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Review: Saily eSIM Service – Connect to the Internet in 150 Countries at Prices More Advantageous Than Roaming

Saily Review

In contrast to traditional plastic SIM cards, eSIM technology uses a chip directly built into your device (phone, as well as tablets or smart watches, some car models). It is possible to create multiple SIM profiles in one device, thereby accessing mobile services and data from different operators.

First, we will explain in detail how eSIM works and then we will focus on the service Saily, which is from the same creators as the VPN service NordVPN. The eSIM service Saily provides access to the internet regardless of where you are, with data packages available in more than 150 countries around the world.

We will show how to activate the Saily service and focus on its benefits. We tested the Saily service on a Google Pixel 6a mobile with the Android operating system.

What is an eSIM?

The eSIM technology replaces traditional plastic SIM cards.

  • In devices that support eSIM technology, a chip is embedded.
  • A new phone comes pre-set with a default SIM profile from either the phone manufacturer or a network operator.
  • It is possible to store multiple SIM profiles on an eSIM and switch between them as needed.
  • A profile can be associated with different mobile network operators. Thus, some profiles can be set for work, while others can be set for calls and data services from different countries while traveling abroad.
  • eSIM technology is supported on newer smartphones: iPhone (from model XS), Google Pixel (from model 2), Samsung Galaxy (from S20), and others. It is also available on some models of smartwatches (only certain models, not in all countries), and for laptops and tablets.
  • Newer devices with eSIM technology usually allow two SIM profiles to be active at once. For example, one eSIM profile and one traditional SIM profile simultaneously, or two eSIM profiles simultaneously. Then you can receive calls, SMS, and so on at the same time on both numbers, and when making calls, you can select which SIM to use in a simple dialogue window.
  • The exact process of activating an eSIM depends on your phone model (device). It requires the installation and activation of the profile. The phone’s settings menu then allows for the management of all SIMs, assigning whether a SIM should be used for calling, SMS, or data.
  • The use of eSIM instead of a traditional SIM card is allowed by most mobile operators. You just need an eSIM compatible device and instead of a traditional SIM card, you purchase an eSIM from your operator.
  • However, besides mobile operators, a new segment is emerging in the telecommunications market – eSIM service providers. They are becoming important players because they offer consumers and businesses more flexible and cost-effective solutions for using data packages while abroad.
  • Through eSIM, you can make calls, send SMS messages, and use internet data, just like through a traditional plastic SIM card. The offering depends on the specific eSIM service provider.
  • The coverage of the country by the signal and the prices for services are also determined by specific eSIM service providers.

Advantages and disadvantages of eSIM compared to traditional SIM cards:

  • A major advantage is the ability to create multiple SIM profiles and easily switch between them. The number of profiles depends on the phone model, for example, iPhone 14 allows up to 8 eSIM profiles to be installed, with up to 2 eSIM profiles active at once.
  • eSIM takes up less physical space in the device, no slot is needed for inserting a physical card. Moreover, it is environmentally friendly – no plastics are used in the production of traditional cards.
  • A disadvantage is that an eSIM compatible device is required – hence, newer phone models.
  • A SIM profile can be installed on various types of devices, even on devices that would not otherwise accommodate a regular SIM card (smartwatches).
  • Some operators may not allow the use of eSIM in all devices. Availability for the same device in different countries may vary. (For example, in Slovakia, it is not possible to use eSIM on Apple Watch, only on smartwatches from Samsung or Huawei.

Traveling? How to Effectively Use Data Services Abroad?

When traveling abroad, in addition to connecting to local Wi-Fi, we have several other options for accessing mobile services on our phone or other device. Each of these options has its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Roaming allows you to use your mobile phone for calling, sending SMS, and accessing the internet even outside your home country by utilizing the network of a foreign operator.
  • Purchasing a foreign SIM card at the place of stay.
  • Using eSIM services.
Digital Nomad
The dream of a digital nomad about internet connection on the beach – image generated using Midjourney.

Roaming

The main advantage of roaming is that customers can continue using their existing phone number without having to buy a new SIM card or set up new services.

  • Different operators may offer different roaming packages, and finding the optimal option by comparing them can sometimes be time-consuming.
  • Packages may include only a certain amount of data, minutes for calls, and SMS for a fixed price. If these limits are exceeded, the rates can increase very quickly.
  • Charges are not only for outgoing calls and SMS but also for incoming calls and SMS. (If a relative calls you, you pay the difference in the price of the incoming call, not the caller.)
  • In some areas, network coverage may be limited, so some services from the selected operator may be unavailable.

Telecommunication services in the USA usually cover the entire country without additional roaming charges within the country, so users can make calls, send SMS, and use data services regardless of which state in the USA they are located. For US citizens traveling outside the USA, the terms and prices of roaming depend on the specific operator and the country they are traveling to.

