5 Global Data Plan Providers That Support eSIM

Smartphone London

For many travelers, it is essential to stay online even when they are abroad. Whether it’s talking to friends and family or catching up with work – many of us are looking for cheap ways to connect on our trips. Luckily several providers offer international data plans at low (or at least affordable) rates.

But very often, you will have to use a different physical SIM card or opt for another solution, like SIM card stickers. This means you will either need a smartphone will dual-SIM functionality. Or you’ll be forced to exchange the card every time you want to use your travel data plan. While this is better than paying a lot of money for roaming, it still isn’t the ideal solution. Newer smartphones offer a feature called eSIM (short for embedded-SIM). It allows you to add a SIM card without actually doing so. And it works like a charm.

Since this solution is so convenient, we decided to put together a list of providers who will offer global data plans that are distributed via eSIM β€” making it both affordable and comfortable to use your phone while traveling.

Benefits of Using an eSIM

  • No waiting time: While you have to plan ahead when using a physical SIM card or a SIM card sticker (both will be sent to you via snail-mail) you are ready to go right away when using an eSIM.
  • No shipping costs: Since there is nothing that has to be shipped, there are no costs here. And that can make a huge difference, especially if you’re ordering a SIM card that has to be sent to you from the USA or Asia (which is the case most of the time).
  • Free or cheap eSIM: Again, an eSIM is a virtual product, and therefore, the provider does not have to pay for it being produced. And many companies will pass on this benefit to you. The majority of the providers we promote here will not charge for setting up your eSIM profile (at least if you purchase a starter pack).
  • Easy switching between providers: This might not be something you need all the time. But let’s say you’re traveling in two different countries and found a cheap provider for each one of your destinations. No need to carry around two SIM cards. Just change your eSIM profile, and you should be good to go.

Which Devices Will Support eSIM?

This list will become longer and longer, basically by the day. But we still want to provide you with an overview of all devices (at least that we know of) that support eSIM. Please note that not all providers support all devices! So first, you will have to find out if you can use yours to stay online with an eSIM.

Info

Do you know of other devices that are not listed here? Or you want to share your experience with eSIM providers? Then feel free to leave a comment!

  • Smartphones:
    • Apple iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro & 11 Pro Max
    • Nuu Mobile X5
    • Google Pixel 2/2 XL, 3/3 XL, 3A/3A XL & 4/4 XL
    • Samsung Galaxy Fold LTE
    • Motorola Razr 2019
  • Tablets:
    • Apple iPad Pro (3rd Gen), Air (3rd Gen) & Mini (5th Gen)
    • Gemini PDA
    • Microsoft Surface (running Windows 10)
  • Smartwatches:
    • Apple Watch Series 1-3
    • Huawei Watch 2 Pro
    • Samsung Gear S2 + S3

GigSky – Great Provider of Regional Plans

GigSky is a US-based provider that specializes in global mobile data. The company was founded in 2010 and therefore is not a rookie on the market anymore. You can expect reliable service. Next to offers for private consumers, GigSky also provides mobile data access to businesses.

You can choose between a regional plan, a global plan, and several country plans. The validity of these plans ranges from 1 day up to 30 days.

Facts

  • Supported devices:
    • iPhone 11, XR and XS
    • Apple iPad Cellular
    • Google Pixel 3a and 4
    • Devices running Windows 10
  • Top-up and ordering: Only via the app.
  • Coverage: Over 190 countries worldwide.
  • Price range: The cheapest plan comes at US$10 (~€9) for 1 day and goes up to US$60 (~€55) for 30 days. The amount of data varies depending on the country/region you choose.
  • Initial cost of eSIM: Free when purchasing a data plan.
  • Example rate: 1GB of global data, valid for 15 days will cost you US$25 (~€23).

Verdict

GigSky is one of the best providers if you’re looking for regional plans. The company offers 7 of those. Unfortunately, the validity is limited to 30 days. But on the other hand, this should be enough for most vacations or business trips. Pricing is not the lowest, but still, what can be considered as fair.

