eSIM South Africa: compare, buy, and travel connected

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The breathtaking landscapes and culture are undoubtedly one of the main tourist attractions in South Africa. Of course, not to mention the vast and wonderful wildlife of this country because let’s face it, it would be incredible to photograph a magnificent lion in its natural habitat, and it is even better to share this experience with your friends. Therefore, so that you always stay connected and can enjoy your trip to the fullest, we recommend eSIM for South Africa.

In fact, eSIMs are a type of virtual SIM card that allows you to stay connected to the internet at all times without the need for a physical chip, as with traditional SIM cards. Also, among the benefits of this card are that it’s effortless to buy, and you can avoid excessive costs in international roaming. 

We will tell you how they work, their main features, plans, and cellular operators that offer this service, as well as their costs and requirements.

What you should know about eSIM South Africa

South Africa is a country full of experiences, cities, fauna, and endless landscapes that will live forever in your memory and surely on your social media as well. But before making a hasty decision you should know the main requirements to buy an eSIM, so your trip to the roots of humanity will be a wonderful experience!

  • First, check that your cell phone is compatible with an eSIM because it is a relatively new technology, and some devices are incompatible.
  • In like manner, check that your device is supported by the operator or eSIM card provider. So, we anticipate that the iPhone XR or more recent versions are preferred by the companies that provide the virtual SIM.
  • In addition, you must have an email to register and receive your eSIM.
  • Not to mention, to activate your eSIM you must have an internet connection since your eSIM profile will be downloaded from the operator’s servers. Also, you can do this in South Africa from a WiFi spot.
  • Finally, some providers will ask you to install their app to download the eSIM.

Mobile providers of eSIM cards to travel to South Africa

Correspondingly, you must know the main eSIM providers in South Africa. However, keep in mind that these companies offer this service for people who visit the country for tourism or business purposes. So, if you are a resident of South Africa and want to change your traditional chip for an eSIM, later we will tell you which providers you can do it with.

  • MTX Connect
  • Flexiroam
  • Truphone

Prices and data plans of eSIM providers to travel to South Africa

Now that you’re familiar with the providers, you should now know the types of plans they offer. At this point, you must keep in mind that the variation in prices can occur for different reasons, like coverage in South Africa, previous roaming agreements, and even your available payment methods. 

Holafly plans and prices in South Africa

  • 6 GB for 15 days at $44

MTX Connect plans and prices in South Africa

  • 2 GB for 7 days at $17.75
  • 4 GB for 14 days at $29.62
  • 10 GB for 30 days at $71.23

Flexiroam plans and prices in South Africa

  • 3 GB for 8 days at $15.40 
  • 5 GB for 15 days at $25.90
  • 10 GB for 24 days at $41.30

Truphone plans and prices in South Africa

  • 3 GB for 30 days at $38
  • 5 GB for 30 days at $64

Comparison of eSIM providers for South Africa

ProviderDataDaysPriceLanguageSales channels
MTX Connect2 GB7$17.75English, Russian, French, and ChineseWeb, App Store, Play Store
MTX Connect4 GB14$29.62English, Russian, French, and ChineseWeb, App Store, Play Store
MTX Connect 10 GB 30$71.23English, Russian, French, and ChineseWeb, App Store, Play Store
Flexiroam3 GB 8$15.40EnglishWeb, App Store, Play Store
Flexiroam5 GB15$25.90EnglishWeb, App Store, Play Store
Flexiroam10 GB24$41.30EnglishWeb, App Store, Play Store
Truphone3 GB30$38EnglishWeb, App Store, Play Store
Truphone5 GB 30$64EnglishWeb, Play Store, App Store
Holafly6 GB15$44Spanish, English, French, and GermanWeb
Table 1. Comparison of eSIM providers to connect to the internet in South Africa.

Features of the eSIM to travel to South Africa

The eSIM, being a virtual card, has several differences compared to the traditional physical SIM, so you must know all these card’s features before making the final decision. This way you will avoid dissatisfaction or inconveniences when buying it.

  • First thing to remember, most eSIM cards don’t offer analog calls, only data. But with the plans offered on the market, you can make voice calls using apps like Skype or WhatsApp.
  • Another key point is that they can be installed only once, so, if you’re having problems with your eSIM card, don’t delete it from your cell phone and contact your eSIM provider instead.
  • Important to realize, some eSIMs configure the APN automatically.
  • You can add multiple data plans on your iPhone, but this depends on the available memory, although it’s only possible to use one at a time.
  • On the positive side, some eSIMs allow you to share data.
  • You will have a dual-SIM iPhone, as you will be able to keep your domestic SIM when you travel to South Africa. But, remember to set up your iPhone to avoid surprise invoices.

Coverage of the eSIM to travel to South Africa

When contacting the provider, you have chosen to buy an eSIM, don’t forget to ask about the coverage they have in South Africa since it usually changes depending on the agreements that each provider has with national companies. With this in mind, you should know the coverage maps of the main companies:

  • MTN
  • Cell C
  • Vodacom

MTN 4G coverage map in South Africa

MTN coverage map in South Africa. Source: GSMA

Cell C 4G coverage map in South Africa

Cell C coverage map in South Africa. Source: GSMA

Vodacom 4G coverage map in South Africa

Vodacom coverage map in South Africa. Source: GSMA

Local Mobile operators offering eSIM in South Africa

As we mentioned before, if you are a resident of South Africa or plan to live in this fascinating country and want to buy an eSIM as a resident, there’s a company in South Africa that offers this service. However, remember that the requirements that we mentioned during the article may change depending on company policy.

  • MTN

FAQ about eSIM in South Africa

Finally, you made it to the end! Without delay, thank you very much for reading us. For the most part, we hope this information has been useful to you and that your trip to South Africa is a complete success. We leave you some frequently asked questions that travelers usually have when buying an eSIM for South Africa.

How to activate the eSIM for South Africa?

After installing the virtual SIM profile, you must choose it as the default means of cellular data, activate data, and roaming and your virtual SIM should now work.

Do I need a passport to buy the eSIM South Africa?

It’s not necessary to present a passport, but some providers do require your address. This applies only to the eSIM for tourists, and not to the eSIM offered by MTN, who will ask for your information.

Can I share data or activate tethering with the eSIM in South Africa?

Yes, eSIMs for South Africa will allow you to share your data with other devices. However, we recommend checking with the provider’s customer service.

Do international prepaid eSIM cards expire?

Yes, like physical cards, virtual SIMs also have an expiration date.

When does the eSIM data plan start?

From the moment you activate your eSIM, by scanning the QR code on your phone.

What cell phones are compatible with the eSIM for South Africa?

Cell phones compatible with the eSIM for South Africa are increasing every day. Remember that if you live in a European or American country and plan to travel to South Africa, you must have a cell phone that is compatible with both eSIM and its bands. If you don’t, you will be left without service in this country, and you will be forced to rent or buy a new cell phone.

To sum up, these are the cell phones in which you can install and activate an eSIM for South Africa. Make sure the eSIM provider supports it: iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone SE 2020, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S20, Samsung Galaxy S20+, Samsung Galaxy S20+ Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S21, Samsung Galaxy S21+, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, Huawei P40, Huawei P40 Pro, Google Pixel 3a, Google Pixel 3a XL, Google Pixel 4, Google Pixel 4a, and the Google Pixel 4a XL.

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