eSIM vs Physical SIM

eSIM vs Physical SIM Card – Everything you need to know


 As the world is transforming into a digital space, everything right from ordering food to making million-dollar deals has taken an advanced online route, which is not only convenient but also saves a lot of time and energy!

ESIM, or embedded SIM technology, is one of the most prominent examples of this phenomenon. According to Trusted Connectivity Alliance, the volumes of eSIM card shipments increased to 337 million units in 2021 even though it offers the same function as a physical SIM card, i.e., connecting you to the mobile network of your service provider.

eSIM can be used on all smartphones, like Android, Google, and iPhone, and it can also be used in a dual SIM card phone. If you have selected iPhone and Samsung Galaxy models, you can download the eSIM directly on your phones. There are almost 200 service providers across the globe that offer eSIMs. Before moving ahead to unveil the pros and cons of the eSIM and its comparison with the physical SIM card, let’s start with the basics! 

What is an eSIM?

Embedded SIM technology, commonly known as eSIM, is a digital form of SIM card that doesn’t require a removable smart card. Unlike a physical SIM card, an eSIM doesn’t occupy space and can be downloaded anywhere, anytime.

In terms of functionality, both SIM cards have the same function, but in the case of a physical SIM card, you must get it directly from the service providers, especially if it breaks or you must switch to a new mobile network, which is not the case with an eSIM card.  

Physical SIM vs eSIM – Which Is Better?

While both SIMs have pros and cons, factors like convenience, easy set-up, and instant connectivity have escalated the popularity of eSIM cards. People who travel frequently always look for options to stay connected to their loved ones.

An eSIM makes it easier for them to keep in touch without worrying about their mobile network. These digital SIM cards can be easily operated from anywhere and anytime. Here are a few plus points that would give you a reason to switch to an eSIM.  

Benefits of eSIM

Instant Mobile Connectivity

ESIM offers you quick and easy mobile connectivity, unlike a physical SIM card, which can only be issued from a physical store of the network provider. In the case of an eSIM, you can select a mobile plan and get eSIM as per your requirements. Once, confirmed, you get a notification with an activation code in your email. You can scan the activation code and activate your eSIM through email. The process is fast and hassle-free, unlike a physical SIM card.  

Activate Digitally While You Are on the Move

eSIM is an excellent option for anyone who is traveling and wants to switch to a new mobile network in a new place. The digital activation of eSIM is quick, seamless, and time-saving! Whether traveling by train or going to a new country, you can activate your eSIM online or switch to roaming within a few clicks! 

Use Multiple Lines in a Single Device

eSIM can work on dual SIM phones. To make things work smoothly, just have a different network if you want to keep separate numbers for professional or personal use. By doing this, you can easily connect to a local network or switch lines without any hassle.

You can set up to 8 profiles and change carriers without the need to remove the SIM card. You can trace any activity or record of your eSIM anytime using a mobile app, which would provide you with detailed information about your recent activity.  

Secure Encryption

As compared to a physical SIM card, an eSIM provides secure data with a robust encryption protocol, which safeguards it from unauthorized access, making them less prone to cloning, data breaches, or identity theft. However, a physical SIM can be issued, especially if lost or stolen.  

Great User Experience

With a fast and easy activation process, eSIMs are gaining massive popularity among customers. Who would want to stand in queues and wait hours to activate their mobile network? Hassle-free activation process with zero waste makes eSIM the future of networking.  

A physical SIM card may get broken, lost, or simply worn over time, but with an eSIM, you don’t have to worry as it doesn’t need replacement. 

If you are looking for an answer to the question, “Physical SIM vs eSIM  – which is better? Refer to the table below and find out!

eSIM vs Physical SIM – Comparison Graph

Feature  eSIM  Physical SIM 
Security  Secure encryption  Can be stolen or damaged easily 
Availability  Available on certain devices only  Available on all devices and mobile carriers 
Activation  Fast and easy, software-based activation  Needs to be physically inserted and activated  
Replacement  Can be remotely provisioned and activated  Needs to be physically replaced 
Profile Storage  Can store multiple profiles   Stores one profile at a time 

Can I use an eSIM?

Yes, you can use an eSIM if you have an eSIM-capable phone. Some Android phones, iPhone 13, and all the models, after that support IMS. You can also use eSIM on a dual SIM phone and switch networks easily. If you are traveling, you can activate eSIM easily on your mobile phone within minutes.

You can find out about different data providers that offer eSIM internationally so that you can make the most of the data plans using your eSIM. High flexibility, strong security measures, increased storage capacity, and an easy activation process make eSIM an easier option than a physical SIM. 

How to Set up an eSIM Card?

If we talk about eSIM vs physical SIM card, setting up the former is much easier than the later. With the conventional physical SIM card, it is mandatory to visit the network provider to get the card, which requires manual insertion for activation. In the case of an eSIM, everything can be done online. Here are the few steps that you must follow to set up an eSIM card- 

  • Select and sign up for a plan with a mobile network provider  
  • Place order and confirm  
  • A unique activation code will be sent to your email 
  • Scan the code and activate your eSIM card 

Setting up eSIM on iPhone

If you want to set up eSIM on your iPhone, you need to follow the instructions on the screen.  

