eSIM: Travelers Internet For Everybody
2 years after the start of COVID-19, more and more countries are opening their borders. Travel-related issues are becoming relevant again, including the issue of communication.
Internet abroad may be required both for entertainment purposes and for tasks such as “call a taxi”, “build a route”, “find a restaurant”, “report that everything is in order” and so on.
In this article, we will talk about how to prepare your smartphone for traveling abroad, as well as about a convenient feature for travelers — an electronic SIM card (eSIM) or virtual phone number SMS.
A Few Words About eSIM
eSIM is a virtual SIM card, it is not supposed to have a physical carrier, it does not need to be inserted into the phone. It is enough to buy and configure in the appropriate menu of your smartphone.
It means that buying and using such a card in your country is mostly pointless, and traveling abroad is convenient and often profitable.
Seasoned travelers know that before flying abroad, it is necessary to prepare your tariff and phone number in order not to get into an unpleasant situation. The first part of the article is devoted to this topic.
*Note: If you use the Internet abroad at your basic rate, the Internet bill may be cosmic! There are articles on the Internet that tell that one or another subscriber owes hundreds of thousands of dollars to a mobile operator.
What to do?
- Firstly, it is necessary to prepare the tariff of your home operator for the trip.
- Secondly, you need to prepare your smartphone for the trip.
- Finally, in some cases, it is possible and necessary to buy eSIM for travelers in order to save money on the Internet abroad.
Let’s prepare your home tariff. There are the following options for “preparation”.
Completely disable the possibility of using the Internet abroad, i.e. even if you accidentally turn it on your phone. The Internet will not work for you and money will not be debited from the account. This option is suitable for those who are 100% sure that they will not need Internet from their home operator abroad.
Do not block access to the Internet at the operator level, but instead connect a special service that will allow you to use the Internet abroad at a special rate. Often, such a tariff with a special option is also not particularly cheap — it can cost about several hundred dollars for one day of use. Not very cheap, but it’s at least not a few thousand dollars for a couple of hundred kilobytes without special services.
Some operators charge money from the account only for the fact of using the service, i.e. if you connect the service and do not use it, the money will not be debited, and if you use it for one day, it will be debited for one day of use.
Option 2 is suitable in the following cases:
- You don’t want to bother with buying SIM cards abroad and are ready to spend the amount specified in the tariff at least every day.
- You need internet for a couple of days (for example, on the day of arrival and the day of departure).
- You do not plan to use the Internet from your operator at all, but connect it in an emergency.
- You are traveling to several countries and in some countries it is more profitable to use a special option from your operator, and in others there are other options (for example, to buy a physical SIM card on the spot or to buy an eSIM).
Useful to know:
- Services and special tariffs for the Internet abroad from different operators may be called differently and change over time.
- After connecting/disconnecting the necessary services, we would recommend asking the mobile operator support a question like “Is everything you need connected on my tariff to block the use of the Internet abroad?” or “Is everything you need connected on my tariff to use the Internet abroad at the tariff of so-and-so?”.
Why Is This Important?
The fact is that sometimes in order to use the Internet abroad at the right tariff or to block its use, it may be necessary to include not one service, but a combination of services, and it may not be known to the ordinary man in the street. And it also happens that due to a technical failure, the service you are connecting has NOT connected (and you will only find out about it when your account is empty by several thousand dollars).
If you miss this moment and “get” to “many thousands of dollars”, then you will be tormented to prove something to the operator. Their answer is simple — “they didn’t connect — your problems, you should have read the contract that you signed more carefully.”
If the correctness of the connected services is confirmed to you by an employee of the mobile operator, then you can not worry too much (it is only advisable to take a screenshot of the dialogue with the support employee).
eSIM: Travelers Internet
eSIM technology appeared only a few years ago, not all phones support it. Before purchasing an eSIM, be sure to check that your model has eSIM support.
Even if your phone supports eSIM, make sure that the “slot” for eSIM in your phone is free. As a rule, if you use a physical SIM card for a home operator, then you will have a free slot for eSIM. If you are already using eSIM for your home operator, the eSIM slot issued by the operator may be occupied.
Starting from 2021, two eSIM slots are starting to appear, for example, iPhone 13 Pro. So you will have one slot free even if you have already installed eSIM to work with your home operator’s tariff.
In addition, you can buy eSIM for travelers in advance, and activate it later (before traveling).
eSIM+ Plus for travelers may be required in a situation where your home operator does not provide the possibility of using the Internet abroad or its cost is high, while:
- You do not want to bother with buying a physical SIM card abroad, or in this particular country it is simply impossible.
- Your phone does not support the installation of a second physical SIM card (but supports a second eSIM) and it is important for you that your home SIM card remains in the phone during the trip.
What Are The Advantages?
The cost of the Internet when using eSIM for travelers is often (but not always) cheaper than when using the Internet from your home operator with special options connected.
Your main SIM card can remain in your phone, you will still be able to receive SMS messages, and even make and receive calls if necessary, but for the Internet you will use eSIM.
Therefore, if you are planning a trip, and you need a stable and inexpensive Internet, pay attention to eSIM.