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Learn how to get and activate an AT&T eSIM USA

Getting an AT&T eSIM USA has become more simple; learn with this guide about their pricing, services, activation, and some alternatives!

Leoneska R.

September 8, 2023

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With an eSIM, you can activate a data plan on your phone and other devices without installing a chip. The AT&T eSIM for the USA is an excellent option to connect to a high-speed network in the country, with stable coverage in most of its territory.

Pricing, plans, and the purchase and installation process may vary slightly if you are a new or existing AT&T USA customer. The availability of options for your embedded SIM card is also related to whether you are a resident or a visiting tourist.

Person using a phone with eSIM. Source: Unsplash.

Pricing and plans of AT&T eSIM USA

Most of the services offered by AT&T with its virtual SIM card can be classified as prepaid or postpaid options, as it indicates, depending on how we will pay for our plan. This operator and others in the country offer discounts when we buy several lines or when we are part of a particular guild, such as military, veterans, teachers, nurses, physicians, and PA-Cs. It is essential to know that you do not pay for a digital SIM card, but the only way to get one is by signing up for a plan.

Virtual SIM card for the USA with unlimited data

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Prepaid plans

Prepaid plans are those you can purchase without signing contracts. These services are easier to acquire, so this is your best option if you are a tourist. Local customers who want to keep track of their data consumption are also looking for prepaid eSIM options. AT&T has three prepaid plan options, ranging from $30 to $65 per month, starting at 5GB up to unlimited data. It also has two long-term options of three months and twelve months for $99 and $300, respectively. Both monthly and long-term options must be paid in advance to obtain the eSIM.

Postpaid plans

In the case of postpaid plans, it is the opposite; you must sign a contract, and the purchase process is a little slower. Residents are the main users. With the operator, we can purchase postpaid eSIM wireless plans for $50 and up to $85 monthly, with data ranging from 4GB to unlimited data. Unlimited data plans are more common, and when we buy several lines, they can have essential discounts.

Devices compatible with AT&T eSIM USA 

As we know, virtual SIM cards need a device compatible with the technology to work, and when you use an AT&T eSIM, you must also be able to use their network coverage. For this reason, it is expected that before purchasing your service, you will have to check your device. This should not discourage you. There are many phones, smartwatches, and tablets that are compatible with digital SIM cards and can be used with AT&T networks.

Steps to get AT&T eSIM USA

Before discussing the steps, you must know that you can purchase AT&T digital SIM cards on their website, in physical stores, or with authorized agents. The first step is to identify which of the methods you will use. Each one has its own conditions, so if you are a new or existing customer, a tourist, or a resident, you will be allowed to take one option or the other. Next, we will discuss the requirements and steps for buying online or in a physical store.

Requirements for buying an AT&T virtual SIM card online

To purchase an eSIM from AT&T, you have two options: the first when you are a new customer and the second when you are an existing customer and transfer your number to an eSIM. It is possible to purchase a prepaid virtual SIM card online, but it requires verification of your device, a US address, and a contact number. For this reason, as a tourist, it is easier to go to a physical store because the online option is aimed at local customers. Thus, the requirements are:

  • You need an internet connection to go to the AT&T website.
  • Have a local address, contact number, and personal information for the process.
  • The phone must be unlocked and needs its IMEI number to confirm compatibility with the network.
  • Have one of AT&T’s payment methods available 
  • You need an email address with access to it to receive the digital SIM card

Follow these steps to get it online

When you purchase your unlocked phone outside of AT&T, you must select the Bring your own device section on their website. You can transfer your AT&T number if you are an existing customer or sign up for one if you are a new user. You proceed to identify your device with its IMEI, take the option to activate as eSIM, choose the plan you want, and you can move to pay. Then, you will receive your virtual SIM card to be installed.

AT&T Bring your own device. Source: AT&T

Requirements to purchase an AT&T digital SIM card in a physical store

When we go to a physical store, we get assistance from the operator’s staff, so this method is much more direct. When you are a tourist, you only need your phone, and they will confirm compatibility and install it. If you are a resident, you can also take this option when not familiar with online shopping. In either case, the requirements are:

  • You need an eSIM-compatible phone that is unlocked and can be used on the AT&T network.
  • Find a physical store or authorized AT&T agent. You can help you with the fine store on their website.
  • Request the eSIM at the store and follow the steps indicated by the staff. Have your phone and information, such as your ID or passport and IMEI of the device.

Follow these steps to get it in a physical store

You must go to a physical store or authorized agent with your unlocked phone and your ID or passport. If you can’t locate the nearest one, use the Find Store that AT&T has on their website. Once there, you request an eSIM and you will be informed about the available plans, buy one and then they will assist you with the purchase process and installation on your phone.

How to install according to the type of device

At this point, we already have the QR code to install our eSIM, and we are interested in knowing how to do it on our device. As there are several brands available, it is expected that the installation processes will be slightly different. The good news is that the installation is similar regardless of the operator, so if you contract your eSIM for the USA service with another company, this information will be equally helpful!

