, 9:26 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 916
Can you tell us about Ubigi ?
not much on Google about it ,

Oops found the page , interesting and looks easy to setup as you can use PayPal
prices are not bad but not cheap either ,

let us know how it works out,

Thanks

Last edited by LAXlocal; Feb 13, 2019 at 10:08 am
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Old Feb 13, 2019, 12:27 pm
  #3  
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It worked fine. I'll use them again when I go to France this summer. Much cheaper than Verizon's $10/day roaming.
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Old Feb 15, 2019, 10:44 pm
  #4  
 
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Interesting. I've been keeping a Vodafone NL SIM alive for use in Europe -- it is €15 for 2GB, €20 for 3GB in a month (30 days) good all over the EU. And often there is a special where they double the data. My original plan was to move my T-Mobile plan over to the eSIM and put the Vodafone in for data. But T-Mobile seems to be taking forever to release the eSIM for post paid plans (and yes I know if you work the reps you might get it to work). This is a tad more expensive but gives more options should I travel somewhere else. And I don't have to wait for T-Mobile
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Old Feb 16, 2019, 7:18 am
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by TheMadBrewer
Interesting. I've been keeping a Vodafone NL SIM alive for use in Europe -- it is 15 for 2GB, 20 for 3GB in a month (30 days) good all over the EU. And often there is a special where they double the data. My original plan was to move my T-Mobile plan over to the eSIM and put the Vodafone in for data. But T-Mobile seems to be taking forever to release the eSIM for post paid plans (and yes I know if you work the reps you might get it to work). This is a tad more expensive but gives more options should I travel somewhere else. And I don't have to wait for T-Mobile
I agree this is interesting. I also had initially thought that I'd try to use an eSIM for my primary carrier and then buy local physical SIMs when traveling. What I like about this concept, assuming its dependable and cost competitive, is I don't have to hassle with waiting in line at an Orange shop in Paris for 20 minutes, then taking another 20 minutes to get the deal done (and having them photocopy my passport, etc.)

This is very interesting indeed. Curious to see if others offer a competing product in this eSIM space.

Regards
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Old Feb 16, 2019, 10:13 am
  #6  
 
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I too like The Mad Brewer have been waiting on t-mobile to get the e-sim on post-paid plans. Leaving at the end of the month wish I could just have my eSim working so I could have my Three sim card in the slot. Or Three had an eSim compatible sim card.
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Old Feb 17, 2019, 10:24 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 409
Anyone have experience wit GigSky eSIM? Pricing is higher than Ubigi, but looks a bit more polished. Also, Ubigi site says 'Data Roaming' setting needs to be set to On, which worries me when traveling internationally - what if Ubigi 'fails' somehow and then my primary account data gets used. With GigSky data roaming is left off (according to their site), as their service is 'local' to the country you are using it in. There always seems to be trade-offs.
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Old Feb 17, 2019, 10:28 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 409
This is a big part of my interest as well. In some countries it is quite easy to get a prepaid SIM, but in others it is a pain. Your reference to Paris made me laugh, as my experience took closer to an hour before I finally had a working SIM. I'd just rather not have to give up that time dealing with a SIM.

Originally Posted by scubadu
... What I like about this concept, assuming its dependable and cost competitive, is I don't have to hassle with waiting in line at an Orange shop in Paris for 20 minutes, then taking another 20 minutes to get the deal done (and having them photocopy my passport, etc.)
Regards
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Old Feb 17, 2019, 11:06 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Posts: 6,933
Originally Posted by PackingIt
This is a big part of my interest as well. In some countries it is quite easy to get a prepaid SIM, but in others it is a pain. Your reference to Paris made me laugh, as my experience took closer to an hour before I finally had a working SIM. I'd just rather not have to give up that time dealing with a SIM.
LOL, oh mine likely was much closer to an hour as well, I was just being nice!

And in some ways, the whole photocopy your passport thing is actually more annoying/concerning to me than the time, but certainly would just prefer to hit the ground running, no fuss no muss.

