Frequently Asked Questions about eSIM

Answers to your frequently asked questions about our physical SIM cards, eSIM profiles, and much more.​

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About eSIM

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What is an eSIM?
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An eSIM is the modern version of the old-fashioned plastic SIM cards which have historically been used in mobile phones as a piece of hardware that sits inside your phone.

An eSIM is software that allows you to download a Sim instantly to your phone, allowing you to connect to a local mobile network almost anywhere in the world.

An eSIM is a more convenient, and environmentally friendly way for you to connect.

Simply download the Sim Local app today, activate a bundle, and go.

Can I return my eSIM?
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If you've purchased an eSIM and have not yet activated it yet, you can return it for a full refund within 60 days of purchase.

To do this:
- Go to My eSIM and click on plan details.
- If the plan has not been activated, you will see the 'Return Plan' option.
- Select it and confirm.
- Your refund will be processed automatically.

Already activated your plan and having an issue with your eSIM? Contact us for assistance.

What payment methods do you support?
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Sim Local accepts:

- Visa (including Visa PrePaid, Visa Premium Deferred Debit)
- Mastercard (including all cards associated with Mastercard (i.e Maestro)
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
All credit/debit card transactions on simlocal.com are processed securely by Stripe, to keep your information safe.

Can I switch between eSIM profiles?
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Yes, absolutely. One of the advantages of eSIMs is that you can have several plans on your phone at any time and switch between them instantly depending on where you are and the plan you wish to use.

Please note: Some devices will limit the number of eSIMs you can store on your phone at any one time and you may need to remove an old eSIM to use a new one.

Can I use more than one eSIM at a time?
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One of the advantages of eSIMs is that you can have several plans on your phone and switch between them instantly, depending on where you are and the plan you wish to use. Depending on your device, you may be able to use a dual-eSIM configuration, but typically you cannot use more than two at the same time.

You can check your device manufacturer guidelines for more information.

Please note: Some devices will limit the number of eSIMs you can store on your phone at any one time and you may need to remove an old eSIM to use a new one. (Typically 8-10 eSIMs)

Can I keep my eSIM if I change my phone number?
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Yes, your eSIM is associated with your phone rather than your operator plan or phone number.

What does validity and activation mean?
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Validity refers to the number of days a plan can be used for.

- Most of our plans are valid for 30 days but some smaller data plans are only valid for 7 days.
- It is best to choose the plan that suits your needs according to how long you are travelling for and how much data you will use.
- The validity period will start when you activate your plan or when you land in the relevant country according to the operator you are with.

Please check your plan details for when the validity period starts.

Activation refers to when you download and install your eSIM and it’s ready to use.
- Please ensure you check with your individual plan details or contact customer services if there is an issue with activating your plan.

Please note: Guest checkout activates your chosen plan at the time of purchase. To activate your plan later, we recommend signing up so that you can log into your account to activate your plan when you travel.

When can I install my eSIM?
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We recommend that you download and install your eSIM just before travel, and when you have a Wi-Fi connection.

Each of our operators have slightly different activation rules so please check your plan before travel for when the validity period will start and end, to ensure the maximum use from your eSIM.

We also have retail units at many major airports to provide any assistance or advice you may need.

See our store locations.

Why choose Sim Local?
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- We offer local plans from local providers at local prices
- We provide a 5* customer service
- We offer a wide variety of plans, including data only and bundles

Advantages of using an eSIM
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- No contract
- Fast eSim download
- Prices start at just £3
- Avoid expensive roaming fees
- Connect to a local network wherever you are in the world
- Buy and activate your eSim instantly
- Utilise multiple eSIM profiles for easy jet-setting
- Private and secure use
- No fiddly trays or hardware to work with

Can I use an eSIM?
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If your device is a relatively new Apple, Samsung, or Google smartphone, then the answer is most-likely ‘yes’.

If not, you should check If your phone is eSIM ready and unlocked from your current provider.

Devices from Apple iPhone 11, Samsung Fold S21, and Google Pixel 3 onwards all support eSIM but if you’re not sure, you can check the manufacturers’ website or check our handy guide.

Are eSIMs Secure?
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Yes, eSIM technology incorporates robust security features similar to traditional SIM cards, with the added benefit of not being physically removable.

Once installed, your eSIM cannot be moved to another device, making it even more secure than a physical SIM card. However, please take care to not reveal your eSIM details to others if you do not intend to give this plan to someone else.

How can I top up an eSIM?
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Our Smartroam plans allow for top ups.

If you have purchased a Smartroam plan, you will be able to purchase an Add On through your account via My eSIM.

If you have purchased another branded eSIM, you can choose to renew your eSIM via My eSIM , which will allow you to keep your eSIM and restart your plan benefits.

How do Sim Local plans work?
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We partner with local network carriers around the world to offer competitive plans that offer data, texts, and calls at affordable rates.

When you purchase and activate a plan from Sim Local, we will provide you with download details for your eSIM, along with instructions on how to install it to your device.

