One of the biggest expenses while traveling internationally is internet data roaming charges. Carriers charge exorbitant prices for international data. You could alleviate this problem by getting a local SIM in the country that you visit, if the process of buying a local SIM was not so convoluted. Even if you manage to get a local SIM card, now you have to handle multiple SIM cards as you remove and install them. The whole process is frustrating. If only there was an easy way to get international data roaming for cheap. Well, today we are featuring a product which does just that. My colleague Rupesh used the service while he was in Hawaii, and let me tell you, it’s a boon for international travelers. The service is called Airalo, and in this article, I am going to tell you all about it.
What is Airalo?
Airalo is the world’s first eSIM store that gives you access to eSIMs covering over 100 countries for affordable prices. The eSIM works with all eSIM compatible smartphones, tablets, and laptops. The best part about using Airalo is that you can buy multiple eSIMs, each one for a different country. And switch between them with ease, without having to go through the shenanigans of replacing a physical SIM card. Using Airalo’s eSIMs also allows you to keep your primary number online so you can always make and receive voice calls. You don’t have to change numbers every time you visit a new country.
Now, that you know a little bit about this service, let us check out how it works, its features, and its pricing to find out if it’s worth your time or not.
How Airalo Works?
As we mentioned above, Airalo uses eSIMs to allow you to roam freely. So to understand how Airalo works, you will have to understand how eSIMs work.
What is eSIM?
An eSIM or embedded SIM is a service that provides a smarter and more convenient way to stay connected. If you remember SIM cards of the past, they were big and took a lot of space on your phone. As companies like Apple and Samsung started innovating and making smartphones smaller and thinner, SIM cards also got smaller in size to save the valuable space. First, you had the Full-size SIM card (also known as 1FF – 1st Form Factor). It was followed by Mini-SIM (2FF) in 1996, Micro-SIM (3FF) in 2003, and finally Nano-SIM (4FF) in 2012. Most of us are using the Nano-SIM cards right now. Whether you are using an iPhone, a Samsung, or any other high-end smartphone, you are using a nano-SIM card.
The final form of this evolution is the eSIM which is not a physical SIM card. Rather it’s a programmable SIM that is already embedded in the device. The benefits of eSIM are multi-fold. First, since it doesn’t take any physical space on a phone or smartwatch, manufacturers have more space to include extra hardware. Secondly, it allows phones to carry multiple SIM connections at the same time. Do note that only one eSIM is active at a given time. But switching between the eSIMs is pretty easy so it doesn’t matter much.
Finally, since eSIMs can be activated online, you don’t need to buy it from a store. You can buy it online from a store like Airalo.
Benefits of Using Airalo
The main benefit of using Airalo is that it gives you easy access to international eSIMs at affordable prices. I tried setting up the account and it literally took me 5 minutes to get a US eSIM and activate it. My colleague Rupesh used the Airalo’s eSIM in Hawaii during the Qualcomm Summit and he got high-speed internet access without any problem. Before we talk about the pricing of the service, let’s see how you can set up the Airalo eSIM
Setting up Airalo eSIM
Setting up an Airalo eSIM is very easy. Here are the steps involved:
1. First, either download their app (iOS/Android) or visit their website to create an account.
2. Once you have created your account, you click on the name of the country and then choose the plan that you want to buy.
3. Now, pay for the plan (more on pricing later). The eSIM will be added to your account. You can install eSIM either by using a QR code or do it manually.
4. To use the QR code method, go to Setting -> Cellular/Mobile -> Add Cellular/Mobile and scan the QR code to activate the eSIM. You can also choose to enter the details manually. You will need to enter the SM-DP+ Address, Activation Code, and the Confirmation Code (if available).
That’s it. Now the eSIM is active and you can use the data. If you are installing multiple eSIMs, make sure to give them unique nicknames as it will help you identify them easily.
Is My Phone Supported?
One of the major questions that people may ask is whether their phone is supported or not. Well, the easy answer is that if your device (phone, tablet, or laptop) supports the eSIM technology then Airalo will work on it. Here’s the list of currently supported devices (as of publishing time).
- iPhone 11
- iPhone 11 Pro
- iPhone 11 Pro Max
- iPhone XS
- iPhone XS Max
- iPhone XR
- Nuu Mobile X5
- Google Pixel 3 & 3XL
- Google Pixel 4
- Windows 10 PCs
- Lenovo Yoga 630
- HP Spectre Folio
- iPad Air (3rd Generation)
- iPad Pro (3rd Generation)
- iPad Mini (5th Generation)
- Gemini PDA
- Motorola Razr 2019
- Samsung Galaxy Fold
Note: Google Pixel 3 and 3XL devices are eSIM compatible, however, certain Pixel 3s work when they have the “add carrier” option.
Pricing and Availability
As mentioned above, Airalo eSIMs cover more than 100 countries in the world. So, you can for sure find an eSIM for the country you are visiting. As far as pricing is concerned, the cost depends on the amount of data and validity period. The price can change depending on the country that you are buying eSIM for. Below are the rates for US eSIM.
- $3 – 1GB data / 7 days
- $11 – 3GB data / 30 days
- $16 – 5GB data / 30 days
- $26 – 10GB data / 30 days
As you can see, the data plans are quite affordable when compared to international roaming data charges by carriers.
Use Airalo to Get Cheap International Data Roaming
The biggest benefit of Airalo is that it gives international travelers peace of mind. Now you neither have to worry about high data roaming charges nor have to fear not getting a local SIM card in the country you are visiting. Just buy an Airalo eSIM and you are done. If your visit is taking you to multiple countries, you can buy eSIMs for each country and change them on the fly by visiting the settings of your phone. If you travel a lot, this is not a service that you want to miss out on.