With globalization, traveling around the world is becoming more and more common. Whether for business, tourism, or study, these are the most common reasons for travel. However, when you leave your country, you usually need an internet connection to perform daily activities, and with an international eSIM, you can enjoy data internet while traveling. We’ll explain everything you need to know about it, such as what it is, how to acquire and install it, providers, and more.
Although it is possible to connect to the Internet abroad through data roaming, this service is costly for most companies, so it’s better not to use it. Another option is to get a local SIM card from the country you are traveling to but this isn’t very pleasant to do every time you visit a new country.
What is an international eSIM?
An international eSIM is a virtual SIM card that allows you to access the internet abroad without installing a physical SIM on your phone. You can travel and move from one country to another without worrying about being connected. You can activate in minutes plans for other countries or contract multi-country options.
How does it work?
It works similarly to a local eSIM, installed via a QR or an activation code, which means instant activation. International eSIMs do not usually require a passport or ID to purchase, which is quite beneficial for those who want it simple and quick.
How and where to buy?
You can purchase an eSIM anywhere in the world from an online store. In our case, we recommend the Holafly international eSIM store with options for more than 160 destinations. Where can buy it easily without registering, and you receive the eSIM in a matter of seconds.
It is also possible to purchase them from local operators at each destination you arrive. However, this is less practical. Similar to physical SIM cards, you must find a store and, in most cases, go through registration processes. You would not be taking full advantage of the benefits of virtual SIM cards.
Uses for an international eSIM
The biggest advantage of international eSIMs over physical options is that you can have them immediately anywhere in the world, making it easier to buy them in online stores. But what are the uses? If you are a foreign student or a business traveler, you can use an eSIM on your cell phone to stay connected with your family or colleagues safely and quickly.
Virtual SIM cards are available in phones, computers, tablets, laptops, smartwatches, and even cars! So if any function needs internet, the eSIM can connect you to it! This diversity also allows the IoT to be more present in our days, leading us to a 2.0 world.
Pros and Cons of the International eSIM
Although international eSIMs are not perfect, they stand out for their great advantages, especially for those travelers who like convenience on their trips and peace of mind at all times.
The good stuff…
- Convenience: When traveling to a new country, staying connected to the internet at all times is essential. With an eSIM, you have internet when you arrive at your destination without the need to search, speak other languages, or wait in lines at local stores.
- Unlimited data: You will find unlimited data plans for many destinations. Providers such as Holafly have these packages on international eSIM. So any user will always have a connection no matter how much data they use.
- Easy activation: After purchasing an international eSIM, you will receive an activation QR. Only turning on your data and roaming will activate the eSIM in minutes, even seconds!
- You can do top-ups: to extend your service for more days or if you need more data for your trip.
- Can include minutes to call: Holafly’s international eSIMs include up to 120 minutes to receive and make international calls. This applies to destinations such as Europe, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Ireland and Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Denmark, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Belgium, Malta, Bulgaria, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Latvia, Slovakia and Luxembourg, and others. You can check the destination you are traveling to and verify if it includes minutes.
- Incompatibility: as a novel technology, there are a limited number of compatible phones. Of course, many companies and brands are moving more of their devices to eSIMs than physical SIM cards. For the time being, supported phones are high-end and medium-high-range phones.
Countries included in an international eSIM
Holafly has eSIM data to travel to different continents, mainly Europe, America, and Asia. Similarly and for fewer destinations, there are eSIMs for Africa, The Caribbean, and Oceania.
With this international eSIM, you will have coverage in over 30 European countries. You have eight plans, ranging from $19 for five days of use to $99 for 90 days of use. In all cases, you will have unlimited data with 4G LTE or 5G speed, 60 minutes to receive international calls, and 60 minutes to make calls to Europe except Iceland, Norway, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Turkey.
As for the coverage, you can use the data in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine.
North America and South America virtual SIM cards:
Holafly divides its services into two products, one for North America and one for South America. The international eSIM for North America includes unlimited data in eight plans ranging from 5 to 90 days of usage. They range in price from $34 to $239. With any of the plans, you will have 4G LTE coverage in the USA, Canada, and Mexico.
On the other hand, its international eSIM for South America includes 6GB of browsing for use in 15 days for 44$. You will have 4G LTE coverage in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Chile, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Costa Rica, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay. The eSIM for both regions can be extended thanks to top-ups whenever you need more data or more days of use.
If you are visiting one of the fantastic Caribbean islands, then the Holafly eSIM have coverage in the following countries of this region: Aruba, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, British Virgin Island, Cayman Island, Dominica, French Guiana, Saint Kitss and Nevis, St. Lucias, St. Vicent e grenadine.
For these destinations, we found an eSIM with 7GB of navigation to use in 15 days and cost $ 54$. Whenever available, you will be connected at 4G LTE speed.
