Embedded SIM cards are growing increasingly popular, and cell phone carriers are slowly moving to support this new kind of plan. Using an eSIM cell phone plan is a great way to add a second account on your device, or easily switch to a new carrier. As of right now, carriers are supporting both physical SIM cards and eSIM cards, and the quality of service is the same for each one. You have the opportunity to choose which one suits you the best.
This article will discuss which carriers support eSIM phone plans and our favorite plan from their offerings. Having an eSIM phone plan is nice, doubly so if you can get the one that’s best for you and an eSIM phone plan too!
Embedded SIM cards are a nice upgrade from the physical SIM cards we know. The basic idea behind eSIM cards is simple. They are SIM cards embedded into the hardware of the phone that do all the things that physical SIM cards do, but they do it digitally. The major difference in an eSIM card is that it’s reprogrammable. When swapping carriers using physical SIM cards, you get a new card from your new carrier and swap it out for the old one. With eSIM cards, the same hardware is reprogrammed from carrier to carrier.
The SIM card connects your device to your carrier’s network, letting it transfer data on that network. Without an active SIM card, a smartphone has the same functionality (in general) as a tablet or a laptop. On a WiFi network, it has full internet access but lacks the mobile connectivity that turns it into a smartphone. That mobile connectivity is your calling, texting, and mobile internet. You can swap your SIM card (physical or embedded) from phone to phone with little issue, which means you can retain your phone number and contacts when you move to a new phone.
Over the years, you likely came into contact with SIM cards as you switched phones or providers but did not spend too much time thinking about them. They hold a lot of important information for your number and account, but as long as everything is going smoothly, you should not have to think about your SIM card too much. Before we get into the list of carriers that support eSIM, we wanted to touch on the emergence of eSIM cards.
Physical SIM cards have been around for a while, and throughout that whole time they have gradually gotten smaller. As the technology evolved to fit the same information in smaller and smaller cards, phone manufacturers changed up their hardware to fit smaller SIM cards, gradually phasing out older, larger models.
Now that you have a bit of context about eSIM cards let’s get down to business. There are currently 11 carriers that support eSIM in the United States, although some are a bit less integrated than others. eSIM cards are still a new technology, especially to cell phone providers, so there’s a greater chance of bumps in the road as you get your new plan up and running.
The eSIM activation process at AT&T is simple. Since you don’t need to order a physical SIM card and wait for delivery, you can start the process anytime. The process varies a bit by your phone make and model, but the basic process follows the same steps. As long as everything is proceeding well, you should be able to activate your new eSIM card by following the on-screen instructions on your device. Interested in AT&T? Let’s take a look at what we think is their strongest cell phone plan.
Out of the three major wireless companies, we like AT&T the best for their premium wireless plan. Each of the three major wireless companies have tiered unlimited plans. AT&T’s most expensive plan is around $20 more expensive per month than their cheaper option in exchange for unlimited premium high-speed data. Premium high-speed data means they can never slow down your data speeds. This is great for people who really value their data speed or rely on it for everyday activities. It also lets you stream UHD on mobile, which is great for those who, for example, stream video on their daily commute.
This plan is for people who want unlimited premium high-speed data and use it daily.
The eSIM activation process is similar to AT&T’s, and should not cause you any trouble. Their eSIM compatibility only extends to a handful of iPhone models, but there are some neat benefits to utilizing an eSIM phone plan! The setup is easy, and it makes it really easy to create a dual-SIM active device. Let’s look at our favorite plan from Google Fi.
Next on our list is the simply unlimited plan from Google Fi. This is a great choice for people who are looking to use a lot of data and don’t want to use one of the major wireless networks. Check this plan out if you know you want to use a fair chunk of data each month and stay on an affordable plan. Since it only offers 35 GB of high-speed data, a high-data user may find that they oftentimes run into trouble if they use up all those 35 GBs in the middle of the month.
This plan is for medium-data users who want a more affordable plan.
FirstNet is a small MVNO that has great eSIM compatibility with a wide variety of devices. The setup process is similar to the others, and, importantly, it is a network designed for first responders and the public safety community. If you are not in that community you are not eligible for that service, but if you are in the public safety community, FirstNet provides a fantastic set of affordable plans that provide the service and reliability they need. Since their service is tailored to emergency responders and public safety, their phone plan comes with features and priority service for those on the job.
This plan is an excellent option for first responders who want a reliable phone service with unlimited data that is more affordable than what the major wireless providers can offer. This option is also popular with employers or agencies paying your phone bill.
If you switch to Mint Mobile, activating your eSIM phone plan is a piece of cake! There are not too many significant variations in the activation process, but make sure to follow the instructions from the provider in order to complete the process without any mistakes. Let’s take a look at our favorite plan from their offerings.
