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eSIM: Two phone numbers on your phone when you’re overseas 2024

Did you know that there's a way in new phones to basically have two SIM cards inside it at the same time meaning that you can receive calls and texts to both? It's called an eSIM and it has the ability to make life a lot easier for those moving countries.

Obviously technology has made the process of moving countries slightly easier (as I sit here on my computer writing to you from my desk in New York using the “internet”) and excitingly we're still innovating and still coming up with ways to help you out.

What is an eSIM?

First things first, let's digest what this thing is:

eSIM – an electronic SIM or embedded SIM – is a rewritable SIM card that’s built into a cellular device like a smartphone or smartwatch. Unlike a physical SIM, there's no need to pop open a slot or pry off a case to put it in; an eSIM never leaves your phone. Instead, you simply download a “software SIM” from your provider of choice.

So instead of that little circuit board that you pop into your phone, it's just doing that bit with software.

As it rolls out internationally, the advantages are great because you can switch carriers, hold multiple carriers on your phone, and allow you to keep up to date in multiple countries.

What are the benefits of an eSIM for those moving country?

The real benefit is that when you land you might temporarily want to continue using your foreign number, but as soon as you can, get a cheap local number and continue using your phone (otherwise those international roaming charges will kill you).

For those who have moved and now have a life, you're going to come up against lots of times where you need your home-country number active to receive a confirmation text from a bank or Government institute and this will avoid the need to rifle through your luggage trying to find that tiny little SIM card.

If you're all done with your home-country number, there are also benefits if you're looking to travel. You can put your new-country number on your phone using an eSIM and then when you arrive at your holiday destination, buy a local SIM!

Does my phone support eSIM?

For those of you on Apple Devices here are the ones that support eSIM:

iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, and later feature Dual SIM with a nano-SIM and an eSIM.1 An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows you to activate a cellular plan from your carrier without having to use a physical nano-SIM.

For those of you on Android Devices here are the devices that have an eSIM (this is just an example of some of them):

Google Pixel 3 (and newer), Huawei P40 (and newer), Huawei Mate 40 Pro, Motorola Razr (the new one), Samsung Galaxy Fold, Samsung Galaxy Note 20, Samsung Galaxy S21, Samsung Galaxy S20, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2.

As you can see, it's phones dating back a couple years now which means that it's becoming a ubiquitous tech!

Does my carrier support eSIM?

So this is the really important part, because you need your carrier (and both countries) to support this concept when moving internationally.

In Australia: Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone all have the ability to activate an eSIM for your device. This means you can add your Australian details to your phone while you're overseas.

In the United States: AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all support an eSIM and will allow you to switch your phone to one if it has the ability to do so!

How do you move to an eSIM?

You need to contact your carrier and tell them that you want to move your account to an eSIM.

There will be a process involved but the best bet would be to login to your account online and look around for eSIM inside your account. There should be a way to transfer your account and get your phone activated right away. In some rare cases you won't be able to do it without visiting a store, but comment below if it's worked for you!

Josh Pugh

Josh Pugh

Josh is a business founding, digital marketing focused, charity driving, community builder from South Australia, living in New York City. After moving in 2017, Josh realized that there was an opportunity to curate and help the community of expats who moved to the United States – and launched America Josh. Josh is also the President of Variety – the Children's Charity of New York, Secretary at The Mateship Foundation, and Founder & CEO at Fortnight Digital.View Author posts

11 thoughts on “eSIM: Two phone numbers on your phone when you’re overseas 2024”

  1. Will move to France for work. Want to keep US number i’ve had for 20 years (currently with T Mobile) and will need to get a French number too for work.
    Dont want to have 2 devices….
    which way would you recommend things to go ? (currently owner of an Iphone SE). Thank you!

      1. I currently have Google Fi on an iPhone 11 and while it’s awesome for 95% of things on standard carriers – both domestically and internationally – there’s no current ability to obtain a foreign phone number on the Fi service. You’ll still need to get a SIM or eSIM from the local carrier in France. While you’ll still have great, nay amazing, coverage in France with your US phone number and plan (voice, text, data), you’ll need a French SIM to have a French phone number with appropriate country code, prefix, and exchange – hence, a “local” number within France.

  2. If living in the US, I’ve found it’s better to have the US Carrier as an eSIM and the AU Carrier as the physical SIM. I have/had an eSIM with Optus and when I upgraded to a new iPhone the eSIM never transferred.

    The gotcha with Optus is they don’t allow eSIMs to be re-provisioned online without receiving an SMS (not possible if the eSIM no longer works) and you need to go into a physical store with ID (a bigger problem during COVID).

    T-Mobile allow the eSIM to be provisioned via their app, which means if there’s ever an issue with it, you can easily configure it via the app and not need to go into a store. Not sure if this applies to other carrier combos, but as soon as I can get back to AU and get a replace Optus SIM, I intend to always keep the eSIM aligned with the carrier from the country where I live to limit the risk.

    1. Hey Ash,

      Just letting you know that Amaysim will provision your eSIM via their app also. I haven’t been through the experience of changing handsets with them personally to know that this 100% works down the line, but their customer service staff seemed to think it was a very simple process once you logged into the app on your new device. Moving over to the US later this week so hopefully all goes well with this approach!

    2. I live in Thailand and need a esim USA number, what’s the best way to do this if it all possible because using a voice-over internet protocol number does not work with crypto exchanges and other related banking companies. That’s why I need a real number not a VOIP. Thank you Paul

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