SIM cards have only gotten smaller and smaller over time—to the point that some have become invisible. At least that’s the case with the eSIM, the latest iteration of the SIM card that, unlike its predecessors, can’t be removed from your phone. Users tend to prefer one over the other based on their lifestyles, so here’s how to determine which one is best for you. 

What are SIMs?

A SIM card is a small card inserted into a phone to hold our mobile number. It’s essentially a small chip that is formally known as the subscriber identity module. Think of it as the identity microchip we put in our pets, only in this case, we inject it into our phones. SIMs can come in all sizes, with the oldest phone models accepting the larger SIM cards and the newer phone models accepting only the smaller SIM cards. 

Advantages of SIMs

The biggest advantage of SIM cards is that they’re tangible. You can touch it, feel it, and most importantly, remove it. If you want to move your phone number to a new phone, then the process is simple enough. You move your SIM card to the new phone, and in an instant, all the accounts and contacts connected to your SIM card are now in your new phone. 

In emergencies like when your phone is low on battery, you can take out your SIM card and put it in a secondary phone with a battery to make necessary calls or texts. If you’re travelling abroad, you can take out your SIM and replace it with a local SIM to make your stay in a foreign country easier. 

Disadvantages of SIMs

Since it’s tangible, a SIM card can also get lost. If you take it out of your phone, a SIM card is small enough to misplace or lose. When that happens, you’ll have to go through the hassle of contacting your phone carrier to retrieve your number. 

If stolen, SIM cards are also susceptible to scams as most bank accounts or mobile wallets will send one-time passwords or other authorization messages to your SIM’s mobile number. This could give hackers access to important personal accounts. This can be prevented by installing a PIN code on your SIM card whenever it’s inserted into a new device. 

What are eSIMs? 

eSIMs are the latest evolution of SIM cards. While SIM cards are small plastic chips inserted into your phone, eSIMS are already embedded in your phone (hence, the “e”). These small chips are already located in your mobile and can’t be removed or put in another phone. 

Advantages of eSIMs

eSIMs are popular because, unlike SIM cards, they’re rewritable. That means that you can easily switch networks without fuss. This is most needed when travelling to a new country. Instead of having to turn on roaming, you can just switch to a local network to save yourself from roaming fees. Most importantly, you won’t have to physically change your SIM and hunt for a tiny SIM ejector tool to get the job done. 

You can also have more than one eSIM in your phone, and these extra eSIM slots can be used for your business number or international roaming number. And without the need to take out and replace your SIM cards, you cancel out the danger of losing your SIM card altogether.

Disadvantages of eSIMs

While you can switch networks on your eSIM, it’s not as simple as physically taking out and replacing a SIM. The steps are a little more complicated and tedious than the physical act of inserting a SIM. 

But the biggest con of eSIMs at the moment is that not all smartphones are capable of carrying eSIMs. If you have an older phone, then eSIMs are out of the question, and not everyone is fortunate enough to have the latest mobile models. The earliest smartphone models to carry an eSIM are the iPhone XS, Samsung Galaxy S20, and Google Pixel 3. Apple Watches earlier than the Series 3 are also unable to carry eSIMs.

How are they different? 

The simplest way to differentiate a SIM card from an eSIM is that the latter is a digital version of the former. They each come with their respective pros and cons, and neither is better than the other. It all boils down to preference and lifestyle. If you’re tech-savvy, you can enjoy all the perks of eSIM. But if you’d prefer the physical comfort of taking out and replacing SIM cards, then the basic SIM is for you.

No matter which one you choose, you can buy airtime for any prepaid phone number using TelPug, the most convenient platform to top up your mobile from anywhere in the world.

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