Best eSIM for cellphone use in Asia

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Asia is undoubtedly one of the continents filled of beautiful countries to visit. That is why if you want to explore several different Asian countries, then you should take the best eSIM for Asia, with you, with which you can have an international internet connection throughout your trip and thus share the best moments of it in social media. 

However, we know that you must have many questions about eSIMs. You must be wondering what they are and why you should take one on your trip. But don’t worry, through this article, we will be explaining everything about eSIMs: from what they are to how to acquire them and the requirements to consider when using them. Keep reading to find out more about these international eSIMs!


What is an eSIM?

To start with this article, we will be giving you a brief explanation of what eSIMs are. The first thing you should know is that these are the digital version of the common SIM cards that we use at home. Both services are very similar and have similar features, but the main difference is that eSIMs are completely digital. 

The eSIMs work because they are embedded in many new generation smartphones, especially high-end models. Thus allowing these devices to be compatible with the digital technology of eSIMs. This topped with the fact that eSIMs are easy to acquire and install in a phone guarantees you a stress-free trip!

Why should I get an eSIM for Asia?

As we mentioned before, eSIMs are completely digital services, so it is one of the easiest options to get and to use. Additionally, it tends to have very affordable prices compared to other services that tend to be very expensive, such as international roaming or renting a pocket WiFi. 

These reasons make the eSIM the best option to have an internet connection during your trip to Asia. In addition, with a multi-country eSIM, you will be able to connect to the best internet networks in each country you visit, and you will not have to change from one service to another in each country you are in, which would make you spend a lot of money. 

Requirements to install the eSIM for Asia

Before we get to the topic you may be waiting for, which is how and where to buy an eSIM, you need to be aware of certain requirements you must meet before buying and installing an eSIM. In reality many of these are simple to meet, but you should still keep them in mind:

  • First, you must make sure that your smartphone is eSIM compatible. Regarding this aspect, we recommend you check with your eSIM provider if your phone is compatible with the eSIM that they offer. More on this later. 
  • Before completing this purchase, make sure you have an active email address. This is the way you will receive all the information related to your eSIM card for Asia. 
  • Once you make the purchase of your eSIM, it will be necessary that you have an internet connection in order to install it on your smartphone or device. 
  • You will need your camera to scan the QR code. In this case, you’ll have to put up the QR code on another screen or print it out and then you’ll be able to install the eSIM on your phone.
  • Upon arrival in your country of travel, you will need to activate your eSIM roaming. Remember to do this only when you arrive in your destination country, not before. Also, remember to deactivate any other service you use to avoid extra charges or surprise fees.
  • Some providers will require you to download their app to run the whole process. However, others do not ask for these requirements. 

Where to buy the eSIM for Asia?

The best thing about eSIMs is that they are very easy to buy. However, you can get one of these products through different methods, depending on your preferences. Either through an online store before you start your trip. Or through a physical store of a cellular operator once you are at your travel destination.

Each of the ways of acquiring an eSIM has its advantages and disadvantages. That is why below we will be explaining how to buy an international eSIM through online stores or a local eSIM through cellular operators. 

International eSIM for Asia

The first option we will talk about is the international eSIM. They are very easy to purchase through online stores, and you will be able to do the whole process from anywhere in the world and at any time. In addition, with an international eSIM, you will be able to connect to the internet once you arrive at your travel destination. 

One of the most renowned online stores where you can buy a digital SIM card is Holafly. With them, you can buy the eSIM for Asia, with which you can have an internet connection in twelve different Asian countries at an affordable price. 

In addition, with this eSIM you can enjoy many perks and benefits, such as connecting to the best internet networks in each country you visit, you can share data with other devices, you will have tech support 24 hours a day, and much more. 

eSIM from Asian operators

The second option to consider is to buy an eSIM once you arrive at your travel destination in Asia through the available operator stores or points of sale. One thing to note is that you will most likely have to purchase different cellular services in each country you visit, as each one has its own different cellular carriers. So, this option could be a bit tedious. 

What you will have to do is to go to a physical store of a cellphone carrier in the Asian country where you are, and ask if they sell eSIMs for travelers. Most probably, not all operators offer eSIMs for tourists. However, you would most likely be able to purchase a prepaid SIM card. 

Cellphones that support eSIM for Asia

Earlier, we mentioned that before acquiring an eSIM, you would need to verify that your smartphone is compatible with eSIM. For this reason, we will now give you a little bit more information about which devices are compatible with eSIM technology. 

Currently, Holafly’s eSIMs are compatible with the following devices: Apple iPhone SE (2020), XR, XS, XS, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro and Pro 11 Pro Max,12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, 12 Pro Max, 12 Pro Max, 12 Mini, Samsung S20, Galaxy Z Flip, Note 20 Ultra, Fold LTE, Huawei P40, P40 Pro, Google Pixel 3, 3a, 4, 4a and Motorola Razr 2019. Some iPad models and the Apple Watch Series 4. 

Coverage in Asia

Before starting your trip, and even before getting any connectivity service to have an internet connection during your trip, it is important that you know more about the coverage of the cellular carriers in the different Asian countries. This way, you will know how good your internet connection will be depending on the service you purchase. 

Remember that even though you will be buying an eSIM with an online provider, when you arrive at your travel destination, you will be connected to some of the cellular operators’ internet networks. That is why we recommend you check which ones you will be connected to. Among the best operators in Asia are China Mobile, Ais, Viettel telecom, Mobifone, and NTT Docomo.

Network frequencies in Asia

Before finishing this article, it is important to mention one last thing. It is necessary that before starting your trip, you check the network frequencies of the countries you will visit and compare them with the ones your smartphone works with. 

That way, you will be able to know how fast your internet connection will be during your trip. It is important to note that each Asian country has its own network frequencies. However, they tend to be very similar. Here are the network frequencies of Japan for your reference:

5G bandsn3 (1800), n18 (850), n28a (700), n28b (700), n77 (3700), n78 (3500), n79 (4700), n257 mmWave (28GHz)
4G bandsB1 (2100), B3 (1800), B8 (900), B11 (1500), B18 (800), B19 (800), B21 (1500), B26 (850), B28B (700), B28a (700), B41 (TDD 2500), B42 (TDD 3500)
3G bandsB1 (2100), B8 (900), B9 (1800 Japan), B11 (1500), B19 (800)
2G bandsCDMA BC0 (800), CDMA BC6 (2Ghz)
Table 1: Network frequencies in Japan. Source:

Frequently asked questions about eSIM for Asia.

Do I need a passport to get an eSIM for Asia?

No, you don’t need it. But some sellers will ask for your direction to be able to sell the eSIM to you. If you are planning to get a local eSIM, you will need a temporary direction in the country you visit, such as a hotel address.

Can I make phone calls and send messages with my eSIM?

The eSIM for traveling only allows you to use cellular data. Mostly, it does not include a local phone number for voice calls or messages. You can still make calls using apps like WhatsApp.

When does my data plan start?

Your plan starts when you activate your eSIM by scanning the QR code on your smartphone.

Can I share data with other devices?

It depends on the provider eSIM. But, with the Holafly Asia eSIM, you can share data between devices by generating a WiFi hotspot on your smartphone.

In which Asian countries will I be able to have an internet connection with an eSIM for Asia?

With Holafly’s eSIM for Asia, you can have an internet connection in the following countries: South Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, and Laos.

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