What is an eSIM?

Your guide to discovering what an eSIM is, how it works, and which phones and devices support it.


Even if you aren’t tech savvy, chances are you’ve at least heard of a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card. They’re the small cards located in your phone that help you connect to your wireless carrier’s network and use your plan.

Now, embedded SIM cards (eSIMs) are in the spotlight. While you may not be sure how they’re different than physical SIM cards, why you might need them, which devices have them, and how to use them, we’re here to help answer those questions.


What's the difference between an eSim vs a physical SIM card?

An eSIM is a digital version of the physical SIM card—identifying your device virtually to provide network connection. It’s programmable remotely via software and is built into newer smartphones, meaning you wouldn’t have to go purchase a new SIM card if you wanted to swap phones or wireless carriers. eSIMs are used in tablets, smart watches, drones, and even cars. They’re basically space-saving gamechangers for connectivity. 


What can eSIMs do?

Since they’re embedded in devices and are programmable remotely, it can open a whole new world of flexibility when it comes to managing your phone and service plans. You can add plans, add a new number, and even connect to a different carrier. For example, you can test out T-Mobile’s network for FREE before you switch, while still keeping your current phone number and carrier. 

Eligible for users not already on the T-Mobile network; 1 trial per user. Compatible unlocked device req’d. Get full terms


How can eSIMs benefit me?

Let's say you have one smartphone for work and a second phone for your personal life. If your device is equipped with eSIM, you can have both lines hooked up to the same device, giving you the convenience and control to toggle between those lines straight from your phone. This saves you money because with eSIM, you don’t need two separate devices.

Small, medium, and large businesses can benefit from eSIMs, as they make it possible to change or update wireless service remotely on multiple lines at once—whether you have five employees or five thousand.

If you’re traveling internationally, you no longer need to buy a second physical SIM card when you arrive at your destination. eSIMs let you easily add an international plan to your device that starts working the moment you arrive in another country, giving you hassle-free flexibility. 

When it comes to the Un-Carrier (that’s us!), perhaps the biggest benefit of using eSIM is that you can try our network FREE for three months before you switch. Then, you can easily switch up to five lines within minutes from your phone. Download the T-Mobile app to check your device compatibility and get started today.

Eligible for users not already on the T-Mobile network; 1 trial per user. Compatible unlocked device req’d. Get full terms


What phones use eSIMs?

All of the major mobile device manufacturers have eSIM phones, but not all models are eSIM compatible since this is newer technology. Apple iPhones including iPhone XS and newer, Google Pixel devices, the Motorola Razr 5G, and Samsung Galaxy devices are all eSIM enabled. 
You can see all eSIM-enabled phones here


How do I activate my eSIM?

There are a few different ways to convert to eSIM, depending on if you have iPhone, Samsung, or Motorola, for example. How you activate it also depends on if you’re new to a network, upgrading/replacing your device, or bringing a prepaid device. Watch the video below to see step-by-step instructions on how to activate your eSIM.


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