First, Go to the settings.  

Tap the notification – Carrier Cellular Plan Ready to be Installed. 

Tap Continue at the bottom. 

Make a call and check if the eSIM is working (If it’s not working, contact your service provider). 

Some network providers allow you to transfer a physical SIM card to an eSIM card. For this, go to the ‘Settings’ option. Choose ‘Convert to eSIM’. All the phones with eSIM-compatibility would show this option. Now tap on ‘Convert Cellular Plan’. Click ‘Convert to eSIM’. Wait for the activation, you will notice that your previous SIM is deactivated. Now, you can remove the physical SIM from your phone and restart your phone.  

Setting up eSIM on Android

Setting up an eSIM on an Android phone is somewhat similar to iPhone.  

Go to ‘Settings’ and select ‘Connections’.  

Choose ‘SIM Card Manager and ‘Add Mobile Plan’ 

For other ways to add plans, choose ‘Add using QR Code’  

Scan the QR Code and Tap to start!

What Are the Benefits of eSIM?

If you are planning to switch to eSIM but are still trying to figure it out, here are a few benefits you should consider.   

High Flexibility

eSIM card allows you the flexibility to switch to different mobile carriers without any paperwork or formalities! You can activate the eSIM online while you are on the move. There’s no need to add or remove physical SIM cards; hence, you can reset or switch to different networks with a snap of a finger.  

High Security

Unlike a physical SIM card, which may get lost or/and is susceptible to damage, an eSIM card has secured encryption. It is directly embedded in the hardware and cannot be hacked or lost as a conventional SIM card.  

High Storage Capacity

Compared to a physical SIM card, you can store much more information on an eSIM owing to its large storage capacity.  

An eSIM has instant connectivity, less hassle, and faster installation.  

What are the Downsides of an eSIM?

Like every coin has two sides, eSIM also has certain bottlenecks.  

Growing Technology

The concept of eSIM is still new, and these are not easily available in every country. While the prospects of eSIMs look great, it would still take some time to become as common as physical SIM cards. While comparing, eSIM vs physical SIM signal strength, there is not much of a difference as it depends on the network area, quality of the device’s antenna, and interference in the signal.  

Doesn’t Support All Devices

Unlike a physical SIM card, eSIM doesn’t support all devices. The devices that were released five years ago, don’t support eSIM. If you have certain models of Google, iPhone, or Samsung, then only you can use an eSIM. However, this limitation makes it difficult to use it on every phone. 

Not for Technophobic

If you are not tech-savvy, the entire process of installation may overwhelm you. Some people preferer going to a service centre to get a physical SIM card as they want to get away with the hassle of installing it online. 

What Devices Use eSIM?

Over time, eSIMs have gained immense popularity, hence, many manufacturers are including eSIM-compatibility options in upcoming devices. Here’s a list of devices that use eSIM. 

Apple   iPhone 11 Series, iPhone 12 series, iPhone 13 series, iPhone 14 series, iPhone SE 2020, iPhone SE 2022, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR,  
Google Pixel  Google Pixel 3, Google Pixel 3 XL, Google Pixel 3a, Google Pixel 3a XL, Google Pixel 4, Google Pixel 4 XL, Google Pixel 4a, Google Pixel 4a 5G, Google Pixel 5, Google Pixel 5a, Google Pixel 6, Google Pixel 6 Pro, Google Pixel 6a 
Samsung  Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20 5G, Galaxy S20+ 5G, Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G, Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22+, Galaxy S22 Ultra, Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy Z Flip, Galaxy Z Flip 3, Galaxy Z Flip 4, Galaxy Z Fold 2, Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy Z Fold 4 
Motorola  Motorola Razr 
Huawei  Huawei P40
Huawei P40 Pro 

Source: www. 


Over the years, ESIMs are gaining huge popularity. The increasing interest and demand from the market is becoming a big force to push the concept of eSIMs to the CenterStage, so that networking becomes digital. Despite its limitation in terms of compatibility with the devices, there is a huge scope for rapid growth, which would cover up all the issues and transform the way we connect.  


Is an eSIM better than a physical SIM?

If you are planning to buy an eSIM but are struggling with whether physical SIM vs eSIM, is better, all the answers are right here! While both devices have the same function, I.e., to connect you with a mobile network. While high flexibility, great security, and tremendous storage capability are some of the important features of eSIM, the structured, proven, and established technology and wide availability make physical SIM a connectional choice. However, if you want to get away from the hassle of physically collecting a SIM card, eSIM is a great option. Various service providers worldwide also offer promising deals and plans on eSIMs, which benefit people who would like to maintain two different phone numbers. Both SIMs have pros and cons; hence, choose whatever suits your needs.  

What are the disadvantages of an eSIM?

There are ample benefits of eSIMs and a few disadvantages. Currently, they work only on limited devices. Some models of Google, Android, iPhone, Motorola, and Huawei have eSIM-compatibility. As the concept is in its nascent stage, there is still scope for growth. People who are not well-versed with the concept might find it difficult to activate it online.   

Why SIM is better than eSIM?

Because of a well-established network and compatibility with every device, physical SIMs are preferred over eSIMs. Physical SIM cards have been present in the market for a long time and are often preferred by people who are not tech-savvy.  


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