Regards
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Old Feb 17, 2019, 2:47 pm
  #10  
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Originally Posted by PackingIt
Anyone have experience wit GigSky eSIM? Pricing is higher than Ubigi, but looks a bit more polished. Also, Ubigi site says 'Data Roaming' setting needs to be set to On, which worries me when traveling internationally - what if Ubigi 'fails' somehow and then my primary account data gets used. With GigSky data roaming is left off (according to their site), as their service is 'local' to the country you are using it in. There always seems to be trade-offs.
I tried GigSky in December in Korea and Japan. My home plan allows 2GB a month in other countries but that doesnt last me through a 2-3 week trip. It is possible to buy a SIM in Japan, plus one in Korea, but you have to go to a shop, set it up, etc, plus your home number wont work while youre using a different SIM, so GigSky was worth a try, as I love the idea of always having my home SIM available while travelling. Its not a bargain, but it was definitely worth it for me to have internet as soon as I landed in Seoul and again in Osaka. The Gigsky setup was quick and easy, it basically does itself. I used the eSIM until the data ran out, then switched to my home SIM. Worked perfectly and Ill definitely do it again for trips around this length.
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Old Feb 17, 2019, 6:02 pm
  #11  
 
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The only issue I see of the top with GigSky is the plan's terms are a bit short -- 15 days for 2GB plan. That would probably be enough but occasionally my trips are a bit longer: 16-18 days or even 3 full weeks. I could use my T-Mobile plan for the extra days and be OK, but it would be nice if the plan lasted longer.
TheMadBrewer is offline  
Old Feb 17, 2019, 11:37 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 409
For trips that long, it may still be worth it to you to just get a local SIM.

Originally Posted by TheMadBrewer
The only issue I see of the top with GigSky is the plan's terms are a bit short -- 15 days for 2GB plan. That would probably be enough but occasionally my trips are a bit longer: 16-18 days or even 3 full weeks. I could use my T-Mobile plan for the extra days and be OK, but it would be nice if the plan lasted longer.
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Old Feb 17, 2019, 11:42 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 409
Thanks for the info! Ive also been impressed at how quickly theyve responded to my CS emails. I obviously want to pay as little as possible for data when traveling, but also want confidence that it will work when needed and as advertised. When traveling, be it for pleasure or work, I dont want to be worrying about this aspect of the trip.

Originally Posted by BonViveur
I tried GigSky in December in Korea and Japan. My home plan allows 2GB a month in other countries but that doesnt last me through a 2-3 week trip. It is possible to buy a SIM in Japan, plus one in Korea, but you have to go to a shop, set it up, etc, plus your home number wont work while youre using a different SIM, so GigSky was worth a try, as I love the idea of always having my home SIM available while travelling. Its not a bargain, but it was definitely worth it for me to have internet as soon as I landed in Seoul and again in Osaka. The Gigsky setup was quick and easy, it basically does itself. I used the eSIM until the data ran out, then switched to my home SIM. Worked perfectly and Ill definitely do it again for trips around this length.
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Old Feb 18, 2019, 12:27 am
  #14  
 
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Originally Posted by PackingIt
For trips that long, it may still be worth it to you to just get a local SIM.
That is what I do now but entails two phones (since I have to be available on my US number). Before the Euro Tariff it would require a local SIM for each country but now I just have a Dutch Vodafone SIM I keep alive (can top-up with US credit card) which is good in EU + Switzerland. Plan was to transfer my T-Mobile postpaid to the eSIM but TMO has been dragging their feet so this (Ubigi/GigSky) seems like an alternative.
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Old Feb 18, 2019, 4:30 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,285
I'd be interested in Thai AIS Sim2Fly roaming sim within Asia & AU if it were a little easier to top up SIM2FLY the best-value roaming SIM for everyone! They currently only setup eSIM in store and top up can be tricky outside Thailand for non-Thai residents. They also offer a "Global" 15 GB/1 year for ~ $90 USD = $ 6 per GB. It might be an interesting option for those who can't get/don't want ProjectFi/T-Mobile and want to minimize some of the local sim signup hassles. Same plan is available with a physical sim.

Are there any other non-US local sims with better roaming packages than global roaming providers?
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