Also, the list of officially supported devices is only average. But with all newer iPhones being covered, that’s no reason to complain.

Truphone – Average Coverage. But Sweet Plans

Truphone offers a wide range of services to private customers as well as businesses. Founded in the UK in 2006, they apparently grew to become one of the industry leaders. Also, their story sounds like a start-up fairytale since the origin of the company is a farm in Kent.

Truphone lets you pick either a global plan or one of 34 local plans. Not the biggest selection and somehow weird, since the global plans include way more countries. The shortest plan will last for one day. The most extended option is for 30 days.

Facts

  • Supported devices:
    • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max, XS, XS Max, and XR
    • Google Pixel 3, 3a and 4
  • Top-up and ordering: Only via the app.
  • Coverage: 88 countries worldwide.
  • Price range: The cheapest plan comes at €5 for 1 day and goes up to €42 for a 3GB global data plan valid for 30 days. The price of local data plans does not change by country.
  • Initial cost of eSIM: Comes with a data plan. Free trial option available!
  • Example rate: 1GB of global data, valid for 30 days will cost you €15.

Verdict

While the coverage for Truphone customers is average at best, the provider offers one of the cheapest options for data plans. Starting at only €5, you can stay online for one day and use up to 1GB of data. That is if you only want to use your plan within one country.

Newer iPhones and Google’s Pixel smartphones are the only ones that are officially supported. But those models are most likely the ones that most people will use for eSIM anyway. There is one fun-fact that we’d like to mention: Truphone has a 1-day global data plan that you can opt for. Probably not too many occasions where that one makes sense.

airalo – Cheapest Global Plan

Airalo seems to be somewhat shy since the company doesn’t really take pride in its history or any other details, for that matter. We know that they are based in Singapore. But that’s about it. They are committed to bringing cheap global data plans to travelers. And it seems as if this is their only field of operation.

The company offers several local, four regional, and one global plan to its customers. Validity will range from 7 days up to 90 days, although most of them end after 30 days.

Facts

  • Supported devices:
    • iPhone 11/11 Pro/11 Pro Max, iPhone XS/XS Max, iPhone XR
    • Nuu Mobile X5
    • Google Pixel 3/3XL and 4
    • Samsung Galaxy Fold LTE model
    • iPad Pro (3rd Gen), iPad Air (3rd Gen), and iPad mini (5th Gen)
    • Gemini PDA
    • Windows 10 PCs
    • Lenovo Yoga 630
    • HP Spectre Folio
    • Motorola Razr 2019
  • Top-up and Ordering: Only online or via the app.
  • Coverage: Over 100 countries worldwide.
  • Price range: Local plans with 1GB start at only US$3 (~€3). The most expensive plan will cost you around US$40 (~€37).
  • Initial cost of eSIM: Comes with a data plan.
  • Example rate: 20GB of global data, valid for 90 days, will cost you US$40 (~€37).

Verdict

Airalo doesn’t seem like the most reliable company for the simple reason that they will give you a hard time finding out more about them. Sure, if you do some more research, you will get to know them better.

On the plus side, there’s definitely the long list of supported devices and well as the super cheap global data plan. 20GB for only US$40 (~€37) is hard to beat.

Flexiroam – Greatest Variety of Validity

Flexiroam is probably one of the more popular providers of global data plans. We here at Travel Dealz like it very much and even dedicated a whole article to the service. Founded in 2011, it is a reliable partner for travelers. The company is even listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

The reason why we like Flexiroam so much is the excellent variety of plans they offer. There are seven global data passes, and as many local data plans, you can choose from.

Facts

  • Supported devices:
    • iPhone 11/11 Pro/11 Pro Max, iPhone XS/XS Max, and iPhone XR
    • Google Pixel 4, and Pixel 3 series
    • Galaxy Fold LTE models
  • Top-up and Ordering: Only online or via the app.
  • Coverage: Over 150 countries worldwide.
  • Price range: Local plans with 500MB start at only US$5 (~€5). The most expensive plan can cost you up to US$320 (~€294).
  • Initial cost of eSIM: Free when purchasing a starter pack. Else, US$5 (~€5).
  • Example rate: 1GB of global data, valid for 15 days, will cost you US$27 (~€25).

