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Navigating the Unknown: Unlimited Data eSIM FAQs Demystified

What is eSIM?

Person holding a smartphone with an eSIM activation screen

Empowering your device: The ease of activating eSIMs brings convenience to the palm of your hand.

eSIM, short for embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card technology that is built into a device rather than being connected to a physical card. It functions like a traditional SIM card, allowing the smartphone or device to connect to a mobile network to make calls, send text messages, and access the internet.

Unlike traditional SIM cards, eSIMs do not require physical swapping or insertion of a plastic SIM card into the device to switch over. Instead, the eSIM is a programmable chip that can be activated and used remotely. This technology offers the flexibility of switching between different carriers and enables multiple profiles on a single device.

How does eSIM data plan work?

To understand how eSIM technology works, it is important for users to know that it operates through a subscription model. You can choose a mobile carrier and download the corresponding eSIM profile onto your device. This profile contains the necessary information to connect the device to the chosen carrier’s network, such as the authentication key and network access credentials.

How does eSIM compare to physical SIM cards?

Using eSIM for mobile data offers several advantages, including the ability to switch between carriers easily, no need for physical SIM cards, and the convenience of activating data roaming or changing data plans remotely. It also eliminates the risk of losing or damaging a physical SIM card.

Is my device eSIM compatible?

To determine if your device is compatible with eSIM, you can check the device’s specifications or consult your device’s manufacturer or your mobile service provider.

Many modern smartphones and tablets support eSIM functionality. Devices from manufacturers like Apple, Google, Samsung, and others often come with eSIM support. Some smartwatches and wearable devices also support eSIMs, allowing them to connect to mobile networks independently.

Can I use eSIMs for data-only devices like tablets or laptops?

Data-only eSIM plans are available for devices such as tablets, laptops, and mobile hotspots, providing internet connectivity without voice or SMS services. Manufacturers like Microsoft and Lenovo offer eSIM support in most newer models.

Consult your device’s user manual or visit the manufacturer’s website for information and instructions on eSIM compatibility. On compatible devices, you can usually find eSIM settings in the settings menu, which will allow you to install, add, delete and manage eSIM profiles.

Is my device “unlocked” to use an eSIM?

If you’re not sure whether your device is unlocked or locked, you can:

  • Contact your current mobile service provider and ask them if your device is locked. They can provide you with information on how to unlock it if it is currently locked.

  • Check your device’s settings or documentation for information on carrier lock status. Some devices have settings or features that allow you to check the lock status.

  • Visit your mobile service provider’s website or call their customer support to inquire about unlocking your device.

If your device is locked, you may need to contact your network provider to request an unlock, especially if you intend to use an eSIM from a different carrier. Keep in mind that the process and eligibility for unlocking a device can vary depending on your mobile service provider and the terms of your contract.

How do I activate an eSIM?

Person scanning a QR code on an eSIM activation card using a smartphone camera

Easily activate your eSIM by scanning the provided QR code with your smartphone camera.

To activate an eSIM, you typically need to scan a QR code or enter activation details provided by your mobile service provider. This process varies depending on your device and carrier.

Does eSIM need Internet all the time?

While the internet connection is necessary during the initial activation process to administer various provider profiles, it is not necessary to use them daily. When the profiles can now be downloaded into the eSIM, a device is able to operate independently of a network connection.

Does Global Yo have unlimited data?

Global Yo Pack offers unlimited data on eSIMs. This is exactly the way things work. Two things expire with each eSIM purchased: the pre-loaded data (e.g. 1 GB, 3 GB, 5 GB) and the valid time of the data (e.g. a month, 7 days, two weeks).

I’m travelling to multiple countries – can I buy an eSIM to cover them all?

You can purchase and activate an international Yo Global eSIM plan to cover multiple countries you’re visiting.

Do eSIMs have an expiration date?

The validity of an eSIM plan varies by provider and plan. Some eSIMs have monthly subscriptions, while others may be prepaid with a set usage period.

Do unlimited data plans include unlimited talk and text?

Unlimited data plans typically include unlimited talk and text as part of the package. These data plans are often referred to as “unlimited” because they offer unlimited calling and texting within the provider’s network or sometimes even to numbers in other networks.

While the data usage is unlimited (with some providers imposing throttling or deprioritization after a certain threshold), the talk and text components of these plans usually have no set limits.

However, it’s essential to read the terms and conditions of your specific prepaid plan, and your mobile service provider’s policies to understand any potential restrictions or exceptions to cellular plan.

