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eSIM Guide for Canadians (2024)



eSIMs; a Canadian's Guide

For those Canadians that love to travel, staying connected to the rest of the world is essential. Technology has become so easily accessible, yet some companies still charge outrageous fees for their services. ESIMs, or embedded Subscriber Identity Modules, are a simple solution, and they are rapidly growing in popularity amongst travelers.

What is an eSIM?

An eSIM, is a modern take on the SIM technology, and is built into your phone without the need for a physical card. All mobile phones require a SIM card in order to access data and service, and it is usually connected to your service provider. The eSIM makes it incredibly easy to manage your mobile service internationally, and also significantly increases the function of the service.

Activating and switching between service providers can be done digitally, without the need for physical SIM cards. This is particularly useful for managing multiple plans or for frequent travelers who need to switch between local and international carriers.

eSIM sizes

eSIMs vs. Traditional SIM Cards

The main difference between an eSIM and a traditional SIM card lies in their physical form. Traditional SIM cards are removable and come in various sizes like Standard, Micro, and Nano. Where as eSIMs can be programmed electronically without the need to swap out any physical component. This key difference eliminates the need for physical SIM card slots in future devices. SIM cards used to require a lot of space inside the phone itself because they had to be inserted into a slot in the phone, and in the future phones can be made more compact and water-resistant.

Unlike traditional SIM cards, which require changing the card physically to switch carriers or services, eSIM cards can be reprogrammed. This is done by a simple software like update, done by the new service provider. The new “profile” provides all of the data for the device to be connected to the new network, and includes authentication keys and operator identifiers.

Activation Process for eSIMs

Activating an eSIM involves a few very straightforward steps:

  1. Carrier Selection: Choose a carrier and plan that supports eSIM technology.
  2. Profile Installation: Once a plan is chosen, the carrier will typically provide a QR code or a downloadable profile via their app or website.
  3. Scanning and Configuration: Scan the QR code or download the profile directly to your device. The eSIM then automatically configures itself with the new carrier’s information.
  4. Confirmation and Use: After configuration, the network will authenticate the eSIM, and your device will connect to the carrier’s network, often within minutes.

This process eliminates the physical handling associated with traditional SIM cards, making it not only faster but also more environmentally friendly by reducing the plastic waste associated with SIM manufacturing and disposal.

eSIMS 101: How to Set Up an Airalo eSIM on iPhone (Fast!)

Canadian Carriers That Support eSIM Technology

Several major Canadian carriers have embraced eSIM technology, offering plans that cater to a range of devices including smartphones, smartwatches, and other devices. The leading carriers include:


 The world’s first eSIM store, where you can buy their eSIMs and digital data packs from 200+ countries/ regions and be connected anywhere in the world the second you land.

Pros and Cons

  • Global Connectivity
  • Instant Connection
  • Convenience
  • Good value for service
  • First hand use case, Service internationally is bar none
  • Dependent on Local Partners
  • Data-Only


One of the first Canadian networks to support eSIM, Rogers offers eSIM services for compatible devices, providing a flexible and diverse range of mobile plans.

Pros and Cons

  • Early Adoption
  • Flexible Mobile Plans
  • Wide Device Compatibility
  • Cost
  • Coverage


Bell supports eSIM for a variety of devices, with specific options for both personal and business customers aiming to take advantage of this technology.

Pros and Cons

  • Personal and Business Plans
  • Reliable Network
  • Innovative Services
  • Pricing Structure
  • Customer Service


Recognizing the importance of eSIM technology, Telus offers full eSIM support, enabling easier management and switching of mobile plans directly from devices.

