Last Updated: January 10, 2023

Nomad eSim Review: Best Option for Travelers?

If you haven’t heard of eSims yet, don’t worry, most of the world hasn’t cottoned onto it yet either, but they are slowly starting to get more and more popular.

Nomad is an eSim provider designed for digital nomads and travelers but are they any good and how does this whole eSim thing work? That is what we are here to find out.

Join me as I run through everything you need to know about eSims and Nomad. We’ll take a look at what eSims are, how they work, who Nomad is, whether they are any good, and how to get a Nomad eSim on your phone.

What is an eSim?

It is a common misconception that eSim cards are digital sim cards, which is understandable considering the “e” at the beginning. eSim card actually stands for embedded sim card which means it is a physical sim card built into a smartphone or tablet.

What is smart about an eSim card is that you can add multiple data plans from various eSim providers to the card, in different countries around the globe. You can even get eSims that work globally in over 100 countries, regionally (such as Europe), or for a specific country.

To get an eSim data plan onto your phone, all you need to do is go online, buy it, install it and activate it. It is as simple as that! You can store multiple eSims for multiple countries and regions in your eSim account and switch between them as you please.

Imagine an eSim as a built-in sim card in your device that is blank and waiting for you to add whatever eSim packages you like to it, and you get the idea.

eSims totally remove the need to buy local sim cards or use data roaming, they are the future of staying connected while you travel.

What devices support eSim?

Not all devices support eSims as it is a relatively new technology. This means that older smartphones and tablets will not have an eSim built inside them. Devices compatible with eSims will be about 3 years old or younger, for example, the oldest iPhone with an eSim is the iPhone XS.

So, how do you find out if your device will work with an eSim? You can go trawling through a list of eSim-supported devices or you can simply dial *#06# into your device.

This will bring up unique information about your phone. Every smartphone will show an IMEI number, and a smartphone with an eSim will also show an EID (Embedded Identity Document) number. If you see an EID number on the screen, your smartphone will work with an eSim.

The last step to ensuring your device works with eSim is making sure it is unlocked from your network provider. If you bought your phone as part of a contract with a provider, chances are it is locked.

To unlock it, simply call your provider and ask them to unlock it. It should only take a couple of minutes to do.

What is Nomad and how does it work?

Nomad eSim

Nomad is an eSim store where you can buy an eSim data plan for over 100 countries around the world. You can also buy a regional plan for certain continents or a global plan if you are traveling around the world often.

You can access the Nomad eSim store online via their website or by downloading their app. From there, search for an eSim data plan for the country or region you are going to that suits you best.

Once you have found the data plan for you, download it, add it to your phone, and start browsing on mobile data when you land wherever you are going. There is no need for local sim cards, or data roaming in order to stay connected.

Networks used by Nomad for their eSim

Nomad partners with Truphone for all their eSim data plans. But, Truphone isn’t the actual network provider on the ground either.

Truphone has partnered with local network providers in all the countries they support. The local networks sell them bandwidth on their local mobile data network, which Truphone resells to Nomad, and Nomad sells to you.

For example, in the US, Truphone and thus Nomad, partners with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. With your Nomad eSim, you get access to all of these mobile data networks and it will connect to whichever one has the best coverage in your particular area.

This means you get good coverage all over the country but there is one drawback. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon will always give their customers preferential speeds at peak times, so you may see some lagging in your connection speeds at some point.

Nomad eSim Plan Offers

Nomad Plan Offers

Nomad offers quite a few different data plans for each country and region they operate in. You can choose from a country-specific plan, global plans, and regional plans.

All Nomad eSim plans are different and you can choose short-term plans, long-term plans, and how many GB of data you want from your preferred plan.

For example, their Mexican eSim plans range from 1GB for 7 days up to 5GB for 30 days, and they offer similar eSim plan options for all their supported countries and regions.

This means you can choose affordable eSim plans that match your trip length, how much data you need, your budget, and the country or countries you are traveling to.

How to buy a Nomad eSim at Your Travel Destination

Nomad App

If you have already landed in your destination, you can certainly buy an eSim for the destination while you are there. All you need is your phone and to have an internet connection.

To buy your Nomad eSim, either browse the website here or download the Nomad App if you have an iPhone.

Once on the site/app, search for the global, regional, or country-specific data plan you are looking for. Pick the data plan that suits your trip best, and hit buy.

You will then need to create an account, verify your identity with a code, and pay for your data plan. Once paid, you will receive a QR code via email or through the app. This is what you will use to install and activate your eSim on your phone.