Is there an eSIM for data only?

A person using a laptop with an eSIM for data-only purposes in a cafe setting

Experience the freedom of data-centric eSIMs, optimizing your laptop for connectivity without the need for traditional SIM cards.

There are eSIM plans specifically designed for data-only usage. These data-only eSIM plans are ideal for devices like tablets, laptops, mobile hotspots, or IoT (Internet of Things) devices that primarily require internet connectivity and don’t need traditional voice or SMS services.

Can I keep my existing phone number when activating an eSIM for unlimited data?

In most cases, you can keep your existing phone number when activating an eSIM. However, it is recommended to check with your carrier regarding number portability options and any associated fees.

What happens if I lose my device with an eSIM?

If your device with an eSIM is lost or stolen, you should contact your mobile service provider for instructions to suspend or transfer or delete the eSIM profile to a new device.

How many numbers can be active on eSIM?

In many cases, modern smartphones and other eSIM-enabled devices can support multiple eSIM profiles simultaneously, allowing you to have more than one active number on a single device. The exact number of eSIM profiles and numbers that can be active at the same time may vary from device to device.

Thus it’s essential to check your device’s specifications and the guidelines provided by your mobile service provider to understand the exact limitations and requirements for managing multiple eSIMs. Additionally, regulatory and network-specific restrictions can also play a role in determining the number of active eSIMs on a device in a particular region or on a specific network.

When does my eSIM data plan start?

The start date of your eSIM data plan depends on when you purchase and activate the eSIM on your device and the specific terms and conditions of the plan provided by your mobile service provider. Here are some common scenarios:

  1. Immediate Activation: In many cases, your eSIM data plan starts as soon as you activate it on your device. This means that the plan becomes active, and you can start using data as soon as the activation process is complete.

  2. Scheduled Activation: Some eSIM plans allow you to schedule the activation for a future date and time. This feature can be convenient if you want your plan to start at a specific time, such as when you arrive in a different country or at the beginning of a billing cycle.

  3. Upon First Data Usage: With certain eSIM plans, the plan might start when you use data for the first time after activation. This means that you won’t be charged or use data until you actually access the internet or use a data service.

What happens to the unused data after the end of the validity period?

The handling of unused data on an eSIM after the end of its validity period can vary depending on your mobile service provider and the specific terms of your eSIM plan.

Can I use the same QR code and install the eSIM profile on multiple devices?

Simultaneous activation of eSIM on a smartphone and tablet using the same QR code

Double the devices, one QR code: Learn about the potential of installing eSIM profiles simultaneously on various devices.

You typically cannot use the same QR code to install an eSIM profile on multiple devices. Each eSIM activation is usually tied to a specific device’s unique identifier (IMEI or EID), and the eSIM profile is meant to be provisioned for use on a single device at a time. When you scan the QR code to install the eSIM profile, it is usually associated with that particular device, and the eSIM becomes linked to it.

Can I use the same eSIM on multiple devices?

eSIM profiles are typically tied to a single device, and using the same eSIM on multiple devices simultaneously is usually not allowed. If you want to use the same eSIM on multiple devices, you would need to deactivate it on one device and then activate it on another. However, this process may vary depending on your mobile service provider, and some eSIM profiles may have restrictions that prevent them from being transferred between other devices as easily.

Do I need a 5G phone to use a 5G data plan?

In order to use a 5G data plan, you typically need a 5G-compatible phone or device. 5G is the fifth generation of mobile network technology, and it operates on different frequency bands and infrastructure compared to older generations like 4G (LTE) or 3G. To get unlimited data plans and take advantage of the higher speeds and lower latency that 5G offers, your device must support 5G connectivity.

If your cell phone or device is not 5G-compatible, you won’t be able to access a 5G network even if you have a 5G data plan. So, before subscribing to a 5G data plan, make sure that your mobile phones or device supports 5G connectivity and that you are within an area covered by a 5G network.

Can I use my unlimited data plan when I travel abroad?

You can use your eSIM for unlimited data while traveling internationally, provided your carrier offers international coverage and roaming services. However, roaming charges may apply, so it is recommended to check with your carrier beforehand.

Uliana Aitakayeva

Uliana Aitakayeva is a tech-savvy traveler with a deep understanding of eSIM technology. As a telecom engineer, she offers practical advice on using eSIMs worldwide. Her posts focus on cost-effective strategies, carrier insights, and regional tips. When not traveling, Uliana enjoys photography and exploring local cuisines.