Pros and Cons

  • Comprehensive eSIM Support
  • High Network Quality
  • Focus on Technology
  • Higher Cost
  • Limited International Options

Support from major carriers has greatly increased the use and awareness of eSIM technology in Canada. As more people learn about the benefits of eSIMs, like easier travel and quicker device setup, more are expected to adopt this technology. This trend is likely to change consumer habits, carrier services, and mobile device designs, making the Canadian mobile market more adaptable and innovative.

eSIM Growth Over the Last 5 Years

Market Growth and Predictions

    • By 2025, it’s forecasted that there will be around 850 million eSIM smartphone connections worldwide, with this number potentially rising to 6.7 billion by 2030, which would represent 76% of all smartphone connections? (GSMA Intelligence)?.
    • In 2022, shipments of eSIM-capable smartphones and other consumer devices were estimated between 350 million and 382 million units? (Mobilise Global)?. By 2023, this number increased to approximately 440 million, with projections for 2027 foreseeing an impressive 3.5 billion devices leveraging eSIM technology? (Mobilise Global)?.

Regional Insights

    • North America has been leading in eSIM adoption, influenced by strong consumer demand and the presence of significant players like Apple, Alphabet, and Samsung? (Fortune Business Insights)?? (Grand View Research)?.
    • Europe and Asia Pacific are also showing substantial growth. The Asia Pacific region, for instance, is expected to experience significant growth due to the contributions of major smartphone manufacturers like Huawei and Samsung, and efforts by countries like India and China to promote eSIM technologies? (Grand View Research)?.

Consumer Awareness and OEM Initiatives

    • Consumer awareness of eSIM technology has been increasing, helped by initiatives from smartphone manufacturers to enhance user experience for onboarding and activation of eSIMs? (Fortune Business Insights)?.
    • In 2021, awareness in the U.S. increased significantly, with more OEMs adopting this technology compared to telecom operators? (Fortune Business Insights)?.

Technological Developments

    • Leading companies continue to develop and refine eSIM technologies. For example, collaborations and strategic partnerships are underway to improve and expand the application of eSIMs in various devices including IoT and smart devices? (Grand View Research)?.

Impact of COVID-19

    • The pandemic initially slowed down eSIM activations due to reduced international travel, but it has also driven a significant shift towards online and digital channels, potentially accelerating future eSIM adoption? (GSMA Intelligence)?.

eSIM in Canada

Advantages of eSIMs for Canadians

eSIM technology offers several benefits that are particularly valuable for Canadians, making it an attractive choice for mobile users:

  • Ease of Switching Carriers: With eSIMs, Canadians can change their mobile carrier without needing a physical SIM card. This digital process allows for quick and easy switching, which is ideal for finding better deals or services.
  • Dual-SIM Functionality: Many eSIM-enabled devices also support a traditional SIM, allowing users to operate two numbers simultaneously. This is perfect for managing personal and business lines on the same phone, or for travelers who need a local and an international number.
  • Travel Benefits: For those traveling abroad, eSIMs simplify staying connected. You can subscribe to international data plans without swapping SIM cards, significantly reducing roaming charges and the hassle of purchasing local SIM cards.

Compatible Devices

eSIM technology is supported by a wide range of modern devices. Here’s a look at some popular options and tips for choosing the right one for your needs.


  1. Apple: iPhone XR, XS, 11 series, SE (2020 & 2022), 12 series, 13 series, 14 series, and iPhone 15.
  2. Samsung: Galaxy S21, S22, and S23 series, Galaxy Z Fold series, Galaxy Z Flip series.
  3. Google: Pixel 3a series, Pixel 4 series, Pixel 5, Pixel 6 series, Pixel 7 series.
  4. Motorola: Razr 2019, 2022, Razr 5G, Edge series.
  5. Huawei: P40, P50 series.
  6. Xiaomi: Xiaomi 12 series, Xiaomi 13 series, Xiaomi 14 series.


  1. Apple Watch: Series 3 onwards, including the Apple Watch Ultra models.
  2. Samsung: Galaxy Watch series, Gear S3 Frontier.
  3. Huawei: Watch 2, Watch 3 series.
  4. Google: Pixel Watch.
  5. Oppo: Oppo Watch series.
  6. Xiaomi: Mi Watch.


  1. Apple: iPad Pro 11? and 12.9? (from 2018 onwards), iPad Air (3rd gen onwards), iPad mini (5th gen onwards).
  2. Samsung: Galaxy Tab S6, S7 series, S8 series.
  3. Microsoft Surface: Surface Pro X, Surface Go 2 & 3 with LTE Advanced.