Since June 2017, the EU regulation on roaming price control within the European Union has come into effect. The regulation “Roam like at home” (RLAH) dictates that a citizen of any EU country can call, send SMS, and use data services at the same prices as with their home operator, without paying additional roaming fees, provided they do not exceed the set limit of data, minutes, or SMS included in their plan or prepaid credit. After exceeding these limits, used minutes, SMS, and data are charged. Outside the EU, roaming conditions and prices vary and depend on the specific operator and the country to which the citizen travels.

Purchasing a Foreign SIM Card at the Place of Stay

Travelers often buy a local SIM card, especially if they plan to spend a longer period in a particular country and want to minimize charges for using mobile data, calls, and SMS.

  • Roaming usually has limits on data, called minutes, or the number of SMS. A local SIM card can offer unlimited data limits at a price much more advantageous than roaming.
  • A local SIM simplifies access to local services, such as emergency calls, local transport apps, etc., which may be blocked for foreign SIMs.
  • The prerequisite for using a local SIM is an unlocked phone + a suitable SIM card format (nano, micro, standard)
  • In some countries, you may need a local ID or address to purchase and activate a SIM card.
  • Purchasing a foreign SIM card only addresses local calls and SMS. Prices for calls from abroad back home can be as high as with roaming. Therefore, it mainly benefits you due to cheaper data than you would have with roaming.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of eSIM Services Compared to Roaming and Foreign SIM?

We have already explained that in a device supporting eSIM technology, a chip is embedded directly in the device, and on eSIM, multiple SIM profiles can be stored and switched between as needed.

  • When traveling to exotic countries, you may encounter a language barrier when dealing with a local SIM (you may not understand the contract terms, staff may not speak any language other than the local one, etc.). If you use eSIM services, everything can be managed online.
  • Upon arrival abroad, you do not need to search for where to buy a local SIM card, nor compare offers from local operators and decide what is most advantageous for you. Install the eSIM at the comfort of your home, and switching and connecting to the network of an operator abroad is possible immediately after arrival.
  • If you switch from a physical SIM card to a local operator’s SIM card, your currently unused SIM card may get damaged or lost.
  • As a disadvantage, it may appear that eSIM service providers only offer various data packages and do not enable calling or sending SMS. With data, you have at your disposal calls via the internet, for example through WhatsApp, Messenger, and similar.

eSIM Service Saily

One of the providers of eSIM data services is Saily. It offers data packages in more than 150 countries worldwide. In the application, you can manage eSIM profiles for all countries and choose various data packages from the offer.

Saily Web

Download the Saily app and install it comfortably at home before traveling abroad. Searching, downloading, and activating it abroad would require data. The app interface is simple and its use is intuitive. Familiarizing yourself with the app and how it works will save you stress upon arrival abroad. Once you have Saily installed, switching and connecting to a network operator abroad is possible immediately upon arrival.

The procedure is simple:

  1. Home preparation: Check if your mobile is compatible with eSIM technology.
  2. Home preparation: Download and install the Saily app, purchase a data package for your destination, and install the eSIM profile on your phone. (Note, do not activate the data package yet.)
  3. Upon arrival abroad: Switch the eSIM profile on your phone and activate the data package through the Saily app.

The exact procedure also depends on the model of your phone; we tested Saily on a Google Pixel 6a with the Android operating system. Check out our guide.

Home Preparation: Checking the Compatibility of Your Phone

Are you not sure if your phone allows the storage of eSIM profiles? You can check the compatibility of your phone directly on the device. For example, for the Google Pixel 6a, we searched for the “Network & internet” option in the settings. After clicking on the “SIMs” option, a screen opens that allows not only the addition of a traditional SIM card but also an eSIM (for example, by scanning a QR code from the eSIM provider).

Esim Service Saily 1

You can also check the compatibility of your device directly on the Saily website, in the offer detail for each country you will find a link “Check for eSIM compatibility”. By clicking on the link, a list of devices for which the service is available will be displayed.

Esim Service Saily 2

Home Preparation: Download and Install the Saily App, Purchase a Data Package for Your Destination, and Install the eSIM Profile

Download the Saily app from Google Play Store or App Store. Search for the app, install and open it. You will see a screen with buttons:

  • “Explore plans”, through which you can browse the Saily offerings, including available countries and data package prices, even without logging in.
  • “Log in or Sign up” to log into the app.
Esim Service Saily 3

We proceeded by first reviewing the data package offerings for various countries. We chose the basic 1 GB package for 7 days for Turkey. In the image, you first see the selected country Lesotho (Saily really covers exotic destinations too) and you can compare the pricing packages – for the same data volume, the Saily service for Turkey is cheaper than for Lesotho. Different countries have different packages and prices.

Esim Service Saily 4

After selecting the country and package, click the “Continue” button. The Saily app will prompt you to log in. You can log in using a Google account or Apple ID. I proceeded to select a payment method. Payment by card or Google Pay is available.

Esim Service Saily 5

It took about a minute for the payment to be verified, then a screen appeared with a message that the payment was successful. Using the “Check your eSIM plan” button, I moved to a screen from which it is possible to install the eSIM profile in the Saily app.

