eSIMs in Israel: Everything You Need to Know
Like most things nowadays, SIM cards have gone digital. Thanks to their flexibility and convenience, the increasingly popular eSIMs are seen as the future of mobile connectivity by many users. If you’re one of these users and live in Israel, you’re probably wondering where you can get this revolutionary piece of technology. Even if you’re just visiting Israel, you might benefit from purchasing an eSIM and ensuring you never run out of internet data.
This article will cover everything you need to know about getting an eSIM in Israel, whether you’re a permanent or temporary resident or a tourist.
What Is an eSIM?
Simply put, an eSIM is a digital version of a traditional SIM card. While the traditional SIM card must be physically inserted into your phone, an eSIM profile can be set up and activated remotely.
The name of this virtual card, eSIM, is short for an embedded SIM card. As the name suggests, the eSIM is integrated into your mobile device’s circuit board. The embedded card can connect to and switch between operators offering eSIM services.
Since an eSIM doesn’t require a card slot, it can be embedded into various devices besides mobile phones. These devices include tablets, drones, sensors, and wearables. However, you can’t “buy an eSIM card.” The mobile device itself must be built with the circuitry. eSIM services create a new profile that uses integrated tech.
Israeli residents should consider purchasing eSIM-enabled devices because these services offer significantly more flexibility in managing a phone plan. A fully enabled eSIM will allow you to do the following:
- Add a second service plan for roaming or work
- Switch service providers in a few clicks
- Change data plans on the fly
In addition, an eSIM allows people visiting Israel to enjoy affordable and fast internet on multiple devices. Plus, they don’t have to go to a store and wait for a SIM card. Instead, a new eSIM profile is just a few simple clicks away.
Is eSIM Available in Israel?
eSim has been available in Israel since 2022. Since the eSIM technology is still relatively new, not all devices are compatible. For now, only specific smartphones and smartwatches are compatible with eSIMs in Israel.
Also, most eSIMS don’t include a local phone number for sending and receiving calls and messages. Instead, they only allow mobile data transfer. You can use apps like Skype and WhatsApp to call and message your family and friends.
How Do I Get an eSIM in Israel?
Getting an eSIM profile in Israel is a pretty straightforward process as long as your device is compatible and you know the proper procedure. With most providers, you can receive an eSIM card within minutes without presenting any identifying or traveling documents.
Without further ado, let’s go over the process of getting an eSIM in Israel step by step.
Step 1: Check if Your Phone Is Compatible With an eSIM
For an eSIM card to work, your smartphone must be compatible. If it isn’t, your only option, for now, is to purchase a traditional Israel SIM card. These cards include a phone number and a specific amount of internet data.
If you’re an iPhone user, you can purchase an eSIM card in Israel if you own an iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, or later. If you have iPhone 13 or iPhone 14 models, you can even have two eSIMs activated simultaneously.
As far as Android users go, the list is more extensive. The more popular Android smartphones supporting eSIMs include:
- Samsung Galaxy Z series
- Samsung Galaxy Note 20, Note 20 5G, and Note 20 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy S20 and later
- Huawei Mate 40 Pro
- Huawei P40 and P40 Pro
- Google Pixel 2XL and later
Keep in mind that there are some exceptions, primarily pertaining to devices manufactured or bought in specific countries. For instance, the U.S. version of the Samsung Note 20 Ultra isn’t compatible with an eSIM. For this reason, it’s best to look up your smartphone model number directly and ensure it can work with an eSIM.
Besides being compatible, your smartphone also must be carrier-unlocked to use an eSIM. This means that you can get service with any carrier on a compatible network.
Step 2: Find the Best eSIM Provider in Israel
After ensuring your smartphone is compatible with an eSIM, it’s time to find a provider that offers eSIMs in Israel.
Since eSIM technology is a newcomer, some leading Israeli mobile companies still lack eSIM functionality. So, which providers offer eSIMs in Israel? Let’s have a look.
eSIM Providers for Residents of Israel
People residing in Israel, either permanently or temporarily, can benefit from purchasing a long-term eSIM plan.