Please note: Activating your plan requires an Internet connection and it's best to do this on the day of travel.

eSIM Compatible Handsets

What are local and international call minutes?
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When a plan offers ‘call minutes’, there is usually a difference between local and international minutes.‍

Local minutes refers to minutes for calls made within the country you are using the plan in.

International minutes refers to minutes for calls made from different countries.

Some terms and conditions may apply, depending on your operator. If you're unsure, you can refer to Network Terms and Conditions for more information.

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eSIM Guides

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How to turn off your eSIM?
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You may wish to turn your eSIM off when you return home or on a trip. If you have data and the eSIM is still valid, you can switch it back on when needed.

On IOS:              

- Go to settings.

- Select 'Cellular' or 'Mobile data'.

- Select the eSIM line and turn off.

On Android:    

- Go to Settings.

- Select 'Connections'.

- Select Mobile Network.

-  Turn off the eSIM.

How do I convert my SIM Card to an eSIM?
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Unfortunately, we cannot help with this but please contact your Network Operator directly for assistance.

How do I change my APN settings?
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To change your Access Point Name (APN) settings, go to your 'devices settings', locate the network or cellular settings and then find the APN section.

Enter the new APN details provided by your mobile carrier and save the changes. If you are unsure about this, contact your carrier for more specific instructions.

Can I use an eSIM and a physical SIM card at the same time?
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Yes, Dual SIM technology makes this possible.  

You can purchase an eSIM plan from Sim Local and use this alongside your regular SIM when you travel.  

This enables you to run two lines – one for work and one for home or one for travel and one for family.

You can also select one line for calls and another for data or however you choose to configure your options.

Dual SIM technology allows you to use multiple eSIMs or a physical SIM and an eSIM at the same time, allowing you to select which functionality you want from each.

If you want to use both an eSIM and a physical SIM at the same time, follow these simple steps:

1. Ensure you label your plans and give each a name that help you easily identify which is which

On IOS:

- Go to phone settings.

- Tap Cellular or Mobile data.

- Tap your eSIM plan and enter the name and save.

On Android:

- Go to phone settings.

- Select Network & Internet or Connections.

- Select SIM Card.

- Select eSIM plan and enter the name & save.

2. When you land in your eSIM destination, activate it to use the local network

On IOS:

- Go to settings.

- Select Cellular or mobile.

- Select your eSIM line.

- Select ‘turn on this line’ and turn on data roaming.

On Android:

- Go to settings.

- Select Network & Internet or Connections.

- Choose mobile network.

- Turn on your eSIM.

- Turn on mobile data and data roaming.

3. Set up your Voice Line

This will be used for calls and texts. If your eSIM is data only you will want to use your physical SIM but please note you will be subject to data roaming charges.

On IOS:

- Go to settings.

- Select Cellular or mobile data.

- Select default Voice line and select your SIM or eSIM.

On Android:

- Go to settings.

- Select Network & Internet or Connections.

- Select SIM card.

- Select calls and your SIM or eSIM line.

- Select texts and select your SIM or eSIM line.

4. Choose your data line (Note: Only one of your lines can use data).

On IOS:

- Go to settings.

- Select Cellular or mobile data.

- Select default Voice line and select your SIM or eSIM line.

On Android:

- Go to settings.

- Select Network & Internet or Connections.

- Select SIM card.

- Choose Data Service Network.

- Select your SIM or eSIM line.

When you return home or wish to switch back you can go to your settings at any time and switch back to the plan you would like to use.

Is my phone "unlocked" and able to use an eSIM?
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You can check if your phone is unlocked by contacting your network provider. Networks can unlock phones on request, but this may be subject to the terms and conditions of your network agreement.

Phone Unlocking

Can I use iMessage with my data-only eSIM?
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Yes, you can use iMessage with your data only eSIM however, you need to ensure it is configured properly in your settings.  

iMessage uses data rather than traditional SMS, so having a data connection is essential.  

When you download your new eSIM, your phone will prompt you to set this up in settings to ensure it remains active.

On your iPhone:

- Go to settings

- Go to messages

- Turn iMessage off

- Turn iMessage back on

- Select Send and Receive

- Uncheck your phone number and select your email address (this ensures you use your data).

You can reverse these steps and select your phone number when you return home to stop using your eSIM.

How to Make a Phone Call With a Data-Only eSIM
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If your eSIM is data-only, don't panic! You can still keep in touch with friends and family.

Here are three ways to make a phone call with a data-only eSIM:

1. Use an Internet-Based Calling App

The best way to make a phone call with a data-only eSIM is with an internet-based calling app like WhatsApp, FaceTime, or Skype.

These free services allow you to place and receive calls over the internet and they help you avoid costly roaming charges as they'll use your eSIM data to connect. 

Most of these apps will automatically sync your contacts, making it easy to stay connected with your friends and family, however the person you are calling must also have the app downloaded.  

It’s a good idea to download one of these options before you start your trip and share it with your friends and family, so they know how to reach you.

2. Make Calls via Social Media

Facebook Messenger and Instagram DMs both have calling features.  

