An universal and cost-efficient way to having mobile data available abroad

One of the common symptoms of these days can be described very easily: "Traveling abroad, will I have mobile data available? Will there be a reliable public Wi-Fi connection in my hotel? Especially for trips overseas, won't romaing fees ruin my current account?"

As an enterpreneur and programmer together, I often asked these questions and tried to found a reasonable soulution. Being an EU-citizen, visiting some countries - mostly neighbouring ones - became simple towards mobile data policies because of the European Union regulation. It says that mobile data in the member countries (calls and text messages as well) is charged identically as it is in local country. However, the big issue arises in case of traveling to non-EU countries like Switzerland, the United States, Canada or India.

Frankly, there is a traditional solution - you can obtain local SIM card just at the arrival on the airport, but this approach comes with some bottlenecks - you must have either the second phone or gadget supporting dual-SIM and you also have to mount the new SIM on your device. It's not too comfortable, in addition, certain communication issues concerning a foreign language (English is ubiquitous though but not fully) can occur.

Reading one of Czech magazines focused on technologies recently, I noticed a solution based on so-called e-SIM provided by Airalo. This is a special kind of SIM card delivered electronically without its physical existence. Although you've to own smartphone that allows using e-SIM (which means that having an obsolete phone will lead to impossibility to use the e-SIM), many new models are already equipped with this option; not only phones from Apple, Samsung or Xiaomi are on the list and I was suprised pleasantly that my Microsoft Surface Duo 2 was available. Thus, Airalo made an impression on me and planning our close vacation to Canada, I decided to try it out and purchase the e-SIM.

The benefits of Airalo e-SIM service are quite apparent:

  • almost 200 countries across the world where the e-SIM can be used
  • choice for determination which services you want to use with given e-SIM - mobile data, SMS, local and international calls
  • three types of e-SIM coverage - for one country, for a region, worldwide
  • variety of packages based on your needs of data amount and validity, for instance 3 GB for 30 days
  • an easy way how to buy an extra package if your data is running out
  • a well-arranged mobile application for managament of your e-SIM, packages and additional services
  • relatively low prices of packages
  • almost zero-configuration (except very easy setting of APN)

A selection of desired country or region can be made very comfortably within the Airalo app. Handy lists of countries and packages are available:


As soon as the payment is made, e-SIM is delivered and installed onto your mobile through the Airalo App. This process takes only tens of seconds and the new e-SIM can be activated (added) in your phone's settings. Initiation of prepaid period based on the package you've bought starts immediately after connecting to destination mobile network abroad, there was Tuque mobile in my case.


Once activated, mobile data consupmtion is displayed not only in Settings but in the Airalo app too. You can switch between at-glance or detailed information:



Finally, it's time to assess using Airalo e-SIM during our holidays in Canada:

  • I've purchased data package 3GB for 30 days, which price is USD 15
  • I used my phone in Canada normally, it means e-mails, web (no videos), GPS navigation for car trips and foot trails
  • my wife's phone was connected to mine with e-SIM through Mobile hotspot and used similarly
  • length of our vacation was 11 days
  • final data consumption was cca 2 GB, exactly 1.98 GB

There are probably similar solutions and services like Airalo, maybe with a comparable pricing. I did not an opportunity for trying them as distinct from Airalo. As a matter of course I know that e-SIM will remain on my phone for the future because I'm about to using Airalo within our next trips to Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.

About the Author

Ing. Karel Janecek, MBA, MSc.