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eSim Clarification

Looking at an Airolo eSim data plan for travel to Germany, Austria, and Czech Republic.

When I switch to the eSim my physical Sim becomes inactive...right? What happens to any calls or texts placed to my physical Sim US number while this eSim is on?

Posted by
2267 posts

I run my iPhone as "dual SIM" when I'm away. I set the foreign SIM as the default for calls and mobile data. (In my case my home # is eSIM and I use a physical SIM from Spain when I'm in Europe.)

Calls and SMS (green) texts to my US number still come through, but I do not answer the calls or reply to the texts, as that would trigger the international roaming fee from Verizon at home. (iMessage, or blue, texts work differently and I can reply to those.)

Posted by
351 posts

Thank you both.

So, if AT&T works same as Verizon, I only have to use International Plan AT&T when I answer a call or reply to a text. AT&T International plan is $10 per day, so it looks like I can monitor calls and texts and decide if I need to respond.

Posted by
27447 posts

On my current trip I'm having my first experiences with eSIMs. I had a short-duration eSIM in Poland and am now using a one-month Turkish eSIM. That combo was less expensive for my timeframe than a Europe-wide eSIM. Both my eSIMs have been data-only; my regular phone service (Google Fi) has reasonable rates for calls, given that I virtually never make or receive calls, so data SIMs are all I need. I've been very pleased with Airolo, but it may be useful to know that:

  • Activation procedures may be different for different eSIMs. The Turkish eSIM required a couple of (simple) extra steps. If you end up with multiple, country-specific eSIMs, don't assume the set-up procedures for Country 2 and Country 3 will be the same as for Country 1.

  • After activating your eSIM you may need to go into Settings to indicate that texts (maybe also phone calls?) are to be handled by your regular SIM. Until I did that, incoming texts arrived as usual but I could not reply. I have a Samsung phone and had to do considerable Googling to figure out how to correct that situation. The initial search results didn't work for my particular phone. It's an easy tweak once you find the right info. It's probably worth researching this ahead of time and taking with you the two or three different sets of instructions you're likely to find online. Note: My phone calls are cheap and my texts are free through Fi. You might not want to use your regular SIM for either one, in which case you'd skip this step.

  • It's possible you may need to restart your phone after activating your eSIM. Give it a few minutes. If you still don't have data, try restarting.

Posted by
679 posts

My experience is only with Verizon. Ive tried different products and processes looking for the best results. Earlier this month I used the Verizon international plan and also a Maya eSim in Turkey. Last year I used an Airalo eSim with a local voice, text and data sim in Iceland. Each sim/eSim performed well and without conflict with each other. I learned quite a bit about functionality. I loved the convenience of being able to use my regular cell plan however I prioritized use of the eSim. This process should also work for you.

Posted by
2267 posts

So, if AT&T works same as Verizon,

I actually had AT&T until early this year. They did, indeed, work the same way.

This approach allows me to respond in other formats: If I get a green text from a friend I can respond to her via FB messenger for free. If I get a business-y voicemail i can repoint with an email. All avoiding the $10/day roaming.

The answer actually depends on your phone model, but in theory you can use both physical and eSim at the same time if your phone supports it. They will both work as normal.

But I don't advise this. It becomes kind of pointless if you receive a text or phone call or use your home Sim you will pay roaming charges. If you're happy to do this then there's not much point getting esims in the first place as you could just use roaming.

I always remove or deactivate my home Sim and only use the eSim. I use Facebook or WhatsApp to connect with people back home. I understand this isn't the case for everyon, but standard calls and texts are really obsolete these days.