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Home / Tips and Tricks / Galaxy S20 is the newest smartphone that uses an eSIM. Wait, what is an eSIM?

Galaxy S20 is the newest smartphone that uses an eSIM. Wait, what is an eSIM?



  SIM cards

Plastic SIM cards will soon be a thing of the past. Jason Cipriani / CNET

Samsung & # 39; s Galaxy S20 and Galaxy Z Flip join the iPhone 1

1 Pixel 4 Galaxy Fold En the new, foldable Motorola Razr as the small handful of phones that uses a new technology, called eSIM . What that means depends on the telephone. For some, such as the Razr, you can completely throw away your plastic SIM card. For others, such as the iPhone 11 and Galaxy S20, you can assign two phone numbers to one phone.

A SIM card is the essential ingredient for connecting your phone to a mobile network, calling and texting and your telephone number. An eSIM does the same, but instead of a plastic chip that you can remove from your phone, it is part of the internal components of your phone.

Admittedly, an eSIM is not nearly as exciting as a foldable screen or a camera that can take photos in the dark but it is an essential part of our Phones. Without a SIM card, our phones cannot connect to our wireless network providers, and that can also be iPods. In addition to technological developments in the field of displays, the SIM card is changing – and it is for the better.

What exactly is an eSIM and why do you care? Glad you asked. Here is everything you need to know about eSIM technology and why it matters.

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What is an eSIM?

An eSIM – which stands for & # 39; embedded subscriber identity module & # 39; – is a small electronic chip in a telephone that has the same function as the small plastic SIM cards that we have used for years. Without a SIM card, your telephone does not know which provider to connect to or your telephone number, and your provider does not know which telephone to service with.

  pixel-4-esim "data-original =" https://cnet1.cbsistatic.com/img/ly2Qz1mQNalzgA3Sl8JCpuwUYNU=/2019/11/26/5540b629-971d-4b39-a1a2-4c6591bd28a5/pixel-4-esim .jpg

Google & # 39; s Pixel 4 XL has an eSIM. Jason Cipriani / CNET

What are the benefits of an eSIM?

Unlike SIM-locked SIM cards that prevent you from switching between providers, an eSIM can be programmed and reprogrammed if necessary, so that you can switch between providers or cancel and start the service without a new one each time get a SIM card.

Without a removable SIM card drawer and the valuable space that this requires, phone makers can press larger batteries into the housing of a phone or use the extra space for additional cameras & new features. Of course, no sim card slot probably means no microSD card slot for adding extra storage, a change that phone manufacturers are migrating to. providers and telephone producers need to be streamlined (more on both aspects below), but one thing is clear: we will soon be able to switch between providers with a few taps on the display of our telephone.

  Motorola Razr.

One thing you won't find on the new Razr is a SIM card slot. Juan Garzon / CNET

Which phones now use an eSIM?

There are not many phones that currently use eSIM & # 39; s.

  • Apple & # 39; s iPhone XS, XS Max, XR, 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max all have an eSIM, in addition to the standard plastic SIM card (more about why below).
  • Pixels 2, 3, 3A and 4 from Google also have a standard SIM card slot and eSIM support.
  • Samsung & # 39; s Galaxy Fold has an eSIM and a Micro SIM card drawer.
  • The Motorola Razr is the first phone to be launched without a physical SIM card slot and relies solely on eSIM.
  • Samsung & # 39; s Galaxy S20 S20 Plus and S20 Ultra have a standard SIM and an eSIM, just like the Galaxy Z Flip. The eSIM functionality may not be present at the launch, but will be activated by a future update.
  sim-pixel-3-xl "data-original =" https://cnet3.cbsistatic.com/img/wddIQfrz0HbJv6trAr8iEnFwpG8=/2019/04/09/133fa583-3bb6-4dc5-8851-85e5b59d438f/sim-pix -3-xl.jpg

When you free up the space that a SIM drawer occupies, telephone makers can do many things. Jason Cipriani / CNET

Why have an eSIM and a physical SIM card?

Apple & # 39; s iPhones with two SIM cards – an eSIM and a physical card – can connect to two different providers and phone numbers at the same time. So you can have your personal and business number on one iPhone, even if you have T-Mobile and Verizon as providers respectively. This is possible on an iPhone because it is unlocked and supports multiple providers.

