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Going to UK - how to set up eSIM?

I'm a Participant Level 1
I'm a Participant Level 1

I have an iPhone XS (unlocked) with a physical Fido SIM card in. I am going to the UK soon and have heard about using an eSIM to get onto a local cellphone network in the UK, instead of having to go to a store when I arrive and buy a physical SIM card and then switch between the UK physical SIM and the Canadian physical SIM.


BUT I am finding it extremely confusing to understand how this works. Do I enable the eSIM function before I leave Canada? How do I do that? And then what do I do when I reach the UK?


Or do I have to wait until I am in the UK to setup an eSIM for use on a local cell network there? Please help!


I'm a Participant Level 2
I'm a Participant Level 2

Great, answer! What if the carrier doesn't support online activations? How can I explain to their text support what to do? T-Mobile Germany has now put an esim onto my phone but because it doesn't activate I keep getting asked to input my Apple ID in order to activate but then it always prompts my back without activating. How can I best explain this to their tech support or to the store pls?

Senior MVP Senior MVP
Senior MVP

Hello Jennisheppard,


  Welcome to the community!


  Is there any particular reason you wish to use the eSIM in the UK? I understand not wanting to have to switch SIMs when travelling. Have you considered setting up your eSIM with Fido and using the physical SIM when travelling? It's true you'll have to purchase a SIM from a store to put in the phone when you arrive, but you won't have to switch out your Fido services. To me, it seems safer to keep your eSIM on a network you use regularly and use physical SIMs for those which are only temporary.


Hope this helps 😀




I'm a Participant Level 2
I'm a Participant Level 2

For me the compelling reason for keeping a physical SIM for FIDO is in case I have trouble with my phone and have to replace it with another.  Switching an eSIM is not trivial but switching a physical SIM takes seconds.  There are international eSIMs such as Gigsky that work around the world, but it is a bit tricky to use them for the data needs but still use FIDO for voice and text.  Unless it is done right you will still get hit with the $12 per day roaming charge.  

Former Moderator
Former Moderator

Hey @jennisheppard


If the carrier you plan on using supports eSIM, you would need to verify with them if they support online activations or not.  If they do, you'd most likely be able to set things up here and just switch the plan you're using in your phone's settings when you arrive in the UK.  If they don't support online activations, you would need to visit a store there to get things set up.