Verdict

We’ve already mentioned that we are big fans of Flexiroam. And that because the company offers the widest variety when it comes to validity. While others limit their plans to 30 or 90 days, Flexiraom is sellings passes that will keep you going for up to 360 days!

Sure, that comes at a price. US$320 (~€294) for the most expensive, year-long plan, is not exactly a bargain. But the company offers discount codes from time to time, making those long-lasting plans more affordable.

Surfroam – the Maverick

Surfroam is a rather new player on the market. The company registered in 2016. It is based in Estonia and opened offices in other European countries recently.

Two things separate Surfroam from its competitors: the number of officially supported devices. And the fact that there are no plans. You can only pay as you go. This can be a benefit for some while it can be a showstopper for others.

Facts

  • Supported devices:
    • iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max
    • Google Pixel 3/3XL, 3A/3A XL, and 4/4XL
    • Samsung Galaxy Fold LTE model
    • iPad Pro 11 and 12.9 -inch Wi-Fi + Cellular (3rd Gen), iPad Air Wi-Fi + Cellular (3rd Gen), iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular (5th Gen)
    • Gemini PDA
    • Lenovo Yoga 630
    • HP Spectre Folio
  • Top-up and Ordering: Only online. There is no app.
  • Coverage: Over 200 countries worldwide
  • Price range: Surfroam provides pay-as-you-go internet access only. Meaning, you will pay per MB you used. Rates are usually between €0,01 and €0,08 per MB.
  • Initial cost of eSIM: €20. But this fee includes €20 in top-up credit. SO it’s basically free.
  • Example rate: No example rate due to Surfroams unique approach.

Verdict

Surfroam is the outsider in our comparison. While most providers will sell you pams, including a certain amount of data, the company from Estonia took a different approach. You pay as you go for the exact amount of data that you’ve used.

This could be a great deal for people traveling to many different places and only need a small amount of data. They support a nice variety of devices, and 200+ countries are what we call a great coverage.

Cover Picture: CC0-Lizenz von Pixabay-User Jacob-Medien

Write a comment

Comments (6)

  1. Igor Kaminsky says:

    I have been a fan of Gigsky for a long time using their physical sim. Great coverage (expensive) but having said that I have tried all eSIM options out there and Airalo is by far the most affordable option. I’m a sailor and I always seek for the best local data. Airalo offers local esims from many countries.

    • Patrick says:

      Hi Igor! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! You’re right. We also found airalo to be the best option in terms of pricing. What we didn’t like is the spare information you can find about the company But then that’s something a lot of people probably won’t care aboutπŸ™‚

  2. JanneH says:

    While not actual purely digital eSIM, you cannot bypass Goodspeed Go when considering cheap Global data.
    In comes currently with Motorola dual SIM smartphones. You need to order the actual SIM alongside your own, but it’s cheap and fast delivery. Then you have actual SIM that creates the eSIM profiles while you go! You don’t need to configure anything while travelling and the coverage and reliability is awesome. Also, no throttling like with so many others.

    https://goodspeed.io/goodspeed-go.html

  3. Chris says:

    So none of these options support Gear S3?

    • Peer says:

      All of the providers publish a certain list for compatibility. As far as I am informed this list isn’t exhaustive however, so your Gear S3 might work as well with these providers. I’d recommend to contact the providers directly to make sure there are no compatibility issues.

  4. Danyway says:

    Honestly I tried Airalo in Colombia and China and it works like EDGE
    Speed is very bad just enought to do whatsapp text and in China I was blocked to Alibaba services

    The good tips is to use MySIM I try them 2 times and last time in China I bought an eSIM with MySIM and speed was arround 22mbps !
    Facebook, Google, Instagram and Whatsapp was working without VPN in China was great to have access to Google MAP in Beijing

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