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A Guide to e-sims

23/11/2021 - Insurance guides

SIM cards have been around since 1991. The acronym, SIM, stands for Subscriber Identity Module, and it is used to store information which helps to identify and authenticate users.

They can also connect phones to the GSM Network which is the global system of communications. Each SIM card has a memory chip attached which contains a 17-digit code that “designates its country code of origin, the system carrier and a unique user ID”. (Kwikboost).

Some dual SIM phones may have a slot for a virtual sim and for a physical SIM. Each one can be connected to a different Network and you can use both in one single phone.

If your phone got broken or if you wanted to upgrade, all you would do is remove the SIM from your broken/older phone and insert it in the new one. As SIM cards are connected to the GSM Network, the user could immediately start using the phone to make calls and send texts.

However, with the rapid advancements of mobile phones and gadgets, the SIM card technology had to keep up with upgrades, to maintain compatibility and use. For example, its size modification was one of the features that was changed as it went from a mini-Sim, that was originally used in late 90s phones, to the smaller micro-Sim. Two years after its introduction, it shrunk even further to the currently used nano-sim until it became integrated into the actual phones and no longer removable. 

E-Sims can also be used in computers, tablets and smartwatches to enable them to make phone calls and send texts by connecting on a cellular network instead of a Wi-Fi. 


How to I find out if your phone/gadget is e-sim compatible:

On Samsung phones, there are two ways to check if they are e-sim compatible:

Option 1:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Type “IMEI” in the search bar
  3. Tap on “IMEI Information” (or similar) which appears on the screen.
    (If you can’t find this, you can go to About Phones>Status)
  4. Tap “IMEI information”
  5. If you see an IMEI number for an e-sim, then it means that your phone is e-sim compatible. 

Option 2:

  1. Dial *#06# and press call.
  2. If the phone is e-Sim compatible, you should be able to see the corresponding unique identification number (EID).


  1. Go into the settings
  2. Tap on General>About
  3. If your iPhone is e-sim compatible, you’ll find a “Digital Sim” section where the e-sim’s IMEI number can be found.

Below are some of the phone models which support an e-Sim (Retrieved from Cellular Data): *

Apple iPhones: 13 Pro Max, 13 Pro, 13 mini, 13, 12 Pro Max, 12 Pro, 12 mini, 12, 11 Pro Max, 11 Pro, 11, XS, XS Max, XR, SE 2 (2020)

Samsung Galaxy: Fold, Note 20, Note 20 Ultra, S21 5G, S21+ 5G, S21 Ultra 5G, S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, Z Fold 2, Z Flip, Z Fold 3 5G, Z Flip 3 5G Fold

*You can find a complete list here: Holafly

How to set up an e-sim on an Android phone:

  1. Make sure you are connected to Wi-Fi
  2. Find your QR code from your Network Provider’s e-sim pack.
  3. Go to Settings>Connections.
  4. Tap ‘SIM card manager’.
  5. Click + for ‘Add mobile plan’ under e-sims.
  6. Select ‘Add using QR code’.
  7. Use your camera to scan the code. Once it’s scanned, the e-sim profile will be downloaded on your phone and you’ll then need to activate your e-Sim to start using it.

How to set up an e-sim on an Android phone:

  1. Make sure you are connected to Wi-Fi.
  2. Find the QE code in your e-sim pack.
  3. Go to Settings>Mobile Data>Add Data Plan.
  4. Use your camera to scan the QR code. 
  5. Tap “Add Data Plan” to confirm.

Currently, you can buy an e-Sim from the following UK Networks and Worldwide Cellular Connectivity Service Providers:

How do e-Sims work with Dual Sim phones?

Dual sim phones can support two sim cards at the same time. If the phone is dual sim and e-sim compatible, you could easily use it to operate both types of sim cards. You can choose to have them connected to two different Network Providers and each one will have its own unique phone number.
The e-sim set up process for a dual sim phone would be exactly the same as a single sim one.

Physical SIM cards:

What are the advantages of using a physical SIM card?

What are the disadvantages of using a physical SIM card?


What are the advantages of using an e-sim?

What are the disadvantages of using an e-sim?

How can I get an e-Sim?

Provided that the phone has the functionality to support e-sims, you can follow the instructions below on how you can obtain one:

Some Network Providers such as Vodafone would allow you to activate the e-sim using their own app.

Whether you are using a physical or an e-sim, having your phone protected at all times is always a good thing. Check out our mobile phone insurance to see your cover options. 

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