There are two options available with Holafly, one for 15 days of use with 6GB for $44 and one for 30 days of service with 10GB for $54. Both options with 4G LTE coverage in South Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, and Laos.
Asia is one of the continents where language is entirely different from Western countries. For this reason, it is advisable to take an international eSIM with you before traveling to avoid setbacks and to receive support in English.
International eSIM cards for Africa:
As we have already mentioned, eSIMs for African destinations tend to be quite limited, keeping in mind that in some of them, having an Internet connection is a privilege, and a mobile network connection is not that good. But, Holafly offers eSIMs to a good number of countries in this continent, which are:
Morocco, Egypt, Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.
For this region, something similar happens, Holafly does not have a unique eSIM for both countries but it does have unlimited data options for each of them. You can find an international eSIM for New Zealand and one for Australia, both lands with plans of 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 days of use. In all cases, you have unlimited data with prices between 19$ and 54$.
How to activate an international eSIM?
After the purchase, you receive an email with a QR code. This code must be scanned with your eSIM-compatible cell phone to download the virtual SIM profile. When downloading and installing the eSIM profile, you only need to turn on mobile data and data roaming to activate your international eSIM.
As a plus for Apple customers, Holafly has a new eSIM app for iPhone. With it, users can easily activate, install and manage the eSIM from their cellphones after buying it in the Holafly virtual store.
Best international eSIM providers
Several online stores offer international eSIM services. We will quickly look at some of the options indicating the accessibility of their website, regional options, and worldwide coverage.
Holafly is a provider of international eSIMs for travel. It works on Android and iOS devices. Their eSIMs can be purchased from their online website. It stands out for offering data plans in more than 160 countries worldwide. Among them are the United States, 32 countries in Europe, Mexico, Japan, and China. This company offers its products and customer service in English, Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, and Italian.
Yesim is an app for iOS and Android aimed at selling international eSIM cards for 125 destinations. Through the Yesim app, customers can manage the data plan of their eSIM and customize some preferences. You can find its official website in various languages, which you can configure once you enter the page. However, they do not have as many regional eSIM options as other providers.
The Truphone eSIM is aimed at both everyday users and companies or organizations. These eSIMs have GSMA technology that guarantees high reliability and a more comprehensive operation. You can view their website in five languages to facilitate the service purchase and it has regional options for Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America only.
Finally, this data provider offers eSIMs for different destinations to tourists, international business agents, and digital nomads, with a website available in three languages. They sell eSIMs for global use and you will be able to check the coverage of their service on an interactive map on their website. You can purchase an eSIM on a pay-as-you-go basis, although this is more expensive. They also have a thirty-day, 10 GB usage plan.
Alternatives similar to the international eSIM
The eSIM is an efficient solution to have internet abroad. However, other options exist, such as international roaming, pocket WiFi, or SIM cards, for those looking for alternatives or do not have phones compatible with eSIMs. We will give you detailed information about these options for your choice.
It is perhaps the best-known service and you have it at hand in most cases, after getting a plan with your mobile operator. Some offer it for free (as is the case in the EU roaming) and sometimes there are special rates.
These regional agreements, such as the one with Europe, are not very common, so it is normal to find costly rates for roaming in other countries. Considering this, you can check the rates with your local operator and compare concerning other options. For each destination, the cost usually varies and it is advisable to check the usage policies in case they affect your connection speed. With roaming, you can call, text, and use data abroad with your local mobile plan.
This is the most similar alternative to eSIM with the difference that they are physical chips. You can also buy them in online stores or with local operators. For tourists, usually offer the same options as a virtual SIM card, such as data for navigation and, in some cases, phone numbers to send texts or make calls. Being physical, when you buy them in online stores, you must wait for the shipment. This is usually the solution when you do not have an eSIM-compatible phone.
Having a portable WiFi network always at hand is the dream of many, and Pocket WiFi is the solution. With this device, you will be able to connect to the internet on your travels through a wireless network that makes use of mobile data from a SIM card.
Pocket WiFi and international roaming are the most expensive options for connecting to the internet abroad. With the service, you must remember that you are paying not only for the use of mobile networks but also for the rental of the device, insurance, shipping, and return.
Frequently asked questions about international eSIM
The price of an international eSIM depends on the continent you are traveling to and the number of days you’ll be traveling. In this case, the international eSIM cards are prepaid and include data adjusted to the travel days.
This is the biggest advantage of this product! An international data eSIM can be delivered to your email in seconds or minutes. There is no need to wait hours to enjoy this service.
For many European destinations, Holafly includes a telephone number with which you can make and receive international calls.
At the moment, this function is not enabled. However, this is not a disadvantage on your trips because you can receive conventional messages for free on your regular SIM.