Traveling to the Philippines and you want to get an eSim for Internet access while you’re there? Then you’ve come to the right place because this detailed guide will tell you about all the best eSims for the Philippines!
At A Glance: Best eSim Providers in the Philippines
Whether you’re staying in the country for a couple of days or a couple of months, there’s at least one good eSim data plan for you. I’ve also included a few options for physical sim cards, in case you’re open to getting a physical sim card as long as it’s good value for money. In any case, here’s everything you need to know about the best eSim for the Philippines!
Airalo is one of the best international eSim providers and they’re often the top choice for travelers, no matter which country they are traveling to. Their data plans for the Philippines are great value for money; you can buy
The 1 GB data plan is valid for a week and all their other data plans for the Philippines are valid for 30 days. Airalo’s prepaid eSim plans are good value for money, and easily one of the best options for travelers who want a Philippines eSim.
It’s important to note that you don’t get a phone number with this eSim, but that’s the case with all the other international providers as well. Also, Airalo grants you access to the Globe network – they’re not the best option in the Philippines (that would be Smart) but they have pretty good coverage throughout the country, and even decent 5G coverage.
Holafly is a popular international eSim provider because they offer unlimited data plans for most countries. However, that’s not the case with their Philippines eSim mobile data plans, and I’m sorry to say that they’re one of the worst options for an eSim in the Philippines.
Holafly offers only one data plan for the Philippines, and it includes just 8 GB of data for $47. The eSim is valid for an entire month and you get access to the Internet on the Smart network, which is the best operator in the Philippines. But that’s the only positive thing about the Holafly eSim data plan, and keep in mind that both Airalo and Nomad offer 20 GB of data for a little more than $30.
Nomad has many eSim data plans for the Philippines, and they’re one of the best options for travelers who need a large data allowance. Their plans go up to 100 GB, but it’s worth noting that all the plans larger than the 20 GB one are very expensive. For example, the 20 GB plan is $34 but the 30 GB one is $80, which doesn’t make too much sense because top-ups are available for less money.
Anyway, the Nomad eSim is a good option for plans up to 20 GB. Most data plans are in a very similar price range as Airalo and they also give you access to the Globe network, so it’s ultimately a matter of personal preference. Also, it’s worth noting that Nomad’s plans for up to 10 GB are valid for up to 15 days, which is why they’re slightly cheaper than the same plans from Airalo.
The Sim2Fly eSim is another good option, especially for travelers who have plans to also travel outside the Philippines. This eSim is available in regional plans only, and you can choose between global and Asian eSims.
The Philippines are included in both their plans, and the Asia plan is the cheaper of the two options, so consider it if you’re going to visit other countries in the region. The eSim gets you 6 GB of mobile data for $16, and the plan is valid for 8 days.
Also, it’s important to note that those 6 GB are for 5G network speeds only. You also get unlimited data on 2G networks, but the speeds are capped at 128 kbps. It is possible to purchase top-ups if you use up all the data initially included in the plan, plus it’s important to note that you get a Thai phone number, so you can make calls and send/receive texts as well.
Ubigi is an international eSim provider with regional and individual country plans for most destinations. In the case of the Philippines, they only have regional data plans for Asia and worldwide. There’s no single-country plan for the Philippines, so all their plans are pricier than what you might expect.
The most affordable plan is $6, and that only gets you 500 MB to be used for a day. Perhaps the best value is the recurring monthly plan, which gets you 5 GB in many Asian countries, for $24. This plan is valid for as long as you keep renewing it, and it’s a good deal if you’re planning on doing a lot of traveling in the Asia region.
The main advantage of getting an eSim in the Philippines is that you can have Internet access all the time, without having to pay data roaming charges. The country has good free WiFi coverage, especially in the bigger cities where you can even have free WiFi on public transport, but you won’t have the same luck if you’re going to travel to the more remote regions.
Also, because the Philippines is an island country, it can happen that you travel to one remote island where there is no free WiFi at all. So, if you want to have guaranteed Internet access at your fingertips, an eSim is your best bet.
The benefit of getting an eSim as opposed to a physical sim card is that you don’t have to take your existing sim or SD card. You can easily install a virtual sim card on many devices, and reap all the benefits of a physical sim card, without actually having to remember to pack a sim tray tool before the trip.
Unfortunately, the local mobile operators in the Philippines do not offer eSim data plans for travelers. An eSim in the Philippines is currently available only to postpaid subscribers, so you cannot purchase a tourist-friendly eSim directly in the country.
However, I have to point out that all the largest network operators in the Phillippines offer physical prepaid sim cards for tourists. If you’re not dead-set on getting an embedded sim and you’re fine with a physical card, consider the local sim cards from Globe (GoMo) or Smart.
The plans are cheaper than eSim data plans, plus they include a larger data allowance. Globe is definitely the cheaper option – $5 will get you 10 GB which is valid for a week, plus unlimited texts and calls on their network. Smart offers a weekly plan for $6.4 but includes only 4 GB of mobile data.
All smartphones that support embedded sim technology will be compatible with an eSim in the Philippines. This includes all iPhone devices from the iPhone XS (Max) onward, Google Pixel devices from the second generation onward, and Samsung Galaxy S phones from the S20 onward.
If you have an Android phone, I would advise you to double-check whether it supports an eSim, especially if it’s not a flagship device. Some manufacturers are still reserving this feature for their best and most expensive phones, so just because you purchased a phone in the past couple of years doesn’t guarantee that it’s eSim compatible.
Dial *#06# and then press call. This should pull up a list of unique identifying serial numbers for your device, and an EID number is what indicates that your cell phone is compatible with eSims. If there’s no EID number, you can still check in your phone settings if you can add an eSim, but in most cases, it means that your device doesn’t have the technology to support an eSim.
Not sure how much data you need for your trip to the Philippines? Try to consider how much data you normally use, and how long you will be staying in the country. Plans that include up to 5 GB of data should be okay for most trips up to two weeks, and even up to a month if you’re a light user who just wants to check maps for directions and use social media.
On the other hand, if you plan to stream video and you consider yourself to be a heavy user, look for plans that include a larger data allowance. I would advise everyone to start with a smaller plan first, mostly because it’s often super easy to purchase more data once you’ve used up the original allowance.
You can get an eSim in the Philippines only if you’re a postpaid subscriber. For a tourist-friendly eSim, it’s best to purchase one from an international provider like Airalo or Nomad.
Only subscribers with postpaid packages can buy an eSim in the Philippines. Tourists can buy either physical sim cards or eSims from various international providers.
The cheapest eSim for the Philippines is around $4, and that’s for 1 GB of data for up to a week. You can buy this eSim from Airalo. The cheapest postpaid plans that are eligible for eSims in the Philippines are around $10-15.
To activate a new eSim in the Philippines, you can just turn on mobile data and start browsing the Internet. That is, of course, if you’ve previously added the eSim plan to your device, either by selecting add a cellular plan in the phone settings or by scanning a QR code provided with the eSim. If you have problems trying to activate an eSim, it’s best to contact the support team of the provider.