No matter where you spend your holiday, whether it be in the forest or the urban jungle, there is one thing you should pack first, a strong, widely accessible mobile internet connection. It’s a necessary component for a hassle-free vacation. However, learning the ins and outs of a foreign nation’s telecommunications networks can be overwhelming. Because of this, we advise avoiding the hassles and making travel-friendly eSIM arrangements for the USA before you depart. This guide on eSIM for USA will help you with it, let’s check it out!
Table of Contents
I. What is USA eSIM?
eSIM is a digital SIM that is built into the phone and is made up of both hardware and software. A cell phone that supports eSIM has the necessary hardware and software, also known as an eSIM profile, which contains the operator’s identification. With the help of these two components, the cellphone may connect to cellular networks and function like a SIM card.
eSIM for USA is the eSIM that was activated and used for the US region. Due to its convenience, this is ideal for traveling within the US. The eSIM service is simple to activate, so you may get online right away and begin your trip to the US.
II. eSIM vs Physical SIM?
Below are some similarities and differences between eSIM and physical SIM:
- Connect your phone to your mobile network carriers.
- Can be utilized simultaneously in a dual-SIM phone.
- Have no distinction if both SIMs are connected to the same network (but the signal could be interrupted with a faulty connector, thus you can expect a more reliable signal from eSIM).
|Design||Embed in the device.||Physical chip into SIM tray. Various sizes.|
|Classify||It is classified under a popularly designated MFF2 (machine-to-machine) form factor.||It is mainly classified by their form factors by subscriber identity modules like 1FF, 2FF (mini SIMs), 3FF (micro SIMs), 4FF, and 4FF (nano SIMs).|
|Number of profiles||Multiple profiles||One profile|
|Activates||Online without delivery.||Activated by SIM card provider at the store.|
Through the short comparison, we can easily see how eSIM outweighs physical SIM. That’s why eSIM is becoming the best option for travelers.
III. Pros and Cons of eSIM in US for Travelers
Below are some pros and cons of eSIM for US. It can help travelers to make their own choice of means of communication.
|Advantages of US eSIM||Disadvantages of US eSIM|
|Online purchase and activation: You’ll get your US eSIM card right away after purchasing the eSIM from an eSIM provider in the US. |
Reasonable price: eSIM has a better price than SIM card, data roaming, and pocket wifi.
Support: eSIM carriers may always be ready to provide you with online support.
Secure: eSIM cannot be physically lost or harmed. It’s easy to save your QR code to reactive your eSIM.
|Hard to switch/transfer data: eSIM can not physically transfer data from other devices.|
Restriction on old models: Only specific modern phone models support eSIM.
Privacy: When using eSIM, it is problematic for those who do not want to be followed by carriers.
We can see the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of eSIM. Thus, it’s recommended to use an eSIM for your US traveling instead of a physical SIM card.
IV. Why is an eSIM Helpful When Traveling in the US?
When traveling in the US, you might require an active cellular line to interact with family members back home and other tourists or to upload pictures to social media. Additionally, you may check schedules, make online payments, verify travel itineraries, rent a car, and need to utilize GPS. Then, an eSIM will be one of the indispensable items for your trip.
When traveling within the US, using an eSIM has several advantages, such as:
- Avoid roaming fees: Easily purchase local data plans to avoid paying exorbitant international roaming fees.
- Secure your SIM card: You do not have to remove your personal SIM card and risk losing it to use a local SIM card.
- Dual SIM setup: Dual SIM setups are possible with eSIM cards, allowing you, for instance, to use the same device for both your personal and professional phone numbers.
- Undepend from wifi: There is no need to look for Wi-Fi or to be offline.
- Cost-saving: Compared to purchasing local SIM cards, you will receive better pricing.
Tips: eSIM is ideal for vacations in the US between 3 days and 3 months. If it’s more than that, you might be better off purchasing a standard local SIM.
V. Does the US Support eSIM?
Yes, in the US, eSIM is supported by 3 main mobile network carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon). Additionally, numerous eSIM service providers in the US provide various US eSIM plans.
All you have to do is make sure your phone is eSIM compatible. The following modern smartphones are compatible:
- iPhone: iPhone models starting with the iPhone XS and XR (2020), iPhone SE 2, iPhone Series 11, 12, 13.
