Explore this guide to find the best global eSIM providers for traveling to Asia and when visiting North America.
I’ve used eSIM providers in the past and want to share this technology with travelers, digital nomads, and expats. So I’ve compiled some of the best eSIM providers in different regions.
An embeddable SIM card (eSIM) replaces physical SIM cards on your devices. Think of an eSIM as a digital SIM card.
eSIMs allow you to activate cellular companies on your devices remotely. And they support more than 1 cellular provider or phone number.
It’s useful for people who live in or visit countries with many carriers that offer eSIM support. Because you won’t have to worry about visiting carrier stores and activating SIM cards.
You also don’t need to wait for a SIM card to arrive in the mail.
Ensure you use an unlocked phone when getting an eSIM.
Let’s see all the differences between eSIM and physical SIMs.
Any traveler should get an eSIM over a physical SIM. So long as you have a compatible phone. They’ll save time otherwise wasted on seeking out SIM card booths at airports and don’t require you to hold on to a SIM card you may never use again once you leave your destination.
If you want calling and texting with your eSIM, read the fine print for listings. Many eSIM providers overseas may not offer such “features.”
Best International eSIM Card
Some of the best international eSIM cards include:
|Provider||# Of Countries Supported||Best For||Pricing||Data Only?|
|Airalo (Global eSIM)||87||Heavy data usage||$9.00–$89||Yes|
|Google Fi||200||Travelers from the U.S.||$40–$65/mo. per line||No|
Many eSIM providers provide data-only eSIM cards. That means you won’t get a phone number. However, you’ll be fine if you use messaging apps for most communications.
People visiting another country for business may not accept this fact. You’ll need to find a cellular provider who doesn’t charge much for roaming.
Let’s begin with comparing providers.
- Instant connection upon arrival in a foreign country, eliminating the need to purchase a local SIM card.
- Offers competitive local rates with local carriers, making it a cost-effective solution for travelers.
- The ability to store multiple eSIMs in your account, which is convenient for frequent travelers or digital nomads.
- Does not provide a local phone number, which can make it difficult for people to reach you through traditional phone calls.
- The service is data-only in some countries, limiting its functionality for users who require voice services.
- Compatibility issues with some devices, as not all phones support eSIMs.
Airalo offers 1, 3, 5, 10, and 20 gigabytes (GB) options for their prepaid international eSIM packages. Don’t stream video on this data. Otherwise, you’ll need to top up your data frequently.
In 2 hours of streaming 480p SD video, you’ll have used 1.40 GB .
2. Google Fi
- Simple international travel benefits with high-speed data available in over 200 destinations.
- Pay for the data you use, which can be cost-effective for users with low data usage.
- Network switches your phone to the best network possible (5G, 4G LTE, 3G, or 2G) depending on your location, ensuring optimal coverage.
- Google Fi is not the cheapest pay-by-the-gig plan available in the market.
- The selection of phones specifically designed for Google Fi is limited.
- Requires users to switch their own SIM card and possibly untangle themselves from their current carrier, which can be a hassle.
Google Fi is a stellar eSIM plan that’s only available to Americans. It gives you the means to send and receive calls while abroad. And to use unlimited data.But you can only use it on Google Pixel phones or iPhones .
Best eSIM for Asia Travel
eSIM providers that you’ll want to consider for trips to Asia include:
|Airalo||$5.00+ per day||Heavy data usage||Yes|
|Google Fi||$40–$65/mo. per line||Travelers from the U.S.||No|
|Travel SIM||$23–$94/30 days||SMS||Data & SMS only|
Airalo offers travelers and digital nomads the most options. For instance, there are local, regional, and global eSIM.
Local works best for anyone visiting 1 country for up to 30 days.
Regional works best for anyone traveling to multiple countries in Asia within a set duration. Then global expands the regional eSIM to 87 countries.
Always check local providers before choosing one of the options I recommend. Here’s an example of how to find one if you’re visiting Vietnam. Type “Best eSIM in Vietnam.” Then see what shows up.
Only U.S. residents can get Google Fi. I’ve used the service and highly recommend it if you need unlimited data while abroad. The soft data caps aren’t bad, either.
These caps are when your data speeds slow after using “X” GB of data.
You have a 35 GB or 50 GB soft data cap with Google Fi’s Unlimited plans. But when traveling outside North America, you can only get the Unlimited Plus plan. And if you want to make calls, you’ll need to pay $0.20 per minute.
You get free SMS, though.