Install on Apple iPhone

If your phone is eSIM compatible, you can use the AT&T service. They have no brand restrictions. The installation is automatic; you need to be connected to a WiFi network, swipe down from the top of your screen to open your notifications, choose the AT&T cellular plan ready to be installed notification, and select continue.

You can also install it manually by scanning the QR code that you receive with the eSIM with the data plan. When purchasing with other providers, it is usual to use this method. To help you with the process, you can also use Holafly’s iPhone eSIM installation guide, where you can find a detailed step-by-step explanation of how to scan the QR

Install on Android Device

The Android operating system is used in many Google, Samsung, Motorola, and other phone brands. In all of them, the installation process is very similar. You must connect to a WiFi network, Open Settings, look for Network, Connections, Mobile, or similar, and select the option to download a SIM or eSIM. Finally, follow the prompts to scan the QR code on your eSIM activation card. If you have any questions, you can use Holafly’s guides for eSIM installation on Oppo, Google, or Samsung.

Install on Smartwatches

With AT&T, as long as you have a wireless plan, you can activate your service on an Apple Watch or Android smartwatch along with your line. In both cases, you must have the phone near the smartwatch and be in an AT&T coverage area. When you have both devices turned on, access the Watch App on your phone and pair them. After that, use the NumberSync service to pair the eSIMs. You may need your AT&T user ID. To make things easier, you can use this guide for Apple Watch.

Companies also offering eSIM in the USA

AT&T is not the only company offering virtual SIM cards in the USA. There are international stores that have prepaid eSIM in the USA for tourists and other local operators that offer similar services to AT&T. Let’s take a look at some of these alternatives.

Holafly unlimited data digital SIM card for the USA

eSIM for the USA
Unlimited data eSIM for the USA. Source: Holafly.

As you noticed, it is easier for resident customers to buy virtual SIM card services. For this reason, online stores like Holafly focus their services on users from all over the world. Their eSIM for USA has unlimited data plans from 5 to 90 days of use with prices between $19 and $99. The best thing is that being virtual, you can make the whole process of purchase and installation remotely without additional requirements or contracts.

You only need an embedded SIM card compatible phone and an internet connection to get one with Holafly. You find plans for over 160 countries, recharge options through top-ups, 24/7 multilingual customer service, and multiple payment methods. All of their virtual SIMs are prepaid, and there are plans with multi-country coverage, such as North America eSIM.

Verizon virtual SIM card for the USA

A prominent American carrier that has been gaining ground in the last few years is Verizon. In their case, the virtual SIM card can be purchased with a prepaid or postpaid data plan. The eSIM has no cost but can only be purchased with a plan; prepaid options range from $35 to $75, while postpaid options range from $60 to $75. Verizon has the particularity of being able to add additional services to their plans, such as streaming subscriptions or Walmart memberships.

T-Mobile embedded SIM card for the USA

A third local option that has many subscribers and excellent coverage in the country is T-Mobile with its eSIM for the USA. They offer data plans ranging between $60 and $90. In all cases, we will have unlimited data at different speeds. As with the other carriers, you cannot buy an eSIM without a data plan. One advantage of their packages is the option to share unlimited data at 3G speeds, making your phone a decent hotspot.

>Traveling to Jamaica? Get to know how to get a Digicel eSIM<

Additional services offered by AT&T eSIM USA

We mentioned earlier that AT&T’s eSIM was compatible with other devices such as tablets, laptops, smartwatches, mobile hotspots, and even some cars. Considering this, the carrier offers data plans for these devices to add to your phone bills. Prices range from $10 to $90 depending on the device and quantity. AT&T will need to confirm compatibility as it only applies to select devices. You will find sections for each of the devices on its website

Frequently asked questions about AT&T eSIM for the USA

Can I move my AT&T SIM card plan to an AT&T eSIM?

Yes, through My AT&T account overview, you can transfer your physical SIM card to an eSIM while keeping the plan you had active. The operator offers a quick step-by-step on its website.

Can I use my AT&T eSIM in Canada?

Yes, some of the virtual SIM card data plans include coverage in Mexico and Canada so you will be able to call, text and use data abroad. There may be speed reductions depending on the area and you should always confirm that your plan includes this feature.

Does AT&T charge for eSIM?

The eSIM has no cost but the only way to get one is by getting a prepaid or postpaid data plan. You would be paying only the cost of the data plan and along with it, you have the option to activate your virtual SIM card.

Can you use AT&T eSIMs internationally?

Like the physical chip, the virtual SIM card allows you to use your local plan internationally. However, consumption outside the USA is considered a roaming service, and if you don’t have a plan with international coverage, you can end up paying a lot of money. An alternative when traveling is to use Holafly’s prepaid eSIM with coverage in more than 160 destinations.

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