What's an eSIM?

An eSIM - meaning ‘embedded SIM’ - is the next generation of SIM card. It’s a virtual SIM rather than a physical card, so if you need a new one, you don’t have to go out to a shop or wait for it to arrive in the post. And there’s no fiddly process of inserting the card or realising that you’ve bought the wrong size. This makes switching networks even quicker and easier than before.

Perhaps you need to use more than one network - that’s easy too. Because most eSIM phones support more than one eSIM profile - and they usually have a physical SIM card slot too - you can have more than one phone line on your phone. You can only use one line at a time but you can switch quickly between them. This comes in very handy if you have more than one phone - a work one and a personal one, for example - and you want to consolidate them. It’s good news for travellers too, as you can pick up a new eSIM or SIM card for a local network wherever you are - therefore avoiding roaming charges.

If you’ve already got a Vodafone contract or are purchasing a new Vodafone deal then you will be able to swap from a physical sim over to an eSIM. Just visit the Vodafone eSIM website here and follow the instructions to log-in and swap to an eSIM.

If you’ve already got an iD Mobile contract or are purchasing a new iD Mobile deal then keep an eye on the iD Mobile website for more details on how to get an eSIM. iD are working to bring eSIM’s to their network soon. p>


How does an eSIM work?

How eSIMs work is almost exactly the same as regular SIMs. The main differences are, instead of being a physical card, an eSIM card is a small chip embedded in your phone and can’t be removed, and you can have plans with multiple networks on the one phone.

How do I activate an eSIM?

If your phone has an eSIM and your network supports the technology, it’s usually easy to activate eSIM but the process will depend on your phone and your network. For example, iPhone eSIM setup can be as simple as turning on your new handset and following the instructions - using Apple’s eSIM Carrier Activation or eSIM Quick Transfer. However, this functionality is not available with all networks, you may have to contact them for a QR code to activate eSIM.

iPhone and Samsung eSIM Phones

For those looking to get a new eSIM phone, choose from one of our fantastic mobile phone deals. Most new, high-end phones from the big brands have eSIM capability, but it’s always a good idea to check before you buy. Take a look at the phone’s spec or check if your chosen network supports eSIM on the specific model. Every one of our iPhone deals are eSIM ready. In fact, Apple have been making eSIM iPhones since 2018, so all its phones from the iPhone XS onwards are equipped with the technology. And it’s not just its phones that have eSIM built in, there are eSIM iPads and the Apple Watch Series 3 onwards are also eSIM compatible. If Android phones are more your thing, you’ll be wondering which Samsung phones support eSIM. The answer is, its top-of-the-range handsets are eSIM compatible, including the Galaxy S series from the S20 to the brand-new S23, the Galaxy Z Fold 2, 3 and 4, and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 and 4. Shop our Samsung phone deals for great prices on Samsung eSIM phones. If you already have a handset and want to know if your phone supports eSIM, the best way to find out is by checking the manufacturer’s spec or speaking to your network.

Can I transfer eSIM to my new phone?

If your new phone is an iPhone, then you’re in luck. With iOS 16, you can transfer an eSIM to a new iPhone from another iPhone or an Android phone. There are even a few different ways to do this. Apple’s eSIM Quick Transfer allows you to transfer from a physical SIM card or eSIM on your old iPhone to an eSIM on your new iPhone. You can also use this method if you want to switch to an eSIM without changing your iPhone. Or for those transferring eSIM from an Android phone to a new iPhone, there’s eSIM Carrier Activation. If your network doesn’t support these methods, you’ll need to contact them for a QR code to transfer the eSIM. Unfortunately, if you’re an Android user, it’s not quite so simple. Android doesn't currently have a seamless process to transfer eSIM to another phone. This means you have to deactivate the eSIM profile on your old phone and then activate it on your new phone. It’s likely that you’ll have to contact your network to do this.