- Samsung: Samsung Galaxy S (from S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra onwards), Galaxy Note 20 and onwards, Samsung Galaxy Fold, Fold 2, and onwards, Galaxy Z Flip onwards.
- Huawei: Huawei P40, P0 Pro, Mate 40 Pro, and later models.
- Google: Google Pixel 3, 3a (some versions still do not allow eSIM), 4, 4 XL, 4a, 5, and later models.
- Oppo: Oppo Find X3 Pro, Reno 5A.
- Motorola: Motorola Razr (2019), Razr 5G (dual SIM).
Notes: Check out the full eSIM-compatible devices list. All new mobile phones are quickly adopting eSIM as a standard, and soon every phone will be eSIM-compatible.
VI. Features of the eSIM for the USA
We’ve compiled some crucial information to remember so that your journey to the USA is worry-free and you can make the most of your eSIM card.
- The majority of eSIM cards provide data, not mobile calls. Instead, you can utilize programs like Skype or WhatsApp.
- If you’re having issues with your eSIM card, don’t take it out of your phone; instead, contact your eSIM supplier. eSIMs can only be installed once.
- Some eSIMs configure APNs automatically.
- Although you can add multiple data plans to your phone, you can only utilize one at once.
- You can share data between devices with some eSIMs.
- You can use your home SIM when you travel to the US with your multi-SIM phone.
VII. How Many Types of eSIM in the USA?
There are just 2 categories of eSIMs available on the market. There will be prepaid and postpaid eSIMs, just like we are accustomed to seeing on the SIM card market. These are currently the two most popular services on the market, which makes things pretty dependable for individuals. There is no need to worry about which one to select; instead, travelers may pick the one they prefer and use it.
However, how to decide which is superior to the other? Let’s take a closer look at these 2 types of eSIM to weigh your option:
When discussing a prepaid service, we often imagine that anyone who chooses to use a type of service must pay before doing so. Utilizing this service has various benefits, such as ensuring you are always aware of your financial obligations.
Additionally, you’ll always be aware of when to make a payment. The prepaid eSIM offers a wide range of services, with cellular data as its primary current feature.
Prepaid eSIM is suitable for typical users. It can help users easily estimate their data spending. From there, they can manage their budget for the trip.
Just like with the prepaid service, it is simple to predict how the postpaid service will operate. After using it, people will pay for their data plan or consumption, not before.
These eSIMs function in the same devices as a typical prepaid eSIM, including Samsung, iPhone, certain Huawei, and Google products. Other than that, there aren’t any big distinctions between the two services; they’re very much the same.
Postpaid eSIM is not as popular as Prepaid eSIM. It’s the proper choice for a business trip with a high budget for communication.
VIII. US eSIM vs Other Internet Connection Alternatives
We inform you of further options that will enable you to connect to the internet if your cell phone is incompatible with eSIMs for USA. This comparison below can assist you in deciding whether to use an eSIM or another option.
|Features||US eSIM||SIM card||Data Roaming||Pocket Wifi|
|Buy and activate online||Available||Not available||Available||Not available|
|Data/Connection||Extensive data (based on plans)||Stable connection||Fast connection||Fast and shareable connection|
|Call and SMS||Available (based on plans)||Available||Available||Not available|
|Usage||Trip in less than 3 months||Trip more than 3 months||Trip in less than 1 month||Family trips|
|Risks||Unstable connection||Long-days registration||Out of budget||Fine for loss misplacement|
1. US eSIM vs. Prepaid SIM Card
You can connect to the internet using a pre-paid SIM card for the United States. This choice benefits from working with the most unlocked cell phones in the USA. The drawback is that you must travel to nearby American retailers or wait a few days for delivery to your home.
eSIM provides the advantage of converting your cell phone into a dual-SIM device if you already have a SIM card. There is no need to visit a store to acquire the eSIM; activation takes just a few minutes. The whole procedure is carried out online!
Consequently, this choice is superior to a prepaid SIM in the USA if your cell phone is eSIM compliant.
2. US eSIM vs. Data roaming
Data roaming is a feature that operators provide so that you can utilize the plan you purchased in the United States. However, it’s a pricey service in most nations.
The pricing differential is astronomical when compared to the eSIM in the USA. Operators frequently provide the SMS service for free, though. If you need to receive an analog call from your home or get an SMS or make payments in the US, it’s a good idea to use both services.
