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One Regional eSIM vs Multiple Single-Country eSIM: Which is better?

4 factors to consider.

· 4 min read

Traveling to multiple countries within a region and trying to decide if it would be better for you to get a regional eSIM or multiple local eSIMs? Let's take a look at what the differences are between a regional eSIM and multiple local eSIMs to help you decide!


What is the difference between a regional eSIM and a local eSIM?

Exactly like what their names suggest, regional eSIMs are eSIMs that work across a specific region. These eSIMs will provide data coverage across multiple destinations in that region. With a single eSIM, you will be able to stay connected as you traverse across borders into the different countries that are included in the eSIM plan.

On the other hand, a local eSIM will provide data coverage in only a single country. Once you are out of that country, your eSIM will not be able to connect to foreign networks and you wouldn't be able to use that eSIM to help you stay connected as you travel. So, if you are visiting multiple countries, you will need to get multiple local eSIMs and switch them around as you cross borders from one country to the next.

If you draw a comparison to how traditional roaming works, local eSIMs are somewhat similar to your phone plan if you do not have roaming activated — you wouldn't be able to connect to the network once you are out of the country; and regional eSIMs are similar to what happens when you have roaming activated on your primary plan, except it is only restricted to a fixed list of countries and additional charges are not incurred as you roam between those countries.

Regional eSIMs vs Local eSIMs: Cost vs Coverage

There are a few factors that you should probably consider when deciding if you should get a regional eSIM or a local eSIM; and one of the biggest factors to consider is the balance between cost and coverage.

In most cases, regional eSIMs tend to be cheaper than if you were to get multiple local eSIMs. However, if you will only be traveling to one or two countries within the region, then sometimes the total cost of getting multiple eSIMs could actually add up to be cheaper than if you were to get a regional eSIM.

Check the details of your eSIM plan to confirm which destinations it covers, and do some simple price comparison to find a combination that adds up to be the most effective.

Regional eSIMs vs Local eSIMs: Data Volume

Another factor that you might want to consider is the amount of data that you would be using. With multiple local eSIMs, you will not be able to share your data volume across destinations — this typically results in an ineffective use of your data allowance.

When buying individual eSIM plans, you will have to estimate how much data you will be using at each destination; on the other hand, if you were to get a regional eSIM, you will simply need to get a data pack that is large enough to cover the entire duration of your trip without having to worry about the amount of data used at each country.

And it is not just about being able to use your data across multiple countries. Typically, the price-per-GB for eSIM data plans become cheaper as you buy larger volumes; so getting a larger plan that covers the entire duration of your trip will also help you enjoy cost savings as compared to getting multiple smaller plans for each leg of your trip.

Regional eSIMs vs Local eSIMs: Convenience

Travel eSIMs have been very popular amongst many people due to the convenience it brings about. With travel eSIMs, you can easily install your eSIM on your device in a few simple taps on your device; and you will not have to fumble around with your physical SIM card.

You can also easily toggle between different (e)SIM profiles with just a tap on your device — this is especially useful for devices that do not have dual SIM slots.

But while it is very easy for you to switch between different eSIM profiles, you can benefit from greater convenience by getting a regional eSIM. With a regional eSIM, you simply have to install your eSIM once, and you will be fine throughout the rest of your trip. With multiple local eSIMs, you will have to remember to switch between your eSIM profiles as you go across borders, which really isn't all too difficult, just slightly less convenient.

Regional eSIMs vs Local eSIMs: Signal strength

Finally, if you are wondering if there would be a difference in signal strength between getting a regional eSIM or multiple single-country eSIMs, the short answer is that it typically doesn't differ much.

Whether it is a regional travel eSIM or a travel eSIM for a single country, they both rely on roaming capabilities and roaming agreements with the network providers; and the plans do not really differ in terms of performance.

However, what is important to note is that the network that is used for each eSIM plan could be different - a network that is available for a regional eSIM plan might not always be available for a single-country eSIM plan and vice versa. If there is a network that you prefer, or if there is a network that is known to be better than the others in that destination, then perhaps you might want to check if that network is actually being used for the plan that you have selected.

Get a Nomad eSIM for your data needs

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 has also introduced smaller regional plans that provides coverage in 3 countries, which could be more tailored for your trip if you are not planning to visit so many different countries on a single trip.

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.