Please sign in to post.

eSim with voice and data

I plan on being in Italy, Greece, and Turkey for three weeks. I've used my ATT International Day Pass in the past with no problems, but I was thinking an eSim might be cheaper. I found a company called Airalo that you can pick the amount of data you want, but if I need to use the phone to make a call, I won't be able to. Is there a company that I can use an eSim that comes with both voice and data?

Posted by
276 posts

The company OneSim states that it’s eSim includes voice. I am using it’s regular sim (voice, text and data). It worked seamlessly with my Airalo eSim (data only) while traveling last month in Europe.

https://www.onesimcard.com/esim/

Posted by
815 posts

Is there a company that I can use an eSim that comes with both voice and data?

Yes, Google Fi does this. Data is $10/GB (same as US price), texts are free, cellular calls are $0.20 per minute (and free over wifi). See https://support.google.com/fi/answer/6157794?hl=en Sign up for your trip and let them give you a new number just like any of the other temp carriers mentioned here would do, cancel when you return.

Posted by
1795 posts

The only eSIM I know of that gives you voice is Orange - and it will be a French phone number. One of the posters here - TexasTravelmom - used Orange on a recent trip (and I think is using it on her current trip) so you might find some information on her recent post. https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/tech-tips/esim-success

I used Airola on my month long trip to Germany and was very happy with a data only plan. I used Facetime or WhatsApp audio for calling when needed, but I tried not to call if possible.

Posted by
2282 posts

raymonelee, this is interesting. I looked at the onesim website and from all I can see, it operates differently from Orange.

With Orange, you buy a preset amount of data, get a certain number of minutes, etc. for 14 days.

onesim looks like you pay for the eSim (@$10) then it is pay as you go - pay for what you use. And then you combined that plan and the low cost data eSim from Airalo? So you would turn on the onesim plan if you wanted to make calls (at low cost per minute) and then turn that off and Airalo on for all other times? Or could you leave both on and set Airalo as primary? I see data/minutes rates but see no time limit. Did you use it for making calls within Europe? And how long did you use it?

My current data only Airalo plan is 30 days.

Posted by
1470 posts

"...but if I need to use the phone to make a call"

To me, this is such an easy work around - get a data SIM card, either a local physical card or an eSIM, then purchase Skype minutes - worldwide phone calls to both cellular or landline phones.
.
And there is no deal in "Data is $10/GB"

Posted by
276 posts

@TexasTravelmom - thanks for your question.

OneSim “states” that their eSim uses voice. I did not use their eSim but rather their regular sim. That regular sim with voice, text and data works extremely well. When I made the purchase six months ago I was not aware of the potential for their “stated” eSim with voice.

I purchased the eSim by Airalo (30 day plan - data only) to see how it would perform. This (eSim) was new territory for me. I did not integrate it with OneSim.

Both products performed flawlessly in Europe during my trip in July. I will have an opportunity to use them again this month in Iceland. I will eventually determine which one to retain based on utilization, performance, cost and convenience.

Posted by
2282 posts

periscope, Skype works well for when I want to make a call, but not so great when my car rental company REALLY wants a phone number that I will answer before they hand over the keys…..

raymonelee, be sure to report back! I am hoping to never have to change another sim card again so would love options for esims with a #. :)

Posted by
1470 posts

I don't understand the need for the rental company to call you . lots of renters travel with phones that they only use with WiFi - how do rental firms deal with those folks.

Posted by
1132 posts

Doogie. I think you misunderstood the Google Fi suggestion. You keep your AT&T account but get Fi as an eSIM account. You use Fi instead of the other companies suggested. If your phone will let you set up an eSIM, it will let you have two accounts active simultaneously on your phone.

Posted by
5135 posts

TexasTravelmom, if you need a US phone number for texts (send or receive) or for incoming voice messages, outgoing calls, then use Google Voice. It's free and works in Europe. The only problem is receiving voice calls in Europe if you don't have a US SIM card - calls will go to voicemail. But you can always call the person back using Google Voice from WiFi or with mobile data. The person you are calling will see an incoming call from a US phone number and does not need to have Google Voice - they could be taking your call on a landline.

