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Enabling the eSIM

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By Prof. Rom Feria

The 2018 iPhone models all support dual-SIMs, one eSIM and a nano-SIM card slot, with the exception of the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR from China, which come in two nano-SIM card slots. Unfortunately, eSIM support is not widely available, i.e., only a few countries are going to support it right off the bat, I reckon those markets with Apple Watch LTE support.

The iOS 12.1 update enabled the eSIM support on the iPhones. Unfortunately, Philippine telcos, Smart and Globe, have yet to release their eSIM support (although Globe had a press release that they are testing eSIM now, with planned release next month).

I have been planning to buy an Android phone, solely for dual-SIM support. Getting a local SIM when traveling is always the cheaper route to being online. You can, of course, get those portable travel mobile wifi, but having one less device to carry and charge is always better. Anyway, the 2018 iPhones definitely answered my prayers. (Yeah, I don’t like giving Google my data by using an Android phone)

Enabling the eSIM on the iPhone XS is pretty straight forward. According to Apple, telcos will provide you with a card, with the corresponding QR Code, that, when scanned, using a telco provided app, will enable the eSIM. I wish I can test it right away, but unfortunately I have to wait for Smart and Globe to release their eSIMs next month or next year.

Fortunately, you can avail of a third-party mobile data-only services from GigSky, which recently enabled the eSIM support via their iOS app. There are other data-only eSIM providers, but so far, only GigSky works in the Philippines.


Screenshots of iPhone XS with eSIM activated

Enabling GigSky simply requires you to go through the procedure on the app: select the data plan, pay for it, name the eSIM connection, and select which one SIM is primary. In my case, I had the GigSky as a back-up mobile data connection. Once you have activated it, you will see two carriers on your control center, and on the home screen, you will see the carrier signal strength for both SIMs. With the eSIM and nano-SIM both supporting mobile data, you can choose which network to use when surfing.

If you are currently traveling in a country with no eSIM support, you can go to GigSky and purchase your mobile data plan (assuming, of course, GigSky works in the country), and enable your iPhone’s eSIM. Whilst this is not an endorsement for GigSky whatsoever, nor did they pay me to write about this, you can sign-up at https://goo.gl/lgv4Pa, and use my referral code “GIGS273″, so we both get some credits.

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