Many networks currently don't offer eSIMs, even though some of the most in-demand smartphones on the market, such as the Apple iPhone 11 or the Google Pixel 3, are eSIM compatible devices. Thankfully, O2 offers eSIMs to those with or wanting eSIM-compatible phones.
O2 eSIMs are compatible with the iPhone XS, XR, XS Max, Pixel 3, and Pixel 3 XL.
From 19th September 2019, O2 introduced eSIM packs to allow customers, and other with eSIM-capable devices, to use eSIMs.
Since Apple added eSIM capability to the 2018 iPhones, people have been eager to get their hands on an eSIM for their eSIM-compatible devices.
However, O2 understand that eSIMs aren't for everyone and that most customers with be happier using the standard SIM cards we're familiar with, so they will continue to offer regular plastic SIM cards but if a customer asks for an eSIM pack, they will provide it.
What's an eSIM?
An eSIM is a programmable chip that's soldered to a circuit board during the manufacturing process. An eSIM chip can store multiple eSIM profiles.
When an eSIM profile has been loaded onto the eSIM chip, it provides the same functionality as a plastic SIM card.
What's a dual-SIM device?
A dual-SIM device is simply a device that can take two SIMs rather than the usual one.
In a dual-SIM device, the SIMs could both be plastic, or one could be plastic and the second an eSIM.
Dual-SIM deices have been available for some time. Devices like the iPhones XS Max have two SIM slots and can take two plastci SIM cards.
More recently dual-SIM devices with a lot for a plastic SIM and an embedded eSIM, have become available.
How do eSIM devices operate?
There are two ways in which eSIM devices operate:
Dual-SIM-Dual Standby mode (DS-DS):
Most Dual-SIM devices operate in a Dual-SIM-Dual-Standby mode (DS-DS) where both the plastic SIM and the eSIM can make or receive calls. When someone calls either number the phone will ring.
In DS-DS mode when one SIM is active, for example when making or taking a call, the other is not. Calls to the dormant SIM will go to voicemail until the other SIM is not being used.
The iPhone XS, XS Max and XR all operate in a Dual SIM-Dual Standby (DS-DS) mode.
Dual SIM-Single-Active mode (DS-SA):
Some Dual-SIM devices operate in a Dual-SIM-Single Active mode (DS-SA) where you MUST manually choose to use either the plastic SIM or the eSIM. This means only one SIM (mobile number) will be active within the device at any one time.
If someone calls the number linked to the active SIM the phone will ring, if the number associated with the inactive SIM is called it will go to voicemail as the SIM is not active, equivalent of phone being switched off.
The Pixel 3 and 3XL both operate in a Dual SIM-Single Active (DS-SA) mode.
What's in an eSIM pack?
A unique QR code.
A unique manual activation code that can be used if the QR code cannot be scanned.
A unique SIM Serial Number (SSN).