New eSIM Service Offers Cheap, Easy Data on Trips Abroad

Jul 18, 2019

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Here at TPG, we swear by Google Fi mobile service for trips abroad. I’ve been an off-and-on subscriber for the better part of five years, and it’s consistently mentioned as one of the top options for frequent international travelers. Occasional overseas flyers might be after a one-and-done solution, though, and a new service just launched that has me especially intrigued.

KnowRoaming, which has provided a handful of creative solutions for overseas data over the years, now offers an entirely digital eSIM, making it easy to sign up online and get connected in just a few minutes. eSIM compatibility is still fairly limited, but it’s available with the most recent iPhones, along with Google’s latest generation of Pixel phones.

Data-only packages are available in 1GB ($10) or 5GB ($40) increments. You need to sign up on KnowRoaming’s dedicated site, then scan the QR code with a compatible phone.

I purchased and added my eSIM in about 90 seconds, though downloading the app and registering the SIM there to activate my 30-day package took a bit more time. Once you buy an eSIM, you can purchase more data directly through the app — assuming you have enough left (or a Wi-Fi connection available) to get online.

I tried out the service with a 1GB USA package in New York City. My Pixel 3a connected to AT&T’s 3G network after a few minutes, with serviceable data speeds:

Performance paled in comparison to the carrier’s LTE service, though, which we tested with an iPhone and an AT&T-issued SIM:

For now, service is available in the US and Europe, including Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.

KnowRoaming expects to have coverage in 200+ countries “soon,” but, in the meantime, you may find more coverage (and less-expensive USA/Europe alternatives) from KnowRoaming competitors — United Networks offers service in a handful of Asian countries, for example, along with inexpensive 5GB Europe/USA packages for $32.

Featured image by Zach Honig/TPG

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