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Scott303's profile



48 Messages

Monday, December 27th, 2021 8:07 PM

Physical SIM vs eSIM

I just bought an unlocked Pixel 6 directly from Google.  Trying to decide if I should activate it using the eSIM or with the physical SIM?  Does one work better than the other?  There will be times, though probably not in the near future, that I want to use a local sim when traveling abroad.  This makes me think I should activate the eSIM with AT&T and use the physical sim when traveling.  If however the eSIM is buggy I could use the physical SIM for now and migrate to eSIM in the future when I'm ready to travel.  Any advice for me?  Thanks in advance.

Community Support


232.1K Messages

2 years ago

Great questions, @Scott303! Let us provide you with some information about eSIM and what are the advantages of both an eSIM and physical SIM.


To answer your questions:

  • Should you activate your account using the eSIM or physical SIM card? That depends on your intended use. The advantage of eSIMs is that it makes it easier for customers to switch service providers without having to visit a brick and mortar store (device unlock requirements apply). What's more, it eliminates the need to house a SIM/SIM tray provides more flexibility for manufacturers to add cellular connectivity to smaller devices.  
  • Does one work better than the other? In theory, as well as practice, an eSIM works exactly the same as a standard physical SIM.
    • A physical SIM: A plastic card inserted into your phone.
    • An eSIM: A digital SIM activated through the network.
      • Some dual SIM devices are really Dual SIM, Dual Standby (DSDS) devices. With these, both SIMs can be active at the same time.

As you may be aware, an eSIM (electronic SIM) is a piece of software installed on wireless devices which acts as a virtual SIM card. It is worth noting that eSIMs perform the same function as a physical SIM and can be delivered to customers in the form of a file download, over the Internet – right from the customer’s wireless device.


Follow these instructions to set up and manage your eSIM (Dual SIM) to use one number for personal and one number for work or for travel. In the tutorial, you will learn how to:

  • Set up eSIM
  • Manage cellular plans
  • Switch cellular plan for phone call
  • Switch cellular plan for message
  • Erase eSIM

We hope this info helps. Thank you for contacting our Community & Forums.


Lar, AT&T Community Specialist

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