Technology

Can I use e-sim and physical sim at the same time?

An eSIM is a digital SIM that allows you to activate a cellular plan from your mobile carrier without having to use a physical SIM. An e-sim thus plays the same role as a physical sim and allow you to connect your phone with any network plan and allow you to make phone calls or browse data. It is a newer technology but is it a better one remains to be seen.

E-sim Limitations:

It is important to note the limitations of e-sim to understand it can be used.

  1. An e-sim needs to be activated on a device via the network company and only after it is activated via SMS and QR code verification can it be used.
  2. An e-sim is device specific i.e. an e-sim activated on one device cannot be used on another device. It needs to be reactivated for use on another device and is not interchangeable like the physical sim.
  3. An e-sim can only be used on supported devices and presently very limited electronic devices support an e-sim.
  4. An e-sim can be used only if your network provider supports the service of an e-sim.
  5. An e-sim is always connected to the network, the user does not have the option to disconnect by removing the sim.

Usage of Physical Sim and e-sim together

A question often props up in our minds “Can I use esim and physical sim at the same time?” It is a genuine concern. Let us look at two aspects of the question:

I. E-sim and Physical sim for the same number

You cannot have an e-sim and an active physical sim for the same number. So, once your e-sim is activated, the physical sim will automatically get deactivated. This is just like two physical sims for the same number cannot exist, similarly one e-sim and one physical sim for the same number also cannot exist.

If you activate an e-sim for your mobile number and later want to use a physical sim you will have to get a new physical sim card issued by the company. So, be doubly sure about your choice before opting for a change.

II. E-sim and physical sim as dual sim on a phone

So, if you are using a dual sim phone and want to use one e-sim and one physical sim, is it possible? The answer depends on the phone’s capability.

Let us take the example of the iPhone. Some models of the iPhone support usage of dual e-sims or an e-sim and a physical sim while some models support only one e-sim and the other sim has to be a physical nano sim. Here under is a list of different iPhone models and their support capabilities.

  • For iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13, and iPhone 13 mini, you can use Dual SIM with either two active eSIMs or a nano-SIM and an eSIM.
  • For iPhone 12 models, iPhone 11 models, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, feature Dual SIM with a nano-SIM and an eSIM. These phones do not support two e-sim’s.

So, for all other e-sim supporting devices also it is important to check the device specific feature to know if it supports usage of dual e-sim or simultaneous usage of an e-sim and a physical sim.

Check the process of conversion of an e-sim to physical sim for Airtel.

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