This Galaxy S20 guide explains what eSIM is, the advantages of using eSIM on Galaxy S20, how to check eSIM support on Galaxy S20, how to add eSIM Profiles on Galaxy S20, and how to use eSIM on Galaxy S20 together with physical SIM cards.
Galaxy S21 also supports eSIM. 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 ID. It is unique in the whole global mobile networks. The mobile operators use the SIM card to identify the company issued the card, whether this card can connect to their network or not, and what resources (mobile plan) you can use if you can connect to the network.
As the SIM card is unique, you have to get the physical card from the carrier. When you change carrier, you cannot use the old SIM card, and you have to get a new SIM card from the new carrier.
The process can be painful. Sometimes, you have to visit a physical store and queue there for one or two hours for the tiny SIM card. Or sometimes, you have to wait a few days before it is delivered to your mailbox.
It is even more painful or some frequent travellers who prefer using a local SIM card (to avoid exacerbate roaming charges). Every time, when you reach the destination airport, you have to walk around the airport to get a local SIM card. In some countries, the SIM card sold in airports is usually not good for value.
In a nutshell, eSIM is embedded storage for SIM cards in your phone. You can save each SIM card info as a Profile.
And, you can save multiple Profiles on it. GSMA does not limit the maximum Profiles you can save on one device. It is only limited by the storage capacity and the size of each Profile.
You can delete or add Profiles, which are [rovided by carriers. But you cannot modify the Profiles.
You can imagine the eSIM actually is a bag of SIM cards. You can choose which to use.
Again, eSIM standards do not limit the number of Profiles to be activated simultaneously. It is up to the hardware manufacture to decide.
Currently, all phones with eSIM support only allow you to use one eSIM Profile at any time, although you are free to switch to any of them at any time.
Advantages of using eSIM on Galaxy S20
The advantages of using eSIM on Galaxy S20 include:
- You can save multiple SIM cards (Profiles) on the phone (although you can only use one at one time). You may not need to swap SIM cards when travelling.
- For the dual SIM version of Galaxy S20, you can save the slot 2 of the SIM card tray for micro SD card. You can now use two SIM cards and one micro SD card simultaneously. Without eSIM, you cannot use a micro SD card when using two SIM card because the hybrid SIM card tray (see Galaxy S20 layout) only has two slots.
- It usually saves a lot of time when you need a new plan.
Please note, most carriers still charge you SIM card fees and activation fees for eSIM, although there is no physical card involved.
You may check this guide on how to use a micro SD card on Galaxy S20.
The requirements of using eSIM on Galaxy S20
To use eSIM on Galaxy S20, you need to meet the following requirements
- Galaxy S20, S20+, or S20 Ultra with eSIM support (read on).
- Your carrier supports eSIM.
- Your carrier supports eSIM for Galaxy S20
- Your carrier supports eSIM for the mobile plan you are using.
Some carriers support eSIM, but for iPhones only. So, you need to check requirement #3 as well to make sure they also support eSIM on Galaxy S20.
Apple has a list of carriers with eSIM support. Please note some carriers on the list only support eSIM on iPhone.
Currently, 3 major phones have eSIM support:
- 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 Flip
- Motorola Razr.
Besides, some carriers may only offer eSIM on selected plans, not all plans.
Does Galaxy S20 support eSIM? How to check whether your Galaxy S20 supports eSIM?
eSIM requires special hardware AND software.
All Galaxy S20 phones (S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra) have the required hardware built-in.
But in a few regions, and in a few carrier models, the eSIM support was disabled. For this reason, we did not include eSIM support as a top 5 new features of Galaxy S20.
So, Galaxy S20 is eSIM-capable. But it may be disabled in the firmware by a few distributors or carriers.
In most regions, Galaxy S20 supports eSIM.
You can quickly check whether your Galaxy S20 supports eSIM in Galaxy S20 Settings
In Galaxy S20 Settings, tap Connections. In the Connections pane, as shown below, tap SIM card manager.
As shown above, in the SIM card manager page, if you can find the eSIMs section, it means your Galaxy S20 supports eSIM.
How to activate and use eSIM on Galaxy S20?
If your Galaxy S20 phone has eSIM support, as shown above, it is activated automatically.
What you need to do is to 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 Galaxy S20, if you tap Add mobile plan, as shown earlier, it will scan the provisioning servers to see whether there are any direct offers.
As shown below, you can also choose to scan a QR code, or manually input the provisioning URL and the activation code.
Can I use two eSIM profiles simultaneously on Galaxy S20?
No, currently, none of the phones in the market supports two eSIM profiles simultaneously.
Galaxy S20 is not an exception.
This is NOT the limitation of eSIM standards. It is simply the limitation imposed by manufacturers (and carriers).
But you can save multiple eSIM Profiles.
Can I use eSIM together with a physical SIM card?
Yes, you can use eSIM together with a physical SIM card.
For the dual SIM version of Galaxy S20, both can be active concurrently. Of course, only of them can be connected to the 5G network.
For the single SIM version of Galaxy S20 (like those sold in the USA), only one of them (either the physical SIM card or one eSIM Profile) can be activated. You can switch between two. But only one is connected to the mobile network.
Will my single SIM version Galaxy S20 become dual SIM? And dual-SIM version Galaxy S20 become triple-SIM?
No, eSIM can save additional Profiles. But the total number of SIM cards and Profiles can be used concurrently is imposed in the firmware.
For the single SIM version of Galaxy S20, you can still connect to one mobile network at any time, regardless of the number of eSIM Profiles you have in your phone. You can use either the physical SIM card or one eSIM Profile.
Similarly, for the dual SIM version of Galaxy S20, you can have up to two mobile network connections. It can be up to two physical SIM cards, or one physical SIM card + one eSIM Profile.
You may check Galaxy S20 SIM card guide for details.
Do you have any questions on eSIM support on Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra? Can you use eSIM on Galaxy S20 now?
If you have any questions on using eSIM on Galaxy S20 Side key on Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra, please let us know in the comment box below.
The community will help you get the answer.
If you have any questions on Galaxy S20, you may check other Galaxy S20 guides:
- Galaxy S20 new features guides.
- Galaxy S20 how-to guides.
- Galaxy S20 camera guides.
- Galaxy S20 accessories guides.
- Official Galaxy S20 user manual in your local language.
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