Esim Service Saily 6

After clicking the ‘Install eSIM’ button, the eSIM profile will be installed on your phone.

Esim Service Saily 7

The data package you have purchased is assigned to this eSIM profile. Do not activate the data package yet! It has a limited duration after activation. Activate it only after arriving abroad.

Upon Arrival Abroad: Switch the eSIM Profile on Your Phone, Activate the Data Package Through the Saily App

If you want to use the purchased Saily data package abroad, you need to take two steps:

  1. Activate the purchased data package. This step requires an internet connection. So, activate it somewhere with public Wi-Fi or, if you have prepaid roaming data, use that.
  2. Switch the eSIM profile on your phone.

Activating the data package in the Saily app is simple. The first icon in the bottom menu is eSIMs – list of profiles. It is possible to switch between profiles using indicator dots. The purchased data package is assigned to the profile and is activated by pressing the “Activate” button. From the moment of activation, the validity time starts counting down, so activate it only after arriving abroad. Activation requires an internet connection, for this step you must use either local Wi-Fi or roaming data.

Esim Service Saily 9

The system will notify you to review the settings and switch the eSIM profile. Switching the eSIM profile on Google Pixel 6a is possible through the “Network & internet” settings, under “SIMs”. After installing the Saily eSIM profile, an item named 1GLOBAL has been added to the list. It is currently inactive, but we can activate it by clicking and using the slider.

Esim Service Saily 8


A phone supporting eSIM technology allows you to set the purpose for which SIM cards are to be used. When you have both a physical SIM card and an eSIM active in your device, you can configure which SIM card should be used for voice calls, SMS, and which one for data services. The settings can vary slightly across different phone models. (Note: We did not have a traditional SIM card from a carrier inserted in the phone, otherwise it would also be listed.)

In the “Network & internet” menu, notice the “Calls & SMS” item. If we had a traditional SIM or an eSIM profile that also supports calls and SMS in the phone, through this option we would determine which SIM should be used for calls and SMS. Such a menu is available on the Google Pixel 6a, look for a similar assignment of SIM and eSIM in your phone and set which SIM card should be the default for calls and SMS and which SIM card for data transfers.

And that’s all, you can start browsing the internet!

If you’re having trouble with the settings, study the help section of Saily, the second item in the bottom menu of the app is Help – where detailed guides are available or also a chat with Customer Support. Customer support is available 24/7, they can guide you on how to set up the service on your phone.

Esim Service Saily 10

Managing Data Packages in Saily

If you use up the data in the package you purchased, the process of buying another package is very intuitive: Open the Saily app, click on eSIMs in the bottom menu, and in the selected profile, use the “Add Data” button to select another data package for that profile. Proceed as before, pay for it and activate it.

Esim Service Saily 11

Saily Pricing Policy

With Saily, it is not possible to make phone calls or send SMS, as Saily is only for data transfers. Data packages are characterized by the amount of data and the validity period. The prices of packages vary for different countries. The following images feature selected countries, with package prices valid as of the article’s publication date. Among the selected countries, France is the cheapest, while Costa Rica is the most expensive. The more exotic the destination, the higher the prices you can expect, but they are still very advantageous compared to roaming packages from mobile operators.

Roaming packages offered by mobile operators are often global, with countries divided into several tariff groups. Saily is more flexible, offering data packages for individual countries, and therefore it can afford much more advantageous prices.

Esim Service Saily 12

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Saily Service

Pros (+)Cons (-)
+ Global availability in over 150 countries.- Phone calls and SMS are not supported, only data packages.
    + Simple app with an intuitive interface, includes extensive help and chat with Customer Support.
    - Activation of the data package requires an internet connection.
    + Support for both Android and iOS.
    - Apple Pay cannot be used for payment yet, only card payment and Google Pay.
    + No hidden fees, package prices are clearly stated.
    + Support via live chat 24/7.
    + Mobile hotspot support.

    Summary and Conclusion

    eSIM technology allows easy switching between different SIM profiles. Newer smartphone models that support eSIM usually also allow the simultaneous use of two SIM profiles. It is a convenient solution: for example, one SIM for private purposes and another SIM for business. Travelers will also appreciate the option of having two SIMs, for instance, using a classic SIM card for calls and SMS, and an eSIM for data access. Check your phone’s settings to see if it supports eSIM and Dual SIM.

    We tested the Saily eSIM service. It offers various data packages in more than 150 countries at prices much more advantageous than roaming rates. Therefore, if you travel abroad and know you will need data, it is definitely worth using Saily. Although Saily does not allow calls or SMS, once connected to the internet, you can use your favorite messaging app to make calls and send messages through it.

    Saily has an intuitive interface and is easy to use. We recommend installing the app at home and purchasing a data package. This eliminates stress and the need for data to download and install the app. Once you arrive abroad, just turn on the eSIM profile in your phone settings and activate the data package. If you need help, customer support is available 24/7.

    5/5 - (1 vote)

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