UPeSIM works well for anyone who wants 4G LTE speeds and will travel for up to 12 days. Most plans come with 6 gigabytes (GB) of data.
Travel SIM offers their services in 17 Asian countries. It offers up to 5.0 GB of data, but you can also add credits for texting. The rates for texting will start off with you prepaying $10 or $25.
Each message or multimedia SMS you send will be deducted from your balance.
Best eSIM for North America Travel
When traveling to the USA, Canada, or Mexico, consider these eSIM providers:
|Provider||Pricing||Best For||Data Only?|
|Google Fi||$20–$65 per line||Travelers from the U.S.||No|
|Holafly||$19–$99||Travelers Outside the U.S.||Yes|
Since you’re not outside the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, the Simply Unlimited Google Fi plan is available. It allows you to make free calls and access data in North American countries.
But it has a 35 GB soft data cap.
You can’t share data with Holafly. It’s not the best plan for creating hotspots. But they have a generous soft data cap of 90 GB. Then you’ll have reduced speeds.
Don’t know what an eSIM card is?
I’ll cover more details.
eSIM vs. Physical SIM Cards
Based on my experience, it was harder to find eSIM cards in different countries that offer talking minutes and SMS. If that doesn’t matter to you, eSIMs are the easiest to set up. And they’ll prevent you from having to search for stands to redeem physical SIM cards.
- Make it easier to switch mobile networks without needing to physically change the SIM card.
- Up to five virtual SIM cards can be stored on one eSIM.
- Allowing quick network switching in areas with poor signal or when travelling abroad.
- Save physical space in devices.
- Potentially allowing for larger batteries or additional features in smartphones.
- Transferring an eSIM from 1 device to another can be time-consuming.
- Taking at least two hours & possibly causing a temporary disruption in receiving SMS/OTPs.
- A select number of smartphone models currently support eSIM technology.
- If a device with an eSIM stops working, it’s more difficult to quickly switch the SIM to another device compared to a traditional SIM card.
Most older phones only support regular SIM cards. However, it’s sometimes easier to set these up. Despite needing to spend time picking up or purchasing your cards in person. If you can have your SIM card mailed to you before traveling, that’s ideal.
- Widely available and easy to find.
- Compatible with any phone that supports it or is unlocked.
- Allow you to make & receive calls without the need for an additional app.
- Can easily get lost or damaged, rendering them unusable.
- Sometimes difficult to top up with more credit.
- For frequent travelers, needing a new SIM card for each country visited can be inconvenient.
What devices support eSIM cards? Let’s check them out.
What Android Devices Use eSIM Cards?
These Android (and Android-OS-based) devices support eSIM cards:
|Galaxy Z Fold3 5G||Samsung|
|Galaxy Z Fold2 5G||Samsung|
|Galaxy S21+ Ultra 5G||Samsung|
|Galaxy S21+ 5G||Samsung|
|Galaxy Z Flip||Samsung|
|Galaxy S20 Ultra||Samsung|
|Galaxy S22 Ultra||Samsung|
|Galaxy Book 2||Samsung|
|Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G||Samsung|
|Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G Fold||Samsung|
|Galaxy Watch4 LTE||Samsung|
|Galaxy Watch4 Classic LTE||Samsung|
|Galaxy Watch 3||Samsung|
|Galaxy Watch Active2||Samsung|
|Gear S3 Frontier LTE||Samsung|
|Gear S3 Classic LTE||Samsung|
|Gear S2 3G||Samsung|
|Gear S2 Classic 3G||Samsung|
|Pixel 3a XL|
|Pixel 3 XL|
|Pixel 4 XL|
|Pixel 6 Pro|
|Pixel 7 Pro|
|HONOR Magic 3||Huawei|
|HONOR Magic 3 Pro||Huawei|
|HONOR Magic 3 Pro+||Huawei|
|Huawei P40 Pro||Huawei|
|Huawei Mate 40 Pro||Huawei|
|Oppo Find X3 Pro||Oppo|
|Oppo Reno 6 Pro 5G||Oppo|
|Oppo Reno 5 A||Oppo|
|Oppo Find X5 Pro||Oppo|
|Oppo Find X5||Oppo|
|Xiaomi 12T Pro||Xiaomi|
|Xperia 10 III Lite||Sony|
|Xperia 1 IV||Sony|
|Xperia 5 IV||Sony|
|Xperia 10 IV||Sony|
|Sharp AQUOS sense4 lite||Sharp|
|PDA Gemini||Planet Computers|
|Moto Razr 2019||Motorola|
|myPhone NOW eSIM||mPTech|
|Hammer Blade 5G||mPTech|
|Hammer Explorer Pro||mPTech|
|Hammer Blade 3||mPTech|
|Motorola RAZR 5G (2020)||Motorola|
|Watch 3 Pro||Huawei|
|Watch 2 Pro||Huawei|
|Forerunner 945 LTE||Gamin|
|Gen 5 LTE Smartwatch (Verizon only)||Fossil|
|Amazfit GTR 2 LTE||Huami|
|TITAN 4G Earbuds||Mymanu|
|X5 Play eSIM||Xplora|
All these devices don’t use Android operating systems.
