eSIM on the iPhone XS (and XS Max)


I just recently (like many others) picked up a new iPhone XS Max. Lots of good reasons to do so and many reviews are available that cover it better than I can.

One reason I personally picked one up is for when I get the opportunity to travel overseas, I wanted to use the eSIM functionality to allow for a local data plan at the same time as keeping my number working.

Historically I’ve picked up a local SIM card for the country I am going to. This has worked OK, but normally meant iMessage got messed up and no one could call my normal number as it just went to voicemail.

As Apple just released iOS 12.1 – that means eSIM functionality has been enabled – now it just needs a carrier to support it.

I’m heading to the USA soon and unfortunately AT&T and T-Mobile (the two carriers I could use) along with Verizon (a carrier I can’t use) have delayed their introduction of it. There is a list of global carriers linked here.

I’ve just received my notification that Truphone have gone live with their eSIM capability, so I’ll be trialling that when I travel. Truphone are a “Global Carrier” meaning they offer a central service and billing for service around the world (80 countries). Their eSIM is designed specifically for short trips like my upcoming one, and their travel plans are as follows:

  • $7 AUD – 300MB data – 1 day
  • $20 AUD – 1GB data – 30 days
  • $50 AUD – 3GB data – 30 days

If you’re data heavy like me, the 3GB plan is the best offer. If you use all 3GB you can just recharge again with the plan you want.

It’s all done via the TruPhone app:

I’ll report back how it goes, but it’ll be nice to have my mobile number working, and use local data instead of the exorbitant Telstra roaming charges.


GigSky have just announced their app is available too.

Their plans for the USA are:

1 Day

  • $10 USD (approx $14 AUD) – 300 MB

15 Day

  • $15 USD (approx $20 AUD) – 500 MB
  • $20 USD (approx $28 AUD) – 1 GB
  • $30 USD (approx $42 AUD) – 2 GB

30 Day

  • $50 USD (approx $70 AUD) – 5 GB

Not sure which service I’ll use now. The 3GB plan from Truphone still looks good price wise if that’s all the data I’ll use. But if I go over the 5GB plan from GigSky would’ve been the financially better choice. I use about 20GB a month while in Australia and that’s with good access to WiFi.

Update 2:

OK I’m up and running with GigSky. Went with them as the extra data for the money was too tempting. Setup was a breeze – before you go you can choose your destination and have the eSIM preloaded. Landed in the US and enabled the eSIM in iPhone settings, and set is as primary data and my normal SIM as primary voice and SMS.

Once connected the app gives you usage info under the primary tab of their app – mine was labelled “Shane’s iPhone eSIM”. You can see the layout below. While I haven’t used the top up ability, it looks easy.


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