3. US eSIM vs. Pocket WiFi
Since the prepaid eSIM only permits you to utilize limitless data on a single cell phone, renting a Pocket WiFi may be a suitable choice for family vacations. The choice here will depend on the degree of independence and the average distance between the travelers.
A drawback of renting Pocket WiFi is the cost of the service, for which there is a chance of getting fined for loss or misplacement.
IX. Mobile Network Coverage for eSIM in USA
The United States only has 3 major mobile carriers: Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile (T-Mobile bought out Sprint in April 2020), in contrast to Europe, which has a fragmented mobile market with various operators in each of the EU’s 44 member states.
It’s crucial to pay attention to your eSIM’s coverage. Remember that some inexpensive eSIM cards have bad coverage, which could prevent you from accessing internet when you need it most. Let’s examine the major service providers in the USA to determine which ones provide the best connection.
- AT&T’s 4G, LTE coverage map in the US:
- T-Mobile’s 4G, LTE coverage map in the US:
- Verizon’s 4G, LTE coverage map in the US:
X. How Much Data do You Need When Traveling to the USA?
You will use your phone differently than other travelers. Consider your usage patterns and the apps you use when estimating how much mobile data you’ll need. For example, reading emails (without attachments) uses relatively little data, whereas scrolling through TikTok videos uses a lot.
This simple program will explain the terminology and estimate your consumption if you don’t understand the distinction between a “megabyte” and a “gigabyte.” Most frequent travelers should aim for 6–10GB per month if they use their phones frequently.
- Light users (100MB – 400MB/day): Users will often scroll around social media and occasionally post pictures of themselves.
- Mid-range users (300MB – 500MB/day): They are people who download huge app updates, view high-resolution photographs on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and stream trip videos on TikTok and YouTube.
- Heavy users (500MB – 800MB/day): They can connect their laptop to a hotspot and download huge attachments for work or perform remote backups.
XI. What Do You Need to Prepare to Buy eSIM in the USA?
Because eSIM for USA technology is so new, not all phones are compatible. Before making a purchase, make sure to check the following:
- Compatible phone: An eSIM card must work with your cell phone. Additionally, confirm that the carrier or provider of the eSIM card supports your cell phone.
- Email address: To receive your eSIM, you must have an email address.
- Internet connection: To activate your eSIM, you must have an internet connection. After you scan the QR code or installation code, your eSIM profile will be downloaded from the provider.
- eSIM apps (Some cases): To download the eSIM, some providers will want you to install their apps.
XII. Which Mobile Carriers Work with eSIMs in the USA?
Just about 46 carriers in 24 countries offer eSIM, which is a small number of carriers worldwide. There are just 3 in the United States: AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile.
|Carrier||4G coverage||Availability||Average Download Speed (w/ 5G)||Average Upload Speed||Latency|
|T-Mobile||8.7 out of 10||95.4%||25.8 Mbps||8.6 Mbps||50.4ms|
|Verizon||8.7 out of 10||95.9%||25.3 Mbps||7.9 Mbps||56.4ms|
|AT&T||9.7 out of 10||92.9%||27.5 Mbps||6.0 Mbps||49.7ms|
Notes: Choosing a mobile network carrier is not a big deal for travelers. You may not worry too much about the network carrier because the network carrier options in the US are not too many, and they both have quite similar quality.
1. Verizon (Huge LTE Coverage Area)
Verizon has acquired a reputation for providing some of the greatest LTE coverage. They cover mobile networks anywhere in the country where there are people.
Verizon uses the My Verizon App to manage its eSIM support. Despite some challenging stages, switching to a new provider is simple.
- How Verizon works with eSIM: You just need to launch the My Verizon App after downloading it, then tap the “Join Now” icon. Next, you will need to find the Digital SIM IMEI. Verizon can determine which phone you want eSIM service on, thanks to your IMEI. The app guides you through selecting the best cell plan for you after you’ve verified your eligibility. Verizon will email you a QR code after you’re done.
2. AT&T (One of the Fastest LTE Networks Around)
AT&T is a great choice for those who’re looking for some of the best LTE speeds and a growing 5G network adding even more speed.
Although AT&T supports eSIM for USA, it doesn’t make it as simple as Verizon. AT&T needs you to join up in other methods. AT&T allows you to finish the entire sign-up procedure on their app. So, to sign up for a plan, you’ll need to contact or visit the website.
