Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen more and more providers offering eSIMs, a digital version of the physical SIM. While initially somewhat of a hassle, the process of getting an eSIM has become a lot easier, with more phones also offering compatibility with the service. While the big three telcos – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone – all offer eSIM functionality, the installation process varies slightly across each provider.
If you’re interested in getting rid of physical SIM cards, here’s how to install an eSIM through Optus, Vodafone and Telstra – along with the prepaid and postpaid plans being offered by each telco.
Table of contents
- How to install an eSIM with Vodafone
- How to install an eSIM with Telstra
- How to install an eSIM with Optus
- eSIM compatible phones in Australia
How to install an eSIM with Vodafone
With Vodafone, an eSIM is generally installed on a device using your phone’s settings and/or the My Vodafone app. Once you’ve logged onto the My Vodafone app, select ‘Swap My SIM’ and then follow the prompts until you’re given the eSIM option.
When it comes to installation you will need to:
- Add in the mobile plan through your device settings
- Follow the installation prompts
- Wait for the activation
The above will vary slightly on each device due to differences between phone brands. Vodafone has a detailed set-up process for each main brand on its website. If you’re setting up an eSIM on a new phone, this process also includes going directly through the device’s settings or via the provider’s push notification delivery system. It currently offers the feature on compatible Apple, Samsung, Google and OPPO devices.
If you currently have a prepaid or postpaid plan with Vodafone, you’re able to swap your current SIM for an eSIM. Here are some quick steps if you’re setting things up on an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy.
iOS (on the same phone)
- Go to ‘Settings’, select ‘Mobile’ and then select your phone number under ‘Mobile Plans’
- Choose ‘Convert to SIM’ and follow the prompts
- Your eSIM should be active within 15 minutes
iOS (on a different phone)
- Go to ‘Settings’, select ‘Mobile’, select ‘Add Mobile Plan’ and then follow the prompts
- Your eSIM should be active within 15 minutes
- Open the My Vodafone app, select ‘Your Plans’ and then select ‘Swap my SIM’
- Follow the prompts, select ‘eSIM’ when asked to transfer your current SIM
- Log into your Vodafone account with the device you’re swapping your eSIM to. Submit the swap request and follow the prompts to activate your new eSIM
- Wait a few minutes and then proceed to set up your eSIM
Vodafone’s prepaid eSIM plans
Vodafone’s postpaid eSIM plans
How to install an eSIM with Telstra
With Telstra, whether you’re a new customer or pre-existing, you’ll need to use the My Telstra app to set up your eSIM.
For customers that already have a preplan with Telstra and a compatible device, all you need to do is open the My Telstra app, go to the ‘Services’ section, select ‘Buy a Prepaid plan on eSIM’ and then follow the prompts from there.
If you currently have one of Telstra’s postpaid mobile plans, you’ll need to revisit a Telstra store to activate your eSIM.
If you’re switching from a physical SIM to an eSIM – for both a prepaid and postpaid plan – the process is fairly similar and straightforward. Once again, open the My Telstra app, select ‘Services’ and then ‘Transfer or restore eSIM’. Just follows the prompts from there and you’ll be good to go.
It currently offers the feature on compatible Apple, Samsung, Google and OPPO devices. If you can’t see the ‘Buy a Prepaid plan on eSIM’ option in the My Telstra app, then that most likely means your device isn’t eSIM compatible.
Telstra’s prepaid eSIM plans
Telstra’s postpaid eSIM plans
How to install an eSIM with Optus
If you currently have a prepaid or postpaid SIM plan with Optus but want to swap over to an eSIM, you’ll either need to call the provider or head into a store.
If you’re a new customer, you can sign up for an eSIM over the phone or in-store as well, but you also have a few extra options – although there are some restrictions. Only postpaid mobile plans are available to order online. Currently, you can only use the My Optus app to sign up for an eSIM with a prepaid Optus Flex plan.
Once you have your eSIM, you’ll need to use the My Optus app to install it. Optus has a detailed set-up process for each main brand over on its website, but here are the basics:
- Open the My Optus app, select ‘Account’ and then select ‘eSIM’
- Follow the prompts until your eSIM begins downloading
- Your eSIM should be connected within 15 minutes to four hours
It currently offers the feature on compatible Apple, Samsung and Google devices.
Optus’ prepaid eSIM plans
Optus’ postpaid eSIM plans
eSIM compatible phones in Australia
If you’re interested in eSIM, here are some of the most popular devices in Australia that offer that feature.
- Apple: iPhone XS / XR and newer
- Samsung: Galaxy S20 and newer, Galaxy Note 20 and newer, Galaxy Fold and newer, Galaxy Z Flip and newer
- Google: Pixel 3a and newer
- OPPO: Find N2 Flip, Find X3 Pro, Find X5, Find X5 Pro, Reno 5 A, A55s 5G, Reno6 Pro 5G
It’s worth noting that not all plans are compatible with every phone that offers an eSIM feature. For example, Telstra doesn’t list the Google Pixel 3a as a compatible device while Vodafone does.
Image: 20th Century Television