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How To Make Calls With A Data-Only eSIM?

Although traditional plastic SIM cards sometimes come with phone numbers, most eSIM cards primarily offer "data-only" services. This means that a data-only eSIM can provide the data needed for your device to connect to the internet but does not provide a phone number. However, you can still use the eSIM to make and receive calls.


Three ways to make phone calls with a data-only eSIM?


1. Use the internet

You can make calls using VoIP applications like WhatsApp, Zoom, FaceTime, and Skype, which use the internet for calls. If you're using an iPhone or iPad, you can also use iMessage and FaceTime. When using these services, ensure that data roaming is turned off for your primary SIM card, so your device only uses the eSIM for data.

2. Use social media platforms

If you have a Facebook account, you can easily make video calls through Messenger. You can also use the calling feature in Instagram's direct messages (DMs) to communicate with contacts. Again, make sure data roaming is turned off for your primary SIM card to avoid incurring roaming charges.


3. Use your primary phone number

If you have the eSIM set up for local data while traveling, you can still keep your regular phone number fully functional. As eSIM data is prepaid, you won't incur any data roaming charges. Note that data usage is different from voice calls/text messages. Your carrier will charge you on a per-use basis for any valid calls or text messages made while in other countries/regions.


How to use your phone number with a data-only eSIM?


1. Keep your primary SIM card active so you can use your regular phone number.

2. Turn off data roaming for your primary SIM card to prevent it from using data.

3. Confirm that you are not enrolled in a travel plan with your carrier.

4. Select your eSIM as the data source for your phone to use the eSIM for all mobile data transmissions.

5. Expect charges from your carrier for active voice calls and text messages.


When using an eSIM for all your mobile data, your home carrier cannot charge you for data roaming. However, they still own your phone number, so they can bill you for individual voice calls and text messages when you are abroad. The charges may vary depending on your carrier and the destination.


How much does it cost to make phone calls with a data-only eSIM?


Because you have wisely turned off data roaming for your primary SIM card to avoid roaming charges and confirmed that you don't have a carrier travel data plan, your local carrier cannot charge you for data usage. However, if they still allow you to use their network for phone calls with your phone number, they can charge you for personal voice calls and text messages. Here are three common scenarios:

1If a call comes in but you don't answer, you won't be charged.

2If you decide to answer or make calls, your regular phone provider may charge you per minute, and these additional charges will appear on your next bill.

3If you only make or receive occasional calls, the charges may be relatively low, but it's best to check with your carrier's rates before traveling.


How much does it cost to send text messages with a data-only eSIM?


Typically, there is a cost associated with sending or receiving SMS text messages, with the cost per message ranging from 50 cents to a couple of dollars. However, some carriers may offer free texting services, so you won't be charged for received messages even while traveling internationally. Keep in mind that if your settings are configured correctly, messages sent via iMessage won't be treated as SMS because these messages are sent between Apple devices via the internet (either Wi-Fi or data).


If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.


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