- How AT&T works with eSIM: A QR code will be sent to you by AT&T once you have a new plan. You must add your plan to settings (settings->cellular->add a plan) in order to activate the eSIM. The camera will open whenever you click “add a plan,” allowing you to scan the QR code. You’re finished when you notice the phrase “installing cellular plan.”
3. T-Mobile (Greatly Improved Coverage with the Best 5G Speeds)
T-Mobile has been working hard to improve its mobile network. It has successfully built the largest and fastest 5G network in the US.
Instead of using a QR code, T-Mobile, unlike AT&T, uses an app to manage eSIM. To finish the process, all you need to do is use the T-Mobile eSIM app.
- How T-Mobile works with eSIM: You simply launch the app, choose a plan, and the software turns on your new line. You must subscribe to one of T-basic Mobile’s pre-paid plans since the company currently does not support pay-as-you-go plans with eSIM.
XIII. Top eSIM Providers in the USA
We advise a prepaid SIM card for the USA that comes with unlimited data if your phone is not eSIM compatible. However, if your phone is compatible, it’s time to select the best option for you. Let’s look at the companies that provide US eSIM:
Brief Comparison eSIM Providers in USA
Here is a brief comparison of the top 6 US eSIM providers so you can make an informed decision.
|Provider||Data||Days||Price ($)||Where to buy|
|Gigago||3-50GB||5-30||$14.00 – $141.50||Website|
|Gigsky||1-5GB||1-30||$10-$40||App Store/ Google Play|
|T-Mobile||10GB||30||$40||App Store/ Google Play|
Introducing the revolutionary Gigago eSIM data for tourists visiting the USA. Stay connected effortlessly and enjoy seamless communication throughout your journey. With cutting-edge eSIM technology, you will have the ultimate solution to all your data needs while exploring the wonders of America.
No more hassles of hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots or dealing with complicated SIM card setups. Gigago eSIM data offers you the freedom and flexibility to stay connected anytime, anywhere in the US.
Choose from a variety of data options tailored to suit your individual requirements. Whether you need a short burst of data for a day trip or a generous amount to fuel your adventures throughout your stay, Gigago has you covered. Stay in control of your connectivity and experience the true convenience of eSIM.
Some USA eSIM plans on Gigago:
Holafly is a reputable online retailer of eSIM. You may always stay connected by utilizing an eSIM. Over 120 locations, including those in North America, Europe, and Asia, are supported. With costs ranging from $19 to $99, Holafly provides an unlimited data subscription with a lifespan of between 5 and 90 days.
Holafly offers many plan options, so it is proper for various types of users. Based on your need, you can consider the Holafly plans.
Get a Gigsky eSIM to travel to the US and stay in touch without paying exorbitant roaming costs to your local operator. You can choose 1GB for one day, 3G for 15 days, or 5GB for 30 days. Gigsky eSIM is mostly compatible with Android devices like the Google Pixel 3 and higher and iOS devices starting from the iPhone XR or higher.
Gigsky is a good option for those using devices with rare variances because it manages eSIM on an app. Gigsky also offers suitable plans for light users with little data and a low budget.
The 7GB United States package from Nomad includes 7GB of mobile data that is good for 30 days. This plan offers one of the best Prices/GB for $20.00. Truphone, a provider of international connectivity, provides Nomad’s package. Please be aware that the plan can potentially be upgraded.
Nomad is suitable for mid-range users who are looking for an eSIM plan with a reasonable price/gb and stable 4G speed connection.
Simtex offers 10GB of data-only plans. Once activated, this prepaid plan has a 30-day expiration date and costs $25. With a Price/Gb, this plan is also competitive. When we tested this plan in New York, we were able to roam on tier 1 providers and experience 4G speeds.
Simtex provides a good experience on 4G speed. Thus, if you have a high demand for using the internet, Simtex will be your option.
One of the major local US service providers, T-Mobile, offers a prepaid eSIM plan for travelers. You may purchase 10GB of data for $40. Although this is a little pricey, you can use the fantastic T-Mobile app and network. It’s quite simple and easy to get online; you only have to download the T-mobile eSIM app and purchase a plan here.
T-Mobile has strength in experience in network coverage. If you prioritize network experience, T-Mobile eSIM will be your best option.
