How to buy an eSIM plan and activate it

By | April 17, 2023

Last updated on April 17th, 2023 at 12:44 am

Read Time:3 Minute, 35 Second

2020 is the year of the eSIM. From handsets and tablets, to smartwatches and laptops, it’s unusual to find a device that comes without one. Embedded inside these latest models, an eSIM is very similar to a traditional SIM card in that it helps a user connect to mobile services. By purchasing an eSIM plan, they can activate their embedded-SIM with everything from data-only bundles to a full package that comes with voice, SMS and data services.

But under the surface, an eSIM is a totally new kind of SIM card; it cannot be removed and isn’t locked to one mobile provider alone. In fact, eSIM consumers can have as many eSIM plans and mobile providers as they like, all with the one eSIM embedded inside their device. Customers can now pick and choose among carriers, ensuring they get the best deal possible. And last, but definitely not least, an eSIM works concurrently with their existing SIM card, allowing for true dual SIM functionality.

All these perks, and more, are why consumers are starting to adopt eSIM. But where can you buy an eSIM plan and how do you activate it? 

Where can you buy an eSIM plan in the UK?

There are a wide range of options available to consumers looking to buy an eSIM plan.

1. From online eSIM stores

Online eSIM stores and non-traditional carriers, like, have been growing in popularity over recent years as eSIM plans can be delivered instantly over the internet. Due to lower overheads and costs, these plans are often cheaper than their brick-and-mortar competitors and offer everything from global eSIM plans that come with a second number, to data-only bundles. As they are not locked to any one carrier, they often offer a cheap multi-network service that allows customers to connect to any participating network around the world. 

2. From traditional network providers 

eSIM plans can also be purchased from traditional network providers like Vodafone or O2. Customers can choose to covert their existing plan into an eSIM plan, or opt for new data-only plans to accompany their existing plan. Unlike plans from online stores, eSIM plans are often locked to the domestic network while the user is in their home country. Despite this, users can still benefit from cheaper rates while travelling overseas. 

How do you activate an eSIM?

Once you have purchased an eSIM plan from an online store or traditional network provider, now it’s time to activate it. 

An eSIM plan is activated by scanning the QR code provided to you by your carrier. Depending on which carrier you’ve used, you’ll either receive your QR code by email, in an app, in person, or through the post. If you’ve purchased your QR code through an app, simply follow the instructions provided by your carrier. In all other cases, here are the instructions for activating an eSIM on an iPhone, Google Pixel and Samsung S20 or Galaxy Fold: 

How to activate an eSIM on a Apple iPhone: 

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Choose either Mobile or Mobile Data
  3. Press Add Mobile Plan.
  4. Scan QR code
  5. Follow any instructions provided on screen

For other ways to activate an eSIM on an Apple device, click here.

How to activate an eSIM on a Google Pixel:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Choose Mobile Network
  3. Press Operator
  4. Select Add Operator
  5. Scan QR code
  6. Follow any instructions provided on screen

How to activate an eSIM on a Samsung S20 or Galaxy Fold:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Choose Connections
  3. Press SIM Card Manager
  4. Select Add Mobile Plan
  5. Press ‘Add Using a QR code’ 
  6. Scan QR code
  7. Follow any instructions provided on screen

How do you change an eSIM plan?

Changing traditional SIM cards have, to date, been a complicated and difficult process as it requires a physical exchange of SIM cards. However, changing your eSIM plan is easy.

eSIM stores multiple profiles on the one chip, meaning you can freely switch between carriers and eSIM plans remotely. Should you be unhappy with your current eSIM plan, you can simply scan a new QR code and activate a new plan with a new carrier at any time. 

Now you know how to buy an eSIM and activate it, make 2020 your year to join the eSIM movement.

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