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Guide on using eSIM for Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S21

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Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra support eSIM in most regions. But your carrier may not support eSIM on Galaxy S20.

This Galaxy S20 guide explains what eSIM is, benefits of using eSIM on Galaxy S20, how to check eSIM support on Galaxy S20, how to add eSIM profiles on the Galaxy S20 and how to use eSIM on Galaxy S20 with physical SIM cards.

The Galaxy S21 also supports eSIM card. This guide also applies to Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra.

What is eSIM?

Traditionally, you need to get a SIM card from your phone company to make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages, and use mobile data.

The SIM card is your identifier. It is unique in all global mobile networks. Mobile operators use the SIM card to identify the company that issued the card, to know whether this card can connect to their network or not, and to know the resources (mobile plan) that you can use if you can connect to the network.

Since the SIM card is unique, you must obtain the physical card from the operator. When you change operator, you cannot use the old SIM card and you need to get a new SIM card from the new operator.

The process can be painful. Sometimes you have to go to a physical store and wait in line for one or two hours to get the small SIM card. Or sometimes you have to wait a few days for it to be delivered to your mailbox.

It's even more painful for some frequent travelers who prefer to use a local SIM card (to avoid exacerbating roaming charges). Each time, when you arrive at the destination airport, you have to go around the airport to get a local SIM card. In some countries, the SIM card sold at airports is generally not good value for money.

The eSIM standard, embedded-SIM (or more formally, embedded universal integrated circuit card, eUICC), has been proposed to address this (and other provisioning) issues.

The standard is maintained by the GSMA.

In short, eSIM is built-in storage for SIM cards in your phone. You can save the information of each SIM card as a profile.

And you can save multiple profiles there.

The GSMA does not limit the maximum number of profiles you can save on a device. It is only limited by the storage capacity and the size of each profile.

You can delete or add profiles, which are provided by operators. But you can't edit profiles. You can imagine that the eSIM card is actually a bag of SIM cards. You can choose which ones you want to use.

Again, eSIM standards do not limit the number of profiles that can be activated simultaneously. That's up to the hardware manufacturer to decide.

Currently, all eSIM-enabled phones only allow you to use one eSIM profile at a time, although you are free to switch to any of them at any time.

Benefits of Using eSIM Card on Galaxy S20

The advantages of using the eSIM on the Galaxy S20 are:

  • You can save multiple SIM cards (Profiles) on the phone (although you can only use one at a time). You don't need to change SIM card when you travel.
  • For the dual SIM version of the Galaxy S20, you can reserve slot 2 of the SIM card tray for a micro SD card. You can then use two SIM cards and a micro SD card simultaneously. Without an eSIM, you can't use a micro SD card when using dual SIM cards, because the hybrid SIM card tray (see Galaxy S20 overview) only has two slots.
  • This usually saves a lot of time when you need a new package.

Please note that most carriers still charge you SIM card fees and activation fees for the eSIM card, although there is no physical card.

You can check this guide on how to use micro SD card on Galaxy S20.

Galaxy S20 eSIM Terms of Use

To use the eSIM card on the Galaxy S20, you must meet the following conditions

Galaxy:

  1. S20, S20+ or ​​S20 Ultra with eSIM support (read further).
  2. Your carrier supports eSIM.
  3. Your carrier supports the eSIM card for the Galaxy S20.
  4. Your operator supports the eSIM card for the mobile plan you are using.

Some carriers support eSIM, but only for iPhones. So you need to check condition #3 to make sure they also support eSIM for Galaxy S20.

Apple offers a list of carriers that support eSIM. Please note that some carriers in the list only support eSIM for iPhone.

Currently, 3 major phones support eSIM:

  • iPhone (iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR and iPhone 11)
  • Google Pixel (Pixel/Pixel XL 2, 3, 3a and 4)
  • Galaxy S20, Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra (read on)
  • Galaxy Z FlipMotorola Razr.

Also, some carriers may only offer eSIM on certain plans, not all plans.

Does the Galaxy S20 support eSIM? How to check if your Galaxy S20 is compatible with the eSIM card?

The eSIM requires special hardware and software.

All Galaxy S20 phones (S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra) come with the required hardware.

But in a few regions, and in a few carrier models, eSIM support has been disabled.

The Galaxy S20 is therefore compatible with the eSIM card. But it can be disabled in the firmware by some distributors or operators.

In most regions, the Galaxy S20 supports eSIM.

You can quickly check if your Galaxy S20 supports eSIM in Galaxy S20 settings.

In Galaxy S20 settings, tap Connections. In the Connections pane, tap SIM card manager.

In the SIM card manager page, if you find the eSIMs section, that means your Galaxy S20 supports eSIM.

How to activate and use the eSIM card on the Galaxy S20?

If your Galaxy S20 phone supports eSIM card as mentioned above, it is activated automatically.

What you need to do is get a profile (just like a SIM card) from your carrier.

Normally, eSIM provisioning is done in one of the following ways:

  • Subscribe online.
  • Scan a QR code.
  • Manually type the activation code.
  • Use a carrier's mobile app.

For example, on the Galaxy S20, if you tap Add Mobile Plan, as shown earlier, it will scan the provisioning servers to see if there are any direct offers.

You can also choose to scan a QR code, or manually enter the provisioning URL and activation code.

use eSIM on Galaxy S20 and support eSIM< on Galaxy S20

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I use two eSIM profiles simultaneously on the Galaxy S20?

No, currently none of the phones on the market support two eSIM profiles simultaneously.

The Galaxy S20 is no exception.

This is NOT a limitation of eSIM standards. This is simply the limitation imposed by the manufacturers (and operators).

But you can save multiple eSIM profiles.

Can I use an eSIM card with a physical SIM card?

Yes, you can use the eSIM card with a physical SIM card.

For the dual SIM version of the Galaxy S20, both can be active simultaneously. Of course, only one of them can be connected to the 5G network.

For the single SIM version of the Galaxy S20 (like those sold in the US), only one of them (either the physical SIM card or an eSIM profile) can be activated. You can switch from one to the other. But only one is connected to the mobile network.

Will my Galaxy S20 single SIM version become dual SIM? And will the dual SIM version of the Galaxy S20 become triple SIM?

No, the eSIM card saves additional profiles. But the total number of SIM cards and Profiles that can be used simultaneously is imposed in the firmware.

For the single SIM version of the Galaxy S20, you can always connect to a single mobile network at any time, regardless of how many eSIM profiles you have in your phone. You can use either the physical SIM card or an eSIM profile.

Similarly, for the dual SIM version of the Galaxy S20, you can have up to two connections to mobile networks. It can be two physical SIM cards, or one physical SIM card + one eSIM profile.

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