An eSIM subscription with 25GB is available from Israeli telecom company KeepGo, and it is good for a whole year. It costs $115.00, which is more but still provides excellent value because of its lengthy lifespan. Note that if the data is updated at least once a year, it is valid forever (for any amount).
KeepGo is absolutely suitable for those who have a long trip to the US. Its duration will ensure you will have a mobile network in even a year.
XIV. How to Buy eSIM in the US?
For now, eSIM is a fantastic alternative that people should consider when traveling. We will supply you with all the information you need to know about using the provider’s website to purchase a USA eSIM if you need to.
- Step 1: Visit the provider’s website first.
- Step 2: You must enter your destination—in this case, the USA—in the search field there.
- Step 3: You must select the option you wish to buy after searching for an eSIM for the USA. With unlimited data, there are more than 5 options to choose from!
- Step 4: You must finish the purchase process after choosing the data plan you want to purchase. There are numerous payment options available!
- Step 5: After that, an email confirmation with the eSIM QR code will be sent to you.
Notes: These are a few basic steps to follow. Each provider will have some specific requirements, but the basic steps are quite similar.
XV. How to Install and Activate USA eSIM?
Using USA eSIM on various devices may differ slightly. Android and iOS smartphones are the two main categories of typical eSIM-compatible devices. Let’s look at installing and activating eSIM for the USA on the two different systems.
1. How to Install and Activate eSIM on iOS (iPhone)?
The 2 actions listed below must be carried out in order to install and activate your US eSIM for use with iPhones:
Install the eSIM on your iPhone:
- Go to Settings > Cellular Data
- Tap Add Cellular Plan
- Scan the QR code
- Add the data plan to your phone
- Label your eSIM, and turn your eSIM off.
Active your eSIM:
- Go to your eSIM and enable Turn On This Line.
- Turn on Data Roaming of your eSIM.
- Make a call to *101# from your eSIM number
- Go to Settings > Cellular Data > Select your eSIM. Remember to turn the Allow Cellular Data Switching to avoid roaming charge from your primary number.
- Turn the Airplane Mode ON and then OFF, and enable the Mobile data to enjoy the internet in Vietnam.
Read more: How to install eSIM on iPhone?
2. How to Install and Activate eSIM on Android?
You also need to follow 2 steps to use the eSIM on an android device:
Install eSIM on your device:
- Go to Settings > Network & internet.
- Tap + button next to Mobile Network.
- Tap Don’t have a SIM Card? in case your phone has no other SIM card or Download a SIM instead. In case one SIM card is available on your phone.
- Scan the QR code.
- Tap Continue to add this data plan to your phone.
- Turn off your eSIM.
Activate your eSIM:
- Go to Settings > Network & internet at your eSIM and turn it on
- Make a phone call to *101# from your eSIM number to activate it.
- Turn on Data roaming of your eSIM. Turn the Airplane Mode ON and then OFF, and enable the Mobile data to enjoy the internet in US.
XVI. FAQs about eSIM for the USA
Let’s take a look at the questions we’re often asked about buying an eSIM for the USA.
Is a passport required in order to purchase the eSIM for USA?
No, although a few suppliers might need your address.
Can I use the eSIM in the US to transfer data across devices?
Isn’t sharing being kind? You can transfer data among devices using an eSIM from Gigago, allowing your family and friends to connect as well.
How is the eSIM for the USA activated?
Your eSIM will function once you activate mobile data and data roaming, install the eSIM using a QR code from your email, and select it as the default mobile data medium. If you have any issues, get in touch with the business.
Do global prepaid eSIM cards have an expiration date?
Yes, foreign eSIM cards have an expiration date exactly like physical cards.
Do eSIMs work with 5G connections?
Currently, a few businesses allow customers to connect to 5G when utilizing an eSIM. The level of service and the kind of cellular networks they connect to will be the primary determining factors in this.
5G connections are available from T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, but in order to utilize them, your device must be compatible with 5G connections. Otherwise, your eSIM won’t allow you to utilize it, so have that in mind.
In other words, the answer is yes, but both the business and your smartphone must support an eSIM that supports 5G connectivity.
The cheapest prepaid data plans are not available in the United States. Nevertheless, certain eSIM service providers can provide you with eSIM plans that are affordable and won’t wreck you. We hope you learned everything there is to know about eSIM for USA in this article.