Phones with eSIM & # 39; s are also useful for frequent travelers: you can use the eSIM to sign up for a data plan abroad and protect yourself against roaming charges. And if you set up an eSIM via a provider such as GigSky before you leave, you have data access as soon as you land.

Of course, you do not have to use both SIM cards at the same time, or not at all, and when you purchase the phone from your provider, it is usually supplied with a standard SIM that is already installed and ready to connect to your account. .

However, if you buy a phone that does not have a SIM card, you must go to your provider at certain stores or websites such as Swappa or order a SIM card and wait for it to arrive in the mail, then activate it. With an eSIM you don't have to wait – you can activate the phone in a matter of minutes.

  apple-iphone-11-10 "data-original =" https://cnet1.cbsistatic.com/img/dFIQdwLX-fEo11n_WCFQM2mP-ks=/2020/02/11/23939f04-506d-47fb-9003-474e2f280a74 /13-samsung-galaxy-s20-and-s20-plus-and-s20-ultra-group-shots.jpg cialis19659044Buchapple-iphone-11-10 cialis19659017 cialis Do you know that you can connect two phone numbers to your Galaxy S20? Angela Lang / CNET
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<h2>  Will all telephones use eSIM cards? </h2>
<p>  The chance is high, yes. It is logical for telephone producers and providers to remove the plastic SIM cards, both from an extra cost point of view and from an environmental point of view, when you view the large plastic card to which a standard SIM card is attached. </p>
<h2>  Does my provider have to support eSIM technology to use it? </h2>
<p>  Yes. Apple has a list of all wireless providers around the world that support the iPhone's eSIM function. </p>
<p>  As far as Pixel from Google is concerned, the process is a bit more confusing. <span class= Google Fi Google's prepaid wireless provider can use an eSIM and some US providers such as AT&T and Sprint support eSIM & # 39; s on the Pixel 4, but not on older Pixel phones.

When I try to add a mobile eSIM subscription to my Pixel 4 XL, I get the AT&T, Sprint and Google Fi option.

It seems that it is a hit or miss when it comes to which provider supports which device, and it becomes even more confusing when looking for dual SIM support.

If you have a Pixel phone and want to use the eSIM functionality, it is a good idea to contact your wireless network provider and ask for eSIM support for your specific model.

  iphone-esim "data-original =" https://cnet4.cbsistatic.com/img/3Dq8qG7g5ygVxA8bTHI33BOkis4=/2019/11/26/8340da96-5632-4fa1-a512-20b816146079/iphone-esim.jpg cialis19659056] iphone-esim

Setting the eSIM function of the iPhone takes only a few minutes. Jason Cipriani / CNET

Phones are not the only gadgets that use eSIM & # 39; s.

eSIM technology is not only found in phones. The Apple Watch and Samsung's Galaxy Watch with mobile connectivity use eSIM & # 39; s to connect to your provider. Some of Apple & # 39; s iPad models with mobile also have an eSIM. We are also starting to see some laptops, such as the Surface Pro that have eSIM capabilities.

How do I set up an eSIM?

The process varies based on your provider. AT&T users must receive an eSIM activation card from the courier. There is a QR code in it that you can use to program the eSIM with your information. Some providers, such as Verizon Wireless, use their mobile app to program the eSIM.

Again, it is a good idea to contact your provider about the eSIM activation process.

Setting up an eSIM on your iPhone takes only a few seconds. If you want to see what life is like with an eSIM phone, the foldable Motorola Razr with its innovative hinge is the way to do it – for just $ 1,499. The Galaxy Z Flip is now available has the same shape as the Razr, but is priced at only $ 1,380.

  Motorola Razr "data-original =" https://cnet2.cbsistatic.com/img/ANHM9fzIL7PlMXBqZxSHxMBLo-U=/2019/11/15/2e6df59c-2a99-4aa2-9ec3-129cda3cd1a0/motorola-razr.jpg [19659066] Motorola Razr

The new Razr certainly looks nice, doesn't it? Juan Garzon / CNET

Originally published last year. Updated with information about new phones.


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