eSIM (virtual SIM card): definition, operators, and compatible devices... everything you need to know about the virtual SIM card

eSIM, first introduced in Kenya in 2021 by JTL Faiba, slowly operators like Safaricom have rolled out more widely and are gradually becoming a part of the landscape. If you're interested in learning more about what eSim is, here's a quick rundown of everything you need to know.

Apr 30, 2022 - 13:13
Jan 18, 2023 - 12:00
eSIM (virtual SIM card): definition, operators, and compatible devices... everything you need to know about the virtual SIM card
eSIM (virtual SIM card): definition, operators, and compatible devices... everything you need to know about the virtual SIM card

eSIM is currently available in Kenya and may be used on both iPhone and Android phones (Jamii Telecom's, Faiba 4G, and Safaricom Kenya). Here's a quick rundown of everything you need to know about eSIM.Embedded SIM is the abbreviation for eSIM. It's a feature found on more current phones that allows a smartphone to connect to the network and make calls without a physical SIM card.

What is in eSIM

The eSIM, not to be confused with the iSIM concept, is simple: instead of physically integrating a SIM, the user can activate one already installed in the device. Because this is a hardware feature, it is impossible to add it to a device that does not already have it. Let's not forget that the eSIM takes up much less space than a traditional nano-SIM. We go from 12.3 x 8.8 mm nano format to somewhere about 6 x 5 mm. 

 eSim Compatible Phones in Kenya

Before looking at rates with your preferred operator, the first thing you should think about is if the phone you have or want to buy is compatible with the eSIM. Here's a rundown of the smartphones that support eSim as the writing of this article

Oppo phones with eSIM

  • Oppo Find X3 Pro
  • Oppo Reno 5A
  • Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G
  • Oppo Find X5
  • Oppo Find X5 Pro
  • Oppo A55s 5G

Huawei phones with eSIM

  • Huawei P40
  • Huawei P40 Pro
  • Huawei Mate 40 Pro

Google phones with eSIM

  • Google Pixel 2 
  • Google Pixel 2 XL
  • Google Pixel 3 
  • Google Pixel 3 XL
  • Google Pixel 3a 
  • Google Pixel 3a XL
  • Google Pixel 4
  • Google Pixel 4a
  • Google Pixel 4 XL
  • Google Pixel 5
  • Google Pixel 5a
  • Google Pixel 6
  • Google pixel 6a
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro
  • Google Pixel 7
  • Google Pixel 7 Pro

Samsung phones with eSIM

  • Samsung Galaxy S20
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy S21
  • Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S21+ Ultra 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy S22
  • Samsung Galaxy S22+
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G 
  • Samsung Galaxy Fold
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3 5G
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4

iPads with eSIM

  • iPad Pro 11″ (model A2068, from 2020)
  • iPad Pro 12.9″ (model A2069, from 2020)
  • iPad Air (model A2123, from 2019)
  • iPad (model A2198, from 2019)
  • iPad Mini (model A2124, from 2019)

iPhones with eSIM

  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone SE 2 (2020)
  • iPhone 12
  • iPhone 12 Mini
  • iPhone 12 Pro
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • iPhone 13
  • iPhone 13 Mini
  • iPhone 13 Pro
  • iPhone 13 Pro Max
  • iPhone SE 3 (2022)
  • iPhone 14
  • iPhone 14 Plus
  • iPhone 14 Pro
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max

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If you are interested in getting an embedded SIM, you will need to visit a Safaricom Shop with a supported phone to get assistance. You will pay KES 250 for a new eSIM line, while the operator will charge KES 150 for a swap. That's all, and you've just signed up for a bundle with eSIM through an operator. Nothing could be easier than activating it. To activate eSim on your iPhone go to  Settings > General > About. On the other hand, select Settings > About Phone > SIM Status or Status Information.

How to Delete or Trasfer  eSim

You may deactivate your eSIM if you wish to swap phones. Indeed, having an extractor tool and physically removing the SIM from the phone is no longer sufficient. Most operators that allow eSim in the country require that you first initiate an eSIM renewal from their client area and that you do not destroy the profile on the old phone. To secure the transaction, the latter must still be able to receive the confirmation SMS.

Joseph Richard Joseph Richard, a leading contributor to, uses his decade-long expertise in finance, business, and technology to offer clear, reliable guides and analyses. His work aids Kenyans in making informed financial and business decisions, earning him a reputation as a trusted industry authority.