How to Setup & Activate Your Nomad eSim

When you buy your eSim data plan, the QR code will come with installation instructions that you should follow. It is very easy but can be different depending on what make of phone you own.

If you have an iPhone, here is how to install and activate a Nomad eSim:

  1. Print the QR code or have it on another screen ready to scan
  2. Go to Settings, then Cellular/Mobile Data
  3. Hit add Cellular Plan/Add Data Plan
  4. Scan the QR code

This process installs the eSim onto your phone. The next step is to activate it:

  1. Turn data roaming on
  2. Go to settings, then Cellular/Mobile Data
  3. Toggle to turn the Nomad eSim on
  4. Select the Nomad eSIM as the “default” or “primary” for cellular data
  5. Log into your Nomad account on the app or website
  6. Go to the My eSIMs page
  7. Click the blue Activate Data Now button

Advantages of Using Nomad eSim

There are a lot of good things to say about using an eSim from Nomad.

Firstly, it is much more convenient than using local sims, far less expensive than using data roaming, and every time you get to a new country, you can quickly add a new eSim to your phone.

Let’s look at all these great things in a bit more detail!

Just How Convenient Is It?

If you have bought your eSim for the new country you are heading to and activated it the day you fly from your home country, getting connected when you land is about as easy as it gets.

Once you land at your destination, all you have to do is turn on your phone and you will be connected to the local data network. You don’t need to worry about connecting to the WiFi in the airport, finding a sim card shop, queuing, topping up, or any of that.

With global eSim packages, you will have this smooth experience in almost every country you land in, having only done the QR code activate/install experience once.

You Won’t Have To Swap Sims

The most annoying thing about having to use local sims is swapping out your home one and then finding a safe place to store it. I know countless people who have lost their home sims on vacation, meaning they are a bit stuck when they fly back.

Receive Calls & Texts On Your Normal Number

Even while your eSim is active, your home number will still receive texts and calls. This makes life a lot simpler, especially when it comes to banking in a foreign country.

You can quickly approve payments and transfers without having to swap sims and be on a WiFi network at the same time.

It’s More Affordable

eSims are far more economical than data roaming and at a similar price to local rates but with a load of convenience thrown in. Using them is a no-brainer!

You Can SMS In The Nomad App

Nomad allows you to add SMS bundles to your eSim plans, but only if you have the app which is currently only available on iOS devices.

You will be given a virtual number and can SMS any number in your contacts as usual, and receive messages from them in the app.

Disadvantages of Using Nomad eSim

There are very few disadvantages to Nomad eSims as their service, coverage, and process are all pretty fantastic.

The one thing I would say is that they don’t operate in as many countries as other eSim providers. Airalo eSim cards work in 190 countries compared to the 110 of Nomad.

Also, Nomad does not offer any unlimited data packages, meaning heavy data users and remote workers might find themselves topping up if they are not careful with their data consumption.

Nomad eSim Review – Frequently Asked Questions

Nomad

What should I do when my Nomad eSim is not working?

If your Nomad eSim is not working but is installed and activated correctly, they suggest doing three things before calling customer support.

The first is checking whether you have data roaming turned on. If it is off, the Nomad eSim will not work.

If data roaming is on and it is still not working, turn on Airplane mode for a total of 30 seconds. This will reset the connectivity settings on your phone and might reboot your Nomad eSim into working again.

If turning Airplane mode on and off again doesn’t work, try turning your phone off, leaving it for 10 seconds, and turning it back on again.

If this doesn’t work, chances are the eSim was not installed/activated correctly and you should contact Nomad customer service to resolve the issue. Their customer service is excellent and they should have you up and running in a few minutes.

Can I make calls with Nomad eSim?

Nomad eSim plans are data-only sim cards which means they do not come with a local number or the ability to make local calls. But, through apps like Whatsapp, you can use data to make phone calls and send messages to anyone else on the app.

Just make sure you have Whatsapp set up before you go on your trip as the setup process does require your home phone number to work.

A bonus for anyone with an iPhone is that you can buy an SMS add-on to your eSim through the Nomad app. This gives you a virtual phone number within the Nomad app and allows you to send an SMS to any phone number in the world like normal.

Does Nomad allow tethering?

You might be wondering, especially if you work while you are traveling if you can use your Nomad eSim as a hotspot for your laptop.

Well, you are in luck, Nomad allows you to tether with their eSim data plans so you can use it to connect your laptop to the internet.

Nomad eSim: Is It Worth It?

I would say getting a Nomad eSim is 100% worth it. Between the convenience, affordability, good customer service, and great coverage, it makes a lot more sense than using local sims or data roaming. 

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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