A Guide to eSIMs

A Guide to eSIMs

A Guide to Jola eSIM + (link at end of this article) a list of all eSIM networks across the globe and which tariff Zones each fits in to.

Introduction to eSIM 

eSIM is a major evolution in SIM technology delivering significant business benefits

The following are some of the major differences between standard SIMs and eSIMs and the reasons why they are significant:

  1. eSIMs can be re-programmed ‘Over-The-Air’ (OTA)

There are many reasons why you might want to update a SIM card, examples include when an alternative MNO offers better commercials or a new MNO offering coverage becomes available.

If that SIM card is in your office, physically swapping the SIM is a quick and easy.  However, if you are a business with thousands of SIM cards this becomes a serious undertaking. It is further complicated if that estate of SIMs is inaccessible as they are embedded in devices or because they are in geographically remote or hard to access locations.  The complication might simply be that they are spread across a large geographic area, spanning multiple countries or even continents.  

eSIM technology means the SIM or an estate of SIMs do not need to be swapped out, instead they can be re-programmed OTA. 

  1. The MNOs do not own the eSIMs

Standard SIMs are owned by an MNO.  Their customers are restricted to what the MNO is able to offer them. When originally choosing the MNO the customer will hopefully have got the best deal available to them at that time.  If something changes and the customer wants to swap MNOs, with standard SIM cards this inevitably means a truck roll and swapping out an estate of SIMs.

eSIMs are not owned by the MNO.  An eSIM supplier can be much more agile and flexible compared with an MNO

  1. eSIMs can hold multiple profiles

Traditionally a standard SIM holds one SIM profile – all the information necessary (e.g. the IMSI) to give one connectivity option to each SIM card.

eSIM can be seen as a container for multiple SIM profiles (which can be added to / updated OTA). A single eSIM can potentially have multiple connectivity options at any given time.  Every eSIM is assigned a ‘bootstrap profile’ after it has been manufactured which means that the SIM can connect wherever it is activated around the globe

Features of Jola eSIMs

  • Global Coverage

Jola eSIM provides access to over 450 networks in over 190 countries.  

  • Comprehensive UK Coverage

Coverage of the UK on Jola eSIM includes the big 4 UK MNOs (EE, Vodafone, Three & O2).

  • No Home Network - Unsteered

Jola eSIM Multinet is unlike most other MVNOs in that we do not have a ’home’ network. 


This means that, for example, in the UK the Jola eSIM is able to connect to the strongest network, with no steering and no networkpreference.  

Most MVNOs are linked to a home network and their SIMs will ”cling on” to their home network, however weak it might be. Jola eSIM will always enable a device to be able to connect to the strongest available network.

  • GSMA Compliant

Jola eSIMs are GSMA compliant (The GSM Association is the trade body representing the interests of MNOs worldwide).

  • Multiple Use Cases

The solution is designed to be suitable for all types of application from low consumption IoT solutions through to high consumptionmobile broadband solutions. 

Suitable for any application that requires wireless Internet or private network access virtually anywhere in the world.  

Jola SIMs are available on tariffs ranging from 10MB to 200GB.

  • UK breakout

Roaming standard SIMs have been a popular solution for those that have needed an un-steered, multi-network SIM.  Jola has soldthousands of Dutch and Irish SIMs for this very reason.  

All traffic on these SIMs is routed back to the home network which does inevitably mean increased latency and that the user is ‘geo- located’ in a foreign country.

Jola eSIM Multinet is a roaming SIM, however the traffic breaks out of the Jola eSIM Multinet core network in the UK.  In fact theroaming traffic from the UK networks goes directly to our UK gateways and breaks out from there, so the latency and performance is better than any other roaming SIM and no UK data ever leaves the UK.

  • Multiple form factors 

A common misconception about eSIM is that they are only available as embedded SIMs. This is not the case; Jola do offer eSIM as  an embeddable SIM (primarily for Original Equipment Manufacturers - OEMs) but also as a triple-cut SIM card meaning any device with a SIM card slot can take advantage of eSIM.

Jola eSIM zones and tariffs

  • There are 5 Jola eSIM zones, data becomes increasingly expensive as you go down the list of zones

  • Zone 1 
  • Zone 2 
  • Zone 3 
  • Zone 4 
  • Zone 5

  • The countries that are included in each zone and the network(s) available in each of the countries in each zone are listed in a spreadsheet at the bottom of this article.

  • Within each of the 5 zones there are multiple tariffs to choose the amount of data each SIM will need each month.

  • SIMs are able to access all of the networks in all of the zones up to and including the zone of the tariff that has been ordered.

E.g. a zone 4 tariff can access all of the zone 4 networks plus all zones 1, 2 & 3 networks too.  

Pricing is available on the Jola Partner Portal: https://extranet.jola.co.uk/

Depending on the destination of the SIM, the Jola zones allow your customer to make a choice between cost and the depth of coverage.  In other words, in many countries there will be multiple networks available and some of those networks will be in different zones. The customer is be able to choose to pay for a higher zone SIM and have access to more networks….or not!

Jola’s Multi-network eSIMs allow you to choose the number of networks a SIM has access to in a single country or, for SIMs that travel across borders, in multiple countries.


Taking Singapore as a random example, there are 3 networks available spread across 3 of the eSIM zones:



Roaming Operator

Price Band


SingTel Mobile Singapore Pte. Ltd (900)

Zone 3 - world 1


StarHub Mobile Pte Ltd - SGPSH

Zone 4 - world 2


M1 Limited 

Zone 5 - world 3

  • The customer might want to order a Zone 3 tariff.  This might be because they only have access to ‘Singtel’ at their location.  Alternatively they might order the Z3 tariff even if they can connect to all 3 networks but want to save money and the consequences of the site having an outage because ‘Singtel’ might go down sometimes are minimal.

If they need to avoid outages they can order a Z4 or Z5 tariff. 

  • Pay-Per-Zone tariff options

There is a separate article on the Jola Knowledgebase giving more detail on Jola PPZ tariffs.  In summary though:

PPZ tariffs can save customers money if they need roaming SIMs with excellent network coverage across multiple countries. 


All Jola eSIM tariffs are based on over 450 global networks, divided in to 5 pricing zones. PPZ eSIMs tariffs are different to Jola ‘standard’ eSIM tariffs because: 


  • Data is charged at different rates based on the zone in which it is consumed.   
  • Data is charged per MB consumed. 


Before PPZ, customers needing roaming eSIMs selected a tariff based on the zone which included the most expensive network(s) the SIM might need to use. This solution works well, but the customer does not benefit when the eSIM accesses networks in cheaper zones. 

  • Fixed IP eSIM

eSIM is also available with a fixed (static) public IP.  

The IP is a ‘true’ fixed IP (negating the need for static IP or NAT). rDNS is available upon request.

The same benefits of eSIM apply to eSIM fixed IP including global coverage (including all 4 UK networks).

Our Fixed IP eSIMs are competitively priced for channel partners to win against equivalent single network EE or Vodafone Fixed IP SIMs.

Countries / Networks / Zones

A spreadsheet showing all of the different countries / networks / zones is available on the Jola Partner Portal under ‘Price lists’ https://extranet.jola.co.uk/#Page:Roaming_Networks_and_Countries

The spreadsheet can be filtered by the different columns.

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