eSIMs vs second SIMs vs Virtual WhatsApp Numbers

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…Or, why our solution is just plain better!

Are you looking for a second phone number to set up with WhatsApp Business? Perhaps you’ve considered using an eSIM, but you’re not sure whether it’s worth the hassle and cost? There has been lots of debate about whether eSIMs really improve on the tried-and-tested physical SIM card, and the best option for you will depend on your unique requirements.

So, what is an eSIM, and should you use one? Here’s all you need to know about eSIMs, the pros and cons, and the best alternative solutions.

What is a SIM card?

A SIM card is a small plastic card that slots into your smartphone. SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module. The card stores identification information, pointing a smartphone to a specific mobile network.

SIM cards may be tiny, but they hold important data. They also allow your phone to connect to the nearest network, place calls, use mobile data and send SMS messages.

Older mobile phone models had only one SIM card slot, and then manufacturers started to create dual SIM phones to allow for more than one physical SIM card. Now, manufacturers have introduced eSIMs on the newest smartphone models.

What is an eSIM?

The term ‘eSIM’ stands for Embedded SIM. An eSIM is an embedded chip that comes pre-installed in some smartphones. The eSIM allows you to activate a mobile data plan remotely without having to use a physical SIM.

eSIMs are a relatively new concept for most smartphone users. Apple initially introduced them for the iPhone, but other manufacturers now provide eSIMs.

What are the pros and cons of eSIMs?

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of eSIMs when compared to physical SIM cards.

Advantages of eSIMs

eSIMS are easy to activate

eSIMs are a lot less fiddly to handle than traditional physical SIM cards. Physical SIMs are tiny and need to be carefully placed in the SIM tray slot on your phone, which requires a SIM ejector pin to open. Physical SIM cards can also be easily scratched, damaged or lost. In comparison, eSIMs can be quickly activated and registered just by scanning a QR code.

eSIMs take up less space

eSIMs don’t require a special slot to insert them into the phone, so manufacturers are able to use the saved space and more seamless exterior to make smarter design choices. This could mean that an eSIM smartphone may have an improved battery life or less chance of damage, due to the more waterproof design.

Disadvantages of eSIMs

eSIMs are only available on limited devices

eSIMS aren’t available on every device, and so far, they’ve been limited to the more premium smartphones which may not fit into everyone’s budget. These include:

  • iPhone models from XS onwards (XS, 11, 12, SE 2020 etc)
  • Google Pixel devices from Pixel 3 onwards (3, 3A, 4, 4A, 5 etc)
  • Some new Samsung devices (including S20, S21, Z Flip, Fold, Note)

It’s more difficult to switch devices with eSIMs

You need to contact your network provider each time you switch devices when you use an eSIM. With a physical SIM card, if your phone breaks you can easily pop the existing SIM card into a back-up phone – but with an eSIM, this isn’t immediately possible. If you travel a lot and may need to quickly set up a temporary phone to stay connected, a physical SIM card may be preferable.

A second phone contract can be costly with an eSIM

You can set up more than one plan on the same eSIM, but you’ll need to pay for it. Prices vary according to each network, but you may need to shop around to get a deal that suits your requirements at a competitive rate, which is often quite hard to find in this space. Ouch.

What alternatives to eSIMs are there?

If you’ve decided that the disadvantages outweigh the benefits when it comes to eSIMs, or you simply don’t want to upgrade your existing device, there are other options.

YourBusinessNumber gives you a second virtual UK mobile number that allows you to use both WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business on the same phone. Without a second number, you can’t use both WhatsApp Messenger and WhatsApp Business on the same device.

You can generate your new number in just three clicks – it’s that easy. There’s no contract and you can cancel any time if you need to. It’s quick, easy to set up, and super cost-effective.

What about physical SIM cards?

Customers sometimes ask us whether it would be possible to buy a physical SIM card, use it to activate WhatsApp Business, then discard the SIM card. We don’t recommend this, of course – but there are some good reasons why we don’t!

You could lose your phone number when it’s ‘recycled’

If you plan to use the SIM card for a short period (say just to sign up to WhatsApp Business), then stop paying for it, the phone provider will ‘recycle’ the phone number by registering it with someone else. In this scenario, not only would your customers be unable to contact you anymore, but there’s a chance they’ll get through to someone else. That risks not only your time, effort, and money but also your reputation – not a good look for trying to run a business.

You can’t switch devices after setting up your number

You also won’t be able to change devices if you’ve thrown away or stopped paying for the physical SIM card – so if your phone breaks, you don’t have any other options. Whoops.

Your second mobile phone number is a major communication channel with your customers, so it makes sense to set it up to be as secure, flexible, and cost-effective as possible. If something happens to your phone, you definitely don’t want to find yourself incommunicado with your customers simply because you can’t get at the number!

Generate your virtual second phone number today

YourBusinessNumber does all the hard work for you, so you can set up your new phone number in just three clicks and be assured it will be there for as long as you need it; no fuss, no losses, no losing valuable customer communications.

Get A Virtual Number Now!

Receive your number for WhatsApp verification in just 3 clicks!

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Picture of George Lineker

George Lineker

The co-founder of YourBusinessNumber, George has a lasting interest in modern communications technology, and is an advocate of simple and easy to use tools for businesses of all sizes. He has a background in mobile telecom solutions along with qualifications in business and management support services.
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