Our favorite plan is Mint Mobile’s 10 GB cell phone plan. This is a great choice for people wanting to find a cheaper option for their cell phone service, while being able to use some mobile data when out and about. Mint Mobile’s savings come from contracts. Their shortest contract is three months, with six-month and 12-month offerings. If you get three months at a time, it costs $35 a month, and that is a bit on the pricey side when it comes to this kind of phone plan. The 12-month contract ($20 a month) puts this at a fantastic price if you can swing it. Mint Mobile’s family plan lets you enjoy the lowest price without worrying about the contract.
Spectrum Mobile is another limited-use phone service because it is only available to Spectrum Internet users. If you have Spectrum Internet, then Spectrum Mobile is amazing. They have a bundle where you get huge monthly savings on your Internet and Mobile plan costs. Let’s look at one of their plans if you are eligible.
This bundle is spectacular. A great mobile plan paired with stable internet service is hard to beat, especially at this price point. Spectrum Mobile is only offered in a few areas. You may be in an area that doesn’t support this provider, so you cannot take advantage of this amazing deal.
T-Mobile eSIM activation is a straightforward process. When activating your new account, you should follow the onscreen instructions to activate your eSIM phone plan, and from there, you will be good to go! Let’s take a look at one of our favorite plans from T-Mobile.
Each plan on a major wireless network grants users spectacular savings with multi-line plans. We really like the T-Mobile Essentials family plan. While $60 a month for a single line is pretty pricey, savings add up fast with multiple lines. Halving the cost with the third line is spectacular, and it gives every member of the plan as much data as they can use. We recommend this affordable cell phone plan for families who need a lot of data during the month. This plan does not have unlimited premium high-speed data, which you might remember from our AT&T plan highlight.
T-Mobile Essentials has 50 GB of premium high-speed data. After that, you will only get slowed down if the T-Mobile network burns through all their MVNO customers and still has an overfull bandwidth. Unless that happens, you and all the members of your family plan will enjoy lightning-fast speeds all night long.
As long as your phone is eSIM compatible, you should be able to start up and get running in just two minutes. US Mobile’s switching process is streamlined for ease of use, but how do their plans hold up? Let’s have a look.
US Mobile is a spectacular low-cost cell phone plan. Just $15 a month is a great low price point, and 5 GB of data, while not much, is enough for emergencies if you are someone who spends a lot of time in WiFi zones.
US Cellular utilizes a customer service line to assist in eSIM activation. This process will likely take a bit longer than the others, but the live agent will help you through the process and reduce the chance that something goes wrong. Thinking of US Cellular? Let’s check out their cell phone plans.
The US Cellular network has not caught up to the big three's sprawling networks, so double-check that you have a strong connection before signing with this carrier. If you do, their basic unlimited plan is a great option! Thirty dollars a month without needing a multi-line plan is a great boon for users. Still, we recommend Visible’s option over this one due to its similar price point and operation on Verizon’s network.
Visible is one of our very favorite MVNOs. You can check your phone’s eligibility right here, and if your phone is good to go, then you can get up and running in just a few minutes! Let’s jump down to their plan, which provides uncapped high-speed unlimited data at a fantastic, low price point.
Their basic unlimited plan is $30 monthly per line with unlimited data and high-speed hotspots. We have this on the top of our list for people who want to save money with MVNOs, while still getting a robust plan with as much data as you can use. Most MVNO unlimited plans come with a limited amount of high-speed and unlimited low-speed data. This makes a lot of MVNOs not great options for people who use a lot (50 GB per month or more) of data. They will always hit the high-speed data limit, and being stuck with low-speed data is terrible. This is not the case with Visible! Their unlimited high-speed data plans are competitively priced and make it to the top of our list.
The last of the big three is Verizon, and their eSIM activation process is a breeze. As long as you have an eSIM-compatible phone, you should not run into any problems. Let’s take a look at our favorite cell phone plan by Verizon.
This is Verizon’s most affordable plan, with some of the best multi-line savings out there. If you have enough people to enjoy $35 a month this plan is very valuable. If you are on your own, however, $80 a month is a tough pill to swallow. We recommend this plan for users who have a close group of friends or family and are willing to go in together on a multi-line plan.
Last but not least we have Xfinity Mobile. It should come as no surprise that their eSIM activation process is simple and straightforward. Let’s jump into their cell phone plans.
The main draw of Xfinity Mobile’s plans is their bundles with Xfinity Internet. Similar to Spectrum, these deals may not hold up on their own, but when bundled with one of their Internet plans, users see tremendous savings.
We hope this article has illuminated your options and helped you decide which phone plan is for you. There are many great cell phone plans on the market, and switching to the perfect one for you is a great way to take some stress off your cell phone bill and service each month. Best of luck picking out a new plan!