Here are some examples:
- Surface uses Microsoft
- Huawei uses Harmony OS
- Some Xiaomi devices use MIUI (sounds like “me, you, I”)
I’ll do my best to keep this list updated. If you’re buying a newer smartphone, check out the device’s sale’s page. See whether it supports eSIM.
If it’s vague, contact the company’s customer service. Or if you’re using a site like Amazon, check the frequently asked questions.
Not an Android fan?
Let’s talk about your true love, then. Apple.
What iPhones & Apple Devices Use eSIM Cards?
The following iPhones and Apple devices use eSIM cards:
|iPhone 14||iPhone 14 Plus||iPhone Pro|
|iPhone Pro Max||iPhone XS||iPhone XS Max|
|iPhone SE (2020)||iPhone 13||iPhone 13 Pro|
|iPhone 13 Pro Max||iPhone 13 Mini||iPhone 12|
|iPhone 12 Max||iPhone 12 Max Pro||iPhone 12 Mini|
|iPhone 11||iPhone 11 Pro||iPhone 11 Pro Max|
|iPad Air (3rd Gen.)||iPad Pro (3rd Gen.)||iPad Mini (5th Gen.)|
|iPhone XR||Apple Watch Series 7||Apple Watch SE|
|Apple Watch Series 6||Apple Watch Series 5||Apple Watch Series 4|
|Apple Watch Series 3||Apple Watch Series 8|
iPhones sold in Hong Kong, China, and Macau do not have eSIM support.
Not only smartphones and smartwatches support eSIM. The next section will cover other devices that support this feature.
PCs & Other Devices That Support eSIM Cards
Here are Windows-OS-based PCs and many random devices that support eSIM:
|Surface Pro 8||Microsoft|
|Surface Pro 5 LTE Advanced (Ubigi is already preinstalled)||Microsoft|
|Surface Pro X||Microsoft|
|Surface Pro LTE||Microsoft|
|Surface Go 2||Microsoft|
|Surface Go 3||Microsoft|
|Surface Pro 7+||Microsoft|
|Surface Pro 8||Microsoft|
|Microsoft Surface Neo||Microsoft|
|TravelMate Spin P6||Acer|
|TravelMate Spin P4||Acer|
|Transformer Mini T103||Asus|
|VivoBook Flip 14 TP401NA||Asus|
|Elite x2 G2, G3||HP|
|EliteBook G4, G5 Notebook PC||HP|
|Probook G3, G4, G5 Notebook PC||HP|
|Spectre Folio 13||HP|
|Zbook G4, G5 Mobile Workstation||HP|
|Zbook Studio G5||HP|
|mt32 Mobile Thin Client||HP|
|ThinkPad T14 Gen 3, T14s Gen 3||Lenovo|
|Yoga 720 convertible laptops||Lenovo|
|ThinkPad X12 Detachable||Lenovo|
|ThinkPad X1 Nano||Lenovo|
|ThinkPad X1 Fold||Lenovo|
|ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9||Lenovo|
|ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga 2 in 1||Lenovo|
|ThinkPad P16s i||Lenovo|
|Galaxy Book 2||Samsung|
|Latitude 7210 2-in-1||Dell|
|LINKHUB LTE CAT6 Home Station HH63||TCL|
|LINKZONE LTE CAT6 Mobile Wi-Fi MW63||TCL|
|G6 mountain bike||Greyp|
|Spexor mobile security device||Bosch|
Check out the following sections to find answers to commonly asked questions about digital SIM cards.
Can eSIMs Be Activated Abroad?
Whether you can activate your eSIM abroad depends on your provider. For instance, Google Fi doesn’t let you activate eSIMs abroad.
Does eSIM Work in All Countries?
eSIMs do not work in all countries. Many mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) and some large carriers don’t support eSIM. Check what providers your eSIM supports before getting one.