Can I Use eSIM on Locked Phones?

The world of mobile communication has seen a significant shift with the introduction of eSIM, or embedded SIM. This digital SIM technology, unlike the traditional physical SIM cards that we’ve been accustomed to, is integrated directly into your device.

Supported by a plethora of carriers worldwide, eSIM has become a standard feature in devices starting from the iPhone XS and subsequent models.

Notably, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 models, especially those bought in the United States, have done away with the physical SIM tray altogether, relying entirely on eSIM for cellular connectivity. This evolution signifies a move towards a more streamlined and efficient mobile experience.

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Understanding Locked Phones

When we talk about a phone being “locked”, we’re referring to its limitation to operate exclusively on a specific carrier’s network. 

This can be somewhat restrictive, especially for those who wish to switch to a different carrier for better deals or for those who frequently travel and prefer using a local network to avoid exorbitant roaming charges.

For iPhone users, determining whether your phone is locked is a straightforward process. Simply navigate to your device’s Settings, proceed to the General section, and then select About.

Within this menu, there’s a setting labeled ‘Network Provider Lock’. If present, it’s an indication that your device is bound to a specific carrier.

Challenges with eSIM on Locked Phones

Imagine being excited about the prospect of using eSIM, only to be met with an error message upon attempting its installation.

This is a reality for many who try to use eSIM services on locked phones. For owners of locked phones, a common error message that pops up reads, “Data Plans from This Network Provider Cannot Be Added.” 

This message is a clear red flag, indicating that the phone is tethered to a particular carrier, and won’t readily accept eSIM plans from other service providers.

Steps to Use eSIM on Locked Phones

If you’re keen on leveraging the benefits of eSIM on a locked phone, there’s a clear path to follow. The first and most crucial step is to have your phone unlocked.

This typically involves reaching out to the carrier from whom you purchased your phone. Most carriers, in today’s digital age, possess the capability to unlock phones remotely, ensuring you don’t have to visit a physical store.

Remember, until this unlocking process is completed, the door to using eSIM services remains firmly shut.

Benefits of Unlocking Your Phone for eSIM

Unlocking your phone to accommodate eSIM opens up a world of advantages:

Enhanced Security

One of the standout features of eSIM is its enhanced security. Given that it’s embedded and not a physical entity, it can’t be removed or tampered with, even if your phone falls into the wrong hands.

Unparalleled Convenience

Gone are the days of fumbling with tiny SIM cards, risking misplacement. With eSIM, switching between carriers or plans is a breeze.

Devices like the iPhone even allow users to store multiple eSIM profiles, offering the flexibility to switch as and when needed.

Travel Made Easy

For the globetrotters, eSIM is nothing short of a boon. The ability to maintain multiple active eSIM profiles, such as one for your home turf and another for your travel destination, ensures seamless connectivity. This is especially beneficial for those who have specific destinations they frequent, be it for work or leisure.

The realm of eSIM offers a tantalizing glimpse into the future of mobile communication. Its promise of flexibility, combined with enhanced security, makes it a compelling choice for many.

However, to truly tap into its potential, it’s imperative to ensure that your phone isn’t shackled by carrier restrictions.

If you’re intrigued by the myriad possibilities eSIM presents, start by understanding your phone’s current status and take the necessary steps to unlock it, if required.

We’d love to hear your thoughts! Drop a comment below.

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About The Author
Meet Emily Chen, a travel writer and eSIM enthusiast. Emily’s love for exploring new places has taken her all over the world. She now shares her experiences and tips for staying connected while traveling through her writing on eSIMradar.
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How To Order an eSIM

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Compare eSIMs

Compare and find the most suitable travel eSIM for your needs and purchase it directly with the provider.

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Receive eSIM via email/app

You will receive the eSIM profile within a few minutes in a separate e-mail or you can directly access it in the provider’s app.

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Install eSIM

Scan the eSIM QR code in the mail with the camera function of your smartphone and follow the instructions on the screen. The profile will be set up automatically.

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Free roaming abroad

You can now use the eSIM abroad! 

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Why Choose an eSIM?

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The eSIM works digitally only, so fewer resources are used than with the classic SIM card.

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The new eSIM can easily be digitally uploaded to your smartphone. It’s quick and saves the environment.

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Fast Installation

Your eSIM profile is sent easily and conveniently by email. This means you will receive your digital eSIM much faster than a physical SIM Card by post.

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