If you need to receive incoming calls not just get voice messages, then use Skype instead. Buy a Skype US phone number (in three month blocks I think) so you can give that number to whomever and then they can call you from a landline and you can answer it on your cell phone with Skype, if you are on either WiFi or have mobile data. Skype is easier just not free.

Posted by
2282 posts

Andrew, and I have Skype and use it - but haven’t ever gotten a Skype number. In addition to Skype, I have had a Google Voice number and not used it. Lol.

Skype, with data or WiFi, would actually cover any need I have to make a phone call while in Europe. It’s what I use when I need to call Europe while at home. And a Google Voice number with messages to my cell phone arranged to forward to email would suffice to let me know about any calls I might receive from a U.S. number (I haven’t really needed this but others probably do).

To be honest, I never worried about needing to receive calls from a European number until my current trip of 5 weeks. The longer I stay, the more I consider this…..

So, Doogie, I reread your question and concur that Airalo for a data package and Skype to make outgoing calls is the easiest and cheapest.

Posted by
1467 posts

FYI. Skype calls to US 800 numbers are free. Used it this past May to follow up on some minor issues. Skype credits will go dormant if not used from time to time but it’s easy to reactivate.

Posted by
969 posts

If my husband and I both have eSims for Italy from Airalo (data only) and we both have WhatsApp, can we:

1.) call each other when we are out and about using WhatsApp just like a regular phone call?

2.) call Italian restaurants and other businesses as long as they use WhatsApp?
3.) give the car rental company (or Airbnb hosts or whoever) our WhatsApp number for calling us back (yes, they do that)?

We would have our Verizon home phone numbers turned off the whole time unless checking voicemail. In theory, there will be no need to call anyone in the US while we are in Italy.

On past trips, we've always gotten an Italian sim card from Tre or Tim, but would like to try eSims this time.

Thanks!

Posted by
2282 posts

nancys8, hopefully someone replies who has done this in Italy, but yes, WhatsApp works fine via data. I did all the above when I was in Croatia, as everyone there seemed to use WhatsApp. That’s the key.

Posted by
5135 posts

Nancy, yes, you can use WhatsApp with just mobile data (or WiFi) to call someone else with WhatsApp.

If you think you'd like to call or text someone in the US for free while you are gone (e.g. you have to call your airline and be on hold for half an hour), sign up for Google Voice. Free calls to US numbers (you can receive them too but probably not with your Verizon service turned off), and free texting to/from US numbers, but Google Voice will give you a new (separate) phone number you can use for calling or texting. The Google Voice app (which you use to make calls and send/receive texts) works with mobile data or WiFi too.

Posted by
1 posts

I hope this response isn't too late, but I was searching for an esim with voice/text. While you can always use an App on wifi such as What's App, phone calls to businesses may not support an app. While cruising, I arrange small tours for others to join me. So, I more frequently use the calls with businesses.
Onesim is always a good possibility, but they require a minimum of $25 credit to be loaded and it expires unless topped off in 10 months.
For infrequent use, check Travelsim.
Alternately, Mobal provides phone/text with a sim card and a european data bundle with esim. Also note that Mobal is postpay. YOu only pay for what you use and the sim does not expire. It also covers calls/text on a cruise ship which is very unusual. I've used them in the past.
Enjoy your trip,
Cynthia

Posted by
98 posts

Nancy8 "We would have our Verizon home phone numbers turned off the whole time unless checking voicemail." How do you turn off the verizon or primary phone number?

Posted by
732 posts

iskoisko, you do not need to buy a new phone. You can simply swap in Euro SIM for your home SIM. Just don't lose you home SIM.

If you need to buy a new phone anyways, it makes sense to look for one with the dual SIM/eSIM capability. eSIM is the way of the future. There are many other phone companies other than Apple that offer this feature, Google, Samsung etc.

Posted by
2282 posts

Doogie, on an iPhone once you have your new eSim cellular plan in place, in your settings (Cellular) you will see your choice of which line to turn on or turn off. That choice is not there until you actually have two plans to choose from. If you use a physical sim (only one sim in the phone at a time), the choice is made for you just as it is now and you don’t worry about this.