The following Israeli providers offer such plans:
- SkyCall. SkyCall was actually the first provider to offer eSIMs in Israel, and this innovation is the reason behind the company’s success in the market. If you’re interested in a cell phone package containing an eSIM, they start at 16 NIS per month, which is approximately $4.60. Most packages contain the same number of minutes and SMS messages but differ in the available data.
- Cellcom, Partner, and Pelephone. These providers offer eSIM functionalities but primarily focus on smartwatches. Their eSIM services enable you to use your smartwatch independently of your mobile phone. This service costs 14.9 NIS per month or approximately $4.30 at Cellcom and Partner. For Pelephone, it’s a little more expensive at 19.90 NIS per month or $5.70. It should also be noted that Cellcom offers the first month for free.
Local providers offer the best network experience and typically include the ability to call and text using the eSIM card.
eSIM Providers for Travelers to Israel
If you’re staying in Israel for a limited time, purchasing a prepaid eSIM plan makes more sense. These eSIM cards primarily come from international providers and will allow you to stay connected to the internet during your travels. This way, you won’t waste money on expensive data roaming charges.
Travelers to Israel should check out the following eSIM sellers:
- Holafly. Holafly is an international eSIM shop that offers two options for people traveling to Israel. You can buy a seven-day package of 3GB for $34 or a 15-day package of 6GB for $44. Regardless of your choice, you can rest assured you’ll have a high-speed connection and easy access to the internet. You won’t receive a local number, but you can keep your WhatsApp number for messages and calls. Holafy has partnered with Partner Communications Company, Hot Mobile, and Pelephone Communication for eSIM coverage in Israel.
- Nomad. Nomad is a global eSIM marketplace that offers four data packages for individuals traveling to Israel. They start at $13 for 1GB and go up to $62 for 10GB. Each plan is offered through Truphone, a global service provider. Plans come without a number, so no text or call services are available.
- Sim2Fly. Sim2Fly offers one plan for Israel. It costs $25 for 6GB and lasts eight days. The company’s partner networks in Israel are Hot Mobile and Pelephone.
Step 3: Purchase the eSIM and Activate It
After selecting the right provider for your needs, you can go ahead and purchase your eSIM. For this process, you’ll usually only need to provide some basic information and an email address.
The email address is crucial because the provider will use it to send you a QR code for activating the eSIM.
The exact activation process depends on your device but goes roughly like this:
- Scan the QR code to install the eSIM card.
- Set the eSIM card as your default mobile data medium.
- Turn on your mobile data and data roaming.
And that’s it! Afterward, you can freely browse the internet in Israel if you’re a tourist. While you can purchase the eSIM card in advance, activate it only after arriving in Israel to avoid extra charges.
Some providers might ask you to install their app and download the eSIM or send you an installation code instead of a QR code. Regardless of the method, you can follow the on-screen instructions to activate your eSIM in a few minutes.
Remember that you can only install an eSIM once. So, if you’re experiencing any issues, you should contact your provider immediately.
Can I Have Both a SIM Card and an eSIM?
You can have both a SIM card and an eSIM, provided that your device supports this functionality. Using a regular SIM card and an eSIM card simultaneously will allow you to have two wireless accounts on one device. Depending on the card, you can use these accounts to chat, text, and browse the internet.
This possibility is excellent for those traveling to Israel, as well as individuals who want to have their personal phone number and work number on the same device.
eSIMs in Israel Are Just Getting Started
As you can see, not all service providers in Israel have jumped on the eSIM bandwagon for now. A similar situation can be seen around the world as providers are slowly embracing the changes that come with using an eSIM. Considering that eSIM cards are a game-changer for mobile connectivity worldwide, it’s only a matter of time before the list of providers offering this functionality expands.
For now, you can be fully equipped to live in or travel to Israel using one of the eSIM service providers mentioned in the article.