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eSIMs 101: Do eSIMs expire?

How long can you keep your eSIM for

· 3 min read

In this digital age, technology is constantly evolving. From smartphones to smartwatches, the way we connect and communicate is changing rapidly. One innovation that has gained popularity in recent years is the eSIM, or embedded SIM. But what exactly is an eSIM and how does it work? Are there any limitations or expiration dates associated with eSIMs?


Understanding eSIM Technology

Before we dive into the topic of eSIM expiration, let's first understand what eSIM technology is all about. An eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a small, programmable chip that is physically embedded within a device, such as a smartphone or tablet. Unlike traditional SIM cards, which are physical cards that need to be inserted into a device, eSIMs are built directly into the device during manufacturing.

What is an eSIM?

An eSIM is similar to a traditional SIM card in that it stores information that identifies your device and links it to a mobile network. However, instead of being a physical card that can be removed and replaced, an eSIM is a virtual SIM that is embedded into the device itself. This means that you don't need to physically swap out SIM cards when changing network operators or traveling internationally.


With an eSIM, you can have multiple mobile network profiles stored on your device simultaneously. This allows you to easily switch between different networks without the need for physical SIM card swapping. For example, if you are traveling abroad, you can simply activate a local network profile on your eSIM without having to purchase a separate SIM card.

How Does an eSIM Work?

The magic of eSIM technology lies in its programmability. When you activate an eSIM, the device downloads the necessary information, such as network authentication keys, from the network operator's server. This information is securely stored in the eSIM, allowing your device to connect to the designated mobile network. The process of provisioning and activating an eSIM is usually done through a user-friendly interface on your device, making it a smooth and hassle-free experience.

Want to find out more about how eSIMs work, or have some questions about eSIMs? Our previous blog on how eSIMs work might have the answers you are looking for.

Can eSIMs expire?

Now that we have a good understanding of how eSIMs work, let's address the big question: do eSIMs expire? The simple answer is no, eSIMs by themselves do not have an expiration date. An eSIM is somewhat like a piece of software that you can download, install, and activate — so in that sense, it does not expire.

BUT! Although eSIMs technically do not expire, it is possible that eSIMs get deactivated due to inactivity or other operator policy. This is not unlike a prepaid physical SIM or a travel SIM, in which the SIM card technically does not expire physically; but after a certain duration, the SIM gets deactivated and the number gets recycled.

Also, what could possibly expire is the plan that is associated with an eSIM. For example, you have purchased a 30-day data-plan — that means the data that you have is valid for 30 days. After which, whatever data you have remaining gets forfeited, and you no longer have access to that data pack. At this point, the eSIM has not expired, but the data pack associated with it has.


Can I delete my eSIM?

Yes, it is possible to delete your eSIM from your device after installation. And you would probably want to do so when your plan has expired, when the eSIM is no longer valid, or when you have no need for it anymore. Deleting unused and inactive eSIMs will help you to better housekeep and manage your different eSIM profiles, so that you do not accidentally activate the wrong one and incur unnecessary charges.

BUT! Be careful not to delete eSIMs that are still active, or those that you will still be using! If you delete an eSIM, it will no longer be retrievable (Nope, there is no such thing as a recycle bin…at least, not yet). eSIMs can only be installed once, so if you have accidentally deleted the eSIM that you are still using, it wouldn't be possible to reinstall the same eSIM.

How do I delete my eSIM?

If you have decided that you want to go ahead and delete your eSIM, simply head to the SIM manager in your device (basically the same place you go where you add an eSIM), and select the option to remove the eSIM.

Learn more about how to delete your eSIM in this blog post.