Jio, Vi, and Airtel eSIM: For the last few years, we’ve seen the handheld SIM card go down in scale. The SIM switched to macro from micro, accompanied by nano. In the future, the actual SIM card will disappear and be substituted with an integrated SIM card named eSIM. Devices supporting eSIM have, though only in small quantities, been on the market for a while now.
It’s just a matter of time before OEMs start releasing more devices with eSIM support, such as smartphones, smartwatches and tablets. And what’s an eSIM? What phones/devices sponsored by eSIM are available in India? How do you trigger eSIM and port daily SIMs to eSIMs from Jio, Vi, and Airtel? These are some of the concerns that today we are looking to address.
What’s an eSIM?
A programmable SIM card that is inserted in a mobile, a smartwatch, or some other wired system is an eSIM or an embedded SIM. The eSIM persists on the device and, like a real SIM card, should not be physically taken out or swapped. However, to function, the embedded SIM requires to be enabled by your provider or network.
Having said that, there will be a little real-world distinction between the eSIM service and the standard physical SIM service. Both authenticate your identity to a provider or network and use its towers to make calls, transmit SMS, and use the internet. In addition, all regular networks such as 4G/ 5G are enabled by eSIM, just as the regular physical SIM.
You might be wondering if it would be locked to just one network because the eSIM is not swappable? No, thankfully. An eSIM is swappable. The app is rewritable and allows several profiles, which ensures you can migrate to a different network or provider quickly.
In India, eSIM with iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max was launched back in 2018. Soon after that, Jio and Airtel both declared support for eSIM, led by Vi aka Vodafone Idea. In India, BSNL has not declared funding for eSIM yet. The Jio, Vi, and Airtel eSIM prepaid and postpaid recharge packs stay the same as the periodic physical SIMs.
In addition to the iPhone XR and XS range, the following smartphones provide eSIM support in India.
- iPhone SE 2020
- iPhone 11 series
- iPhone 12 series
- Moto RAZR flip phone
- Apple Watch SE
- Apple Watch Series 6
- Apple Watch Series 5
- Apple Watch Series 4
- Apple Watch Series 3
- Samsung Galaxy LTE
- Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2
- Samsung Galaxy Gear S3
You can notice a slot for a standard SIM on other eSIM-supported smartphones, aside from smartwatches and Moto RAZR flip phones. The first truly eSIM-only phone out there is the Motorola RAZR. On a handful of Samsung Galaxy devices, Google Pixel 2 series and above, Microsoft Surface Pair, and Huawei flagships, you may see eSIM help outside India.
How to Activate eSIM?
Activation of Airtel eSIMs
You should not apply, but your physical SIM card can be transformed into an Airtel eSIM. Using the following measures, it can be achieved from your house:
- SMS ESIM with your email ID to 121 in the ‘eSIM<SPACE>email’ format
- You will get an SMS informing the start of the procedure to convert your physical SIM to an eSIM if your email id is linked.
- Respond with ‘1’ to validate the request for the eSIM update. This must be achieved within 60 seconds, per Airtel’s website,
- After this, you will get another one from 121 telling you to agree to a call.
- A reply would then be sent to your email system with a QR code.
The phase of activation of Airtel eSIM will begin after this. During this time, your current SIM will continue to function.
Activation of Jio eSIMs
- Unlike Airtel, Jio also has no provision to convert the physical SIM into an online digital SIM.
- For Jio eSIM activation, they would have to go to a Jio Shop or Reliance Digital Outlet
- Jio members can inquire about the IMEI number of the eSIM compliant phone there (found by clicking on the keyboard in *#06#)
- First, fill in the Consumer Acquisition Form (CAF) with the required material.
- For Jio eSIM activation, the specifics will be used to construct a QR code close to Airtel’s
Vi Activation of eSIM
Just postpaid subscribers live in the regions of Mumbai, Gujarat, Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab, UP East, Maharashtra and Goa currently have access to Vi eSIM. If you’re one of them, use the measures below to transform your physical SIM to eSIM:
- SMS eSIM< space >registered email id to199
- You will receive a confirmation SMS. Reply on this message with “ESIMY” to confirm the eSIM change request
- After this, you will receive another SMS from 199 asking you to provide consent over a call
- Once it’s done, you will receive a QR Code on your registered email ID
- The code will activate the Vodafone Idea eSIM
How to enable eSIM on your iPhone and other devices
For smartphones and smartwatches, the activation procedure for Jio, Vi and Airtel SIM is a little different.
Go to Settings –> Mobile Data –> Add Data Plan –> Scan QR code received on mail (make sure that the phone is connected to mobile data/Wi-Fi while scanning) –> Label for your new plan –> Label eSIM.
You should click on Settings for Motorola RAZR Flip phone users, then sign Network & Internet –> ‘+’ sign beside ‘Mobile Network –> Next (Download your SIM) –> Scan QR code received on your email –> Activate to activate their eSIM.
You’ll first have to connect it with a smartphone and login with your Apple/Samsung ID to activate eSIM on your smartwatch, and then continue with the directions that follow.
It should be remembered that the SIM profile on your physical SIM card will be deleted until the activation is complete, and it will not be used on any other handset.
How to switch eSIM from one phone to another
You will move your eSIM from your old cell phone by visiting the Service Provider shop if you have updated it to a new eSIM phone. You will be equipped with a physical SIM for your eSIM, whether it’s Airtel, Jio, or Vi shop. Insert it on your latest mobile and, to move your physical SIM to eSIM, obey the measures above.