How to Get a Telstra, Optus, or Vodafone eSIM in Australia

How to Get a Telstra, Optus, or Vodafone eSIM in Australia
At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW - prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

Over the past twelve months we’ve seen increasingly more phones allow for eSIM — a digital version of the physical SIM. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all have eSIM functionality. But installation varies slightly across each telco.

If you’re interested in getting rid of physical SIM cards, here’s how to install an eSIM through each telco.

Vodafone

At the moment Vodafone is in the lead when it comes to a purely online experience. An eSIM is generally installed on a device via a QR code. Vodafone allows this to be sent via email, making it the only Australian telco that doesn’t require you to either go into a brick and mortal store to get one or to have it mailed out to you.

“The easiest way for a Vodafone customer to swap their eSIM to a new device is via the MyVodafone app. It is the same process as requesting a physical SIM swap but customers can select an ‘eSIM’ option,” a Vodafone spokesperson said in an email to Gizmodo Australia.

“Securely log into the app and go to the Swap my SIM option. Follow the instructions and security prompts and when asked, select the eSIM option. Confirm the swap!”

When it comes to installation you will need to:

  • Add the mobile plan in your device settings
  • Scan the QR code
  • Enter the eSIM confirmation
  • Wait for the activation.

The above will vary slightly on each device due to differences between brands. Vodafone has a detailed set up process for each main brand over on its website.

It currently offers the feature on compatible Apple, Samsung and Google devices.

Optus

With Optus you can get an eSIM either in store or via snail mail. You can order one to be delivered via the My Optus app.

“Optus is keeping track of various trends in the telco market, including how eSIM is developing,” said an Optus spokesperson in an email to Gizmodo Australia.

“We are constantly accessing our approach with a customer first lens to ensure we continue to offer customers the best product in market. Optus is very excited by the opportunities that eSIM can unlock for its customers.”

When it comes to installation it will vary slightly on each device due to differences between brand settings. Optus has a detailed set up process for each main brand over on its website under the ‘how to activate an eSIM’ tab.

It currently offers the feature on compatible Apple, Samsung and Google devices.

eSIM with Telstra

A few months back Telstra told Gizmodo Australia it was working on a a digital way to swap eSIM in and out of devices. This week the telco announced this solution.

Using the My Telstra app, customers can now move an eSIM from one device to another, so long as both are compatible. For example, you could move it from an iPhone to your iPad if you needed mobile connectivity on the latter. You could then just as easily swap it back again.

Telstra has also taken this a step further by allowing customers to convert a physical SIM into an eSIM. This is quite a unique feature and a nice touch for anyone who might want to go digital.

This new feature is only compatible with eSIM customers. If you want to buy one from Telstra you will need to either go into a Telstra store or order one online to be mailed out.

It seems like Telstra is definitely working on an online solution, though. Its FAQ states, “We’re working on our online activation service for Pre-Paid eSIMs.”

Telstra recommends the following for eSIM installation:

iOS

  • Go to Settings, tap Mobile and then Add Mobile Plan
  • Scan the QR code in your eSIM Card and follow the prompts on your screen

Android

  • Go to Settings, tap Network & Internet and then add Mobile Network
  • Scan the QR code in your eSIM Card and follow the prompts on your screen

It currently offers the feature on compatible Apple, Samsung and Google devices.

eSIM phones in Australia

If you’re interested in eSIM, here are some of the most popular devices in Australia that offer that feature.

Samsung Galaxy S20 5G plans

iPhone 11 plans

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G plans

iPhone 11 Pro plans

iPhone SE plans