Avoid paying high roaming fees when travelling overseas

Prepaid eSIMs offer a way for international travellers to cut mobile data and voice costs and avoid the constant fear of receiving a massive roaming bill from their network operator.

Mobile networks allow their customers to continue using their subscriber identity module (SIM) when outside of their home country.

However, international roaming is usually much more expensive than buying local services.

International roaming involves costs such as Inter Operator Tariffs (IOTs), which is the wholesale cost an operator must pay to a foreign network for its customers to roam.

The IOT roaming cost accounts for a large part of the overall cost of roaming.

Due to the increased roaming prices and the hassle of purchasing and switching physical SIM cards, eSIMs are a traveller’s best bet.

An eSIM is similar to a regular SIM card that all smartphone users are familiar with; the only difference is that it’s built into your device and is reprogrammable.

It should be noted that this requires a mobile device that supports eSIM.

Using an eSIM will also allow storing multiple eSIM profiles on one device.

An eSIM profile refers to the software that enables your device to access the carrier’s network.

Because the eSIM is reprogrammable, users have the freedom to switch between these eSIM profiles on the fly.

This can be done without replacing a physical SIM. Everything can be controlled by software on your phone.

In some cases, users can even use two eSIM profiles simultaneously. Apple says this can be done on an iPhone XR and up if it has iOS 12.1 or later.

By finding out which network operators offer eSIM compatibility, you can have your eSIM bought and configured before leaving South Africa.

Alternatively, there are eSIM mobile virtual network operators that offer both regional and international coverage options, such as:

  • AirHub
  • Airalo
  • AloSIM
  • Nomad
  • Holafly

AirHub, for example, allows users to choose between regional plans that cover single countries and international plans that can cover multiple countries at once.

Setting up an eSIM is easy.

One way is to download the mobile app and follow the instructions to set up the eSIM.

Alternatively, you can scan a QR code generated by the carrier’s website or from an email sent by the carrier using a feature in your device’s settings.

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Avoid paying high roaming fees when travelling overseas