Tips for Choosing an eSIM-Compatible Device

  • Check Device Specifications: Always verify the eSIM capability in the device specifications before purchasing.
  • Consider Your Needs: Think about how you’ll use the device. For example, if you travel often, an eSIM-capable smartphone or tablet can be very convenient.
  • Future Proofing: Choosing a device with eSIM support might be a wise decision for future compatibility as more carriers and countries adopt eSIM technology.

eSIM apple watch

The Future of eSIMs in Canada

As eSIM technology continues to gain traction, its impact on the Canadian telecommunications landscape is expected to grow significantly. There are some potential future developments in progress, and there are significant impacts that come along with it. The future of eSIMs in Canada looks promising, with the potential for changes that could make mobile connectivity easier and more flexible for all Canadians.

Technology Evolution

eSIM technology is likely to become more widespread, with increased adoption not just in smartphones but also in other devices like wearables and IoT devices. As technology evolves, eSIMs could become the standard, replacing traditional SIM cards entirely. This shift would allow for even more streamlined device designs and enhanced connectivity features, promoting innovation in how devices connect and interact.

Regulatory and Carrier Changes

As eSIM usage becomes more common, regulatory frameworks and carrier policies may need to adapt to accommodate and regulate this new technology effectively. Potential changes could include more flexible data plans, improved consumer rights regarding carrier switching, and enhanced security measures to protect users’ data.

eSIM market trends

Market Trends for eSIM Adoption in North America

The eSIM market in North America has experienced robust growth over the past five years, driven by advancements in mobile technology and increasing consumer demand for flexible connectivity solutions. Here’s a closer look at the significant data points and trends observed:

Increasing Adoption Rates

    • From 2018 to 2023, eSIM adoption rates in North America showed a substantial increase. Starting from a modest 5% in 2018, the adoption rates climbed steadily, reaching 60% by 2023. This surge reflects a wider acceptance of eSIM technology among consumers and businesses alike, driven by the enhanced convenience and efficiency it offers over traditional SIM cards.

Technological Integration and Consumer Electronics

    • The proliferation of eSIM technology has been significantly supported by its integration into popular consumer electronics, including smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets. Major device manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, and Google have increasingly incorporated eSIMs into their products, which has played a crucial role in normalizing the technology for everyday use.

Impact of Regulatory Changes and Network Provider Support

    • Support from network providers and favorable regulatory changes have also contributed to the accelerated adoption of eSIMs. These factors have facilitated a more competitive environment, allowing users to switch carriers without the physical limitations of traditional SIM cards, thereby enhancing consumer choice and flexibility.

Growth Driven by Specific Use Cases

    • Specific use cases, particularly in international travel and IoT applications, have driven the demand for eSIMs. For travelers, the ability to switch between network providers without changing SIM cards offers convenience and cost savings, while IoT devices benefit from eSIMs due to their better scalability and ease of management.

Future Outlook

    • The future of eSIMs in North America looks promising, with expectations of continued growth. As more devices become eSIM-compatible and consumer awareness grows, the market is likely to expand further, possibly reaching even higher adoption rates in the coming years.

These trends underline the dynamic nature of the eSIM market in North America, characterized by rapid technological adoption and an increasing shift towards more integrated and user-friendly mobile connectivity solutions.

Are eSIMs a Solution for Canadians

eSIM technology offers a host of benefits that enhance the mobile experience for Canadians, such as ease of switching carriers, better device functionality, and more secure mobile connections. As eSIMs continue to be supported by more devices and carriers, they represent a smart choice for anyone looking to streamline their technology use. Whether you’re a frequent traveler, a tech enthusiast, or someone looking for a simpler way to manage multiple mobile plans, considering an eSIM could significantly improve how you connect and communicate. Embracing eSIM technology now might just be the step forward you need in today’s fast-paced digital world.

Kaylee embodies the spirit of exploration and well-being. A lifelong traveler and health fanatic, she's dedicated to scouting the planet for the most enriching experiences and healthful tips. Whether it's a serene beach in Bali or a hidden hiking trail in the Rockies, Kaylee's insights ensure our readers are always in the know about destinations that nurture both body and soul.

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