You will need to ensure that your contacts also use this method of connection but please ensure data roaming is switched off for your primary SIM line to avoid charges.

3. Use Your Primary Number

You can continue to use your primary SIM line for voice and text when you travel.

However, this will use your home plan (not your eSIM data plan), and roaming fees may apply.

It's a good idea to first check in with your carrier about their roaming rates to avoid large bills when you return!

To use your primary line to place calls, you'll need to turn it on and enable it for calls and/or texts (you can do this in your phone settings).

Your phone will continue to use your eSIM to access data and switch to your home line when you want to place a call.

I bought a new device to use with an existing eSIM. Can I reinstall my existing eSIM QR code again to activate on my new device?
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Each unique QR code is one time use only. Therefore, once the QR code has been successfully scanned once it cannot be rescanned to download the same profile.

I cannot locate my QR code, how can I download my eSIM profile again?
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If you are unable to locate the QR code and the manual instructions, please contact Customer Support with the order number and our team will reshare this information.

I accidentally reset my eSIM. How can I download it again?
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Each unique QR code is one time use only. Therefore, once the QR code has been successfully scanned once, it cannot be rescanned to download the same profile. Contact our customer support team if you have accidentally reset your eSIM.

Can the eSIM be accidentally removed?
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No, the eSIM cannot be accidentally removed unless the eSIM is deleted in error.

I’m having trouble downloading my eSIM, what should I do?
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If your eSIM profile fails to download, you should contact Customer Support with the order number of the eSIM accompanied by any supporting images of the error for this to be investigated further.

I would like to switch to a new network operator, can I change my eSIM profile?
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Yes, but you will need to purchase a new eSIM with the new network.

How long does it take to download a profile?
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It can take between 1-10 minutes for the eSIM to activate.

What do I do if my eSIM device is lost or stolen?
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Unfortunately, we are unable to help with this, but you should contact your Network Operator directly to discuss next steps.

Can I transfer my existing phone number to my eSIM?
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Unfortunately, we are unable to help with this, but you should contact your Network Operator directly to find out more.

Will my physical SIM work in a device with my eSIM?
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Yes, you will be able to select whether you use your eSIM or SIM card for data, calls and texts, depending on the plan you selected.

How do I remove an eSIM?
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To remove an eSIM from your device, click into:

- Travel line (settings > mobile data) and at the bottom there is a button, to `Delete eSIM’.  

- When you click this, you will get a pop-up message stating the eSIM will be deleted from your phone, however your mobile data plan will not be cancelled. It will also advise you to contact your network provider to obtain a new eSIM or cancel your plan.

- If you’re happy to delete the eSIM, press `Delete eSIM’.  

- A final warning message will appear to ensure you definitely want to remove the eSIM as this can’t be undone. If you still want to delete the eSIM, press `Delete eSIM’.

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Troubleshooting

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My eSIM failed to activate or got stuck activating.
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If you try to install an eSIM but you are not yet in the destination country, it will not be able to complete activation, as it cannot connect to the destination’s local network.

However, if your eSIM is installed on your device, you do not need to complete activation until you arrive. Once you get to your destination, your eSIM will be able to connect to the local network and you can start using it.

If you are still having issues, please contact our Customer Support team, providing your order number, the plan you purchased and screenshots of any screens that show issues.

I installed my eSIM, I have no connection, or I receive the error "PDP Authentication Failure".
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There may be a few causes for this:‍

Are you trying to use your eSIM in your home country?‍

If you have bought a plan for another destination, it may not work successfully until you are in your destination country.‍

Have you turned on 'Data Roaming'?‍

You may not have Data Roaming enabled for your eSIM. You can do this via your eSIM settings on iPhone and Android devices or by going to Connections > Mobile Network settings on Samsung. (Connections may also be called SIM Manager).‍

Have you set your eSIM to use data?‍

In your eSIM settings, make sure that the eSIM is switched on, data settings are enabled, and that Data Roaming is enabled.

If the above steps do not help, please try resetting your network settings*:

  • Go to Settings on your device
  • Go to General
  • Go to Reset
  • Go to Reset Network Settings
  • Restart your device

If none of the above applies or works, please contact our Customer Support team.

What should I do if I've deleted or lost the QR code for my eSIM?
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Please contact our Customer Support team who will be able to assist you. Please have your order number to hand to help make the process as quick as possible.

My QR code isn't working. What should I do?
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Please contact our Customer Support team who will be able to assist you. Please include your order number.
You can also choose Manual activation. Please go to your eSIM details on My eSIM for more instructions.

I'm experiencing the "This code is no longer valid" error.
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Confirm your eSIM has been installed or not with the following steps:

  • Go to Settings
  • Go to General
  • Tap About & scroll down

If the eSIM profile fails to download, please contact Customer Support with the order number of the eSIM along with any screenshots of the error you have experienced.

What do I do if my eSIM device is lost or stolen?
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Unfortunately, we are unable to help with this, but you should contact your Network Operator directly to discuss next steps.

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