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Can I give away my leftover data allowance from my travel eSIM?

You can't give your eSIM to someone else.

· 3 min read

Perhaps, if you have leftover data allowance in your tourist or prepaid SIM card, you might have offered to share that SIM card with your friends and families who have an upcoming trip to the same destination. If you had bought a data eSIM this time and are wondering if you could perhaps do the same, unfortunately you wouldn’t. Let’s find out more.


What are eSIMs and how do they work?

First, let’s take a look at what eSIMs are, and how they work.

eSIM is short for embedded SIM, and they carry out similar functions to a traditional SIM card. However, unlike traditional SIM cards, eSIMs are not a physical SIM card that can be removed or inserted into your phone.

Instead, an eSIM is a chip that is embedded within your device. For your device to be able to connect to the network, you will need to download something known as an eSIM profile. This eSIM profile will contain the necessary information for the network to authenticate and authorise the connection.

The act of downloading your eSIM profile is often referred to as eSIM installation or adding your eSIM to your device. There are various ways of installing your eSIM to your device - including scanning of a QR code, auto-installation, or by manually entering the details of your eSIM profile.

Travel eSIMs are typically single-use and cannot be transferred

Your eSIM profile can only be active on one device at any one point in time. This is not any different from how you can only have your physical SIM card in one device at any one point in time.

In addition, more often than not, travel eSIMs are single-use and cannot be transferred across devices. What that essentially means is that once the eSIM profile has been installed to a single device, that same profile cannot be moved to a second device. It also means that if you have installed that eSIM once before, you wouldn’t be able to reinstall it if you delete it from your phone (so whatever you do, do not remove the eSIM profile from your device until you are sure you no longer need it).

The combination of both factors above essentially means that once you have installed your travel eSIM profile on your phone, you will only be able to use it on that phone.

Even if you had leftover data at the end of your trip, you would not be able to ‘give’ that data to your friends and families since they would not be able to install your eSIM profile on their device. Of course, if you passed them your phone with the eSIM installed, then they would be able to continue using the data through your phone (provided your data plan has not expired).

📢 If you see someone telling you that they want to sell you their unused data from an eSIM, do not take up the offer as it is most definitely a scam. You wouldn’t be able to install the eSIM on your phone if they have already installed it on theirs.

So, what can I do with leftover data allowance from my travel eSIM?

There isn’t much you can do with your leftover data allowance - unless you will be revisiting the destination during the validity of your travel eSIM.

Travel eSIMs are designed to only work in a specific destination, which means that you wouldn’t be able to use the data from that eSIM if you are outside that destination. But of course, if you are planning to go back to that same destination while your plan is still valid, then you can continue to use whatever data is remaining without having to buy a new eSIM!

A good use case for this would be if you happen to take frequent business trips to a certain country; or if you do weekend trips to a neighbouring country. In such cases, you wouldn’t need to buy an eSIM for every single trip. Instead, you can buy just a single eSIM and use that same plan for all your trips as long as your trip falls within the validity of the eSIM.

That way, you would only need to install and activate your eSIM once; and you will be able to share your data pack over all your trips, making it a much more cost-effective option.

Remember, if you are planning to use your eSIM again for subsequent trips, do not delete or remove your eSIM from your device until you are sure you no longer require that eSIM (or if it has expired). Once you remove your eSIM from your device, there is no way for you to reinstall that same eSIM plan.

Get a Nomad eSIM to help you stay connected on your next trip

Nomad offers data plans in over 170 countries, and you can be sure to find one that is suitable for your travel needs. And if you will be traveling across multiple countries, there are also regional plans available so you can stay seamlessly connected as you hop between countries. Data plans are available from as low as $1.10/GB.

Nomad’s eSIM plans support mobile hotspots and data tethering. This means you can use your Nomad data plan to connect your laptop to the internet without any issues!

The networks that Nomad's eSIMs use for each plan are stated on the plan details on the web store and apps, so you can check which networks are supported before buying your plan. Data sharing and tethering is also supported on Nomad's eSIM plans.