The environmental benefits of using eSIM vs SIM cards
October 19, 2023

The environmental benefits of using eSIM vs SIM cards

A SIM card contains a unique serial number, as well as an integrated circuit card identification (ICCID), an international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number, security authentication and ciphering information, temporary information related to the local network, plus a list of the services the user has access to, and four passwords: a personal identification number (PIN) for ordinary use, a personal unblocking key (PUK) for PIN unlocking as well as a second pair (called PIN2 and PUK2 respectively) which are used for managing fixed dialing number and other functionality. In Europe, the serial SIM number (SSN) is sometimes accompanied by an international article number (IAN) or a European article number (EAN) required when registering online for the subscription of a prepaid card. It is also possible to store contact information on many SIM cards, which can be helpful if switching SIM cards between different devices, such as smart watches, computers, or cameras.

In the beginning SIM cards were the size of credit cards and their technology and capacity has increased greatly. Although sizes were reduced several times over the years their sustainable impact has remained stagnant.  

Each time a user needs to exchange a SIM card due to changing the mobile network operator, or because of damaging or losing a SIM card, the plastic waste increases. 

Some SIM card producers started using more eco-friendly plastic and while that is a better option, it is even more sustainable by making the whole process digital. SIM cards contribute to plastic waste not only with the production itself, but also with the distribution and disposal when switching devices or changing service providers. 

eSIM replaces traditional, removable SIM cards with an embedded SIM chip, therefore eliminating the need for extra plastic cards. Instead of using physical SIM cards, which typically come with extra packaging like plastic wrap or hard plastic covers for protection, eSIM allows for digitally loading SIM data anywhere around the globe instantly. 

Using eSIM (embedded SIM) offers several environmental benefits, as it reduces the need for physical SIM cards and associated materials (less waste), while also enabling more efficient management of mobile devices. Here are some of the key environmental advantages of eSIM:

Users can switch carriers without purchasing a new SIM card, which reduces the number of physical cards being manufactured and shipped. You can activate your eSIM from anywhere, without actually going to a provider or a store, thus reducing travel related emissions. By using eSIM, you not only save time and avoid the hassle of finding the right size, you also create less waste, which is great for the environment by generating less CO₂. Any time there was a change or update from a provider you had to replace the SIM card and therefore generated more waste. With eSIM, you can download the update or switch plans without purchasing an actual plastic card. There is no need to travel to an actual store, or order it online and then wait for the package to arrive, which is wrapped in more bulky, plastic packages.

With the use of eSIM you can roam around the world and avoid high roaming costs. You could purchase a physical SIM card in the country you are traveling to, but you need to find a location for a distributor. At the end of your trip you will most likely throw the SIM card away and generate more waste. 

eSIM offers you not only cost and environmental benefits. You can activate eSIM directly on your device without having to drive to a store or wait for a SIM card to be mailed. You no longer have to figure out the correct SIM card size or struggle to insert it into the device.

With the use of eSIM you no longer have to swap out multiple SIM cards if you want  to change plans. You can simply do that in your settings, directly on your device. 

With an eSIM from Red Bull MOBILE you will be covered in over 60 countries and never have to worry about running out of data.

How does an eSIM from Red Bull MOBILE work? 

First, check if your system is compatible with eSIM. 

Download the Red Bull MOBILE Data app to see if your device is eSim compatible. You can also check if your smartphone is supported by looking up the settings:

iOS devices: Go to Settings > Mobile Data or Cellular Data, if you have the Add Mobile Plan or Add Data Plan option, your iPhone supports eSIMs.

Supported devices include iPhone XS, XR and newer models

Android devices: Go to Settings > Connections > SIM card manager. If you have the “Add mobile plan” option, your smartphone supports eSIMs.

The majority of newer Android smartphones are supported including the Samsung Galaxy S20 or newer models, Google Pixel 3 or newer models, Huawei P40 and many more.

Once you have checked if your system is compatible you will then set up your eSIM.

Start the app and follow the instructions to set up an eSIM on your smartphone.

After your eSIM is set up you will select your destination and your bundle.

Choose the plan that suits you best and buy your USA eSIM card directly in the app. The first 100MB are completely free of charge!

When your plan is activated you can roam the world and surf like a local.

Your physical SIM will stay connected and your Red Bull MOBILE eSIM will too — they work simultaneously. You can select which of the two SIMs you want to use for data connectivity in your settings.

You can switch between different subscription profiles on your device by simply selecting the desired profile in the device’s settings. This change can be made without a physical SIM card swap.

This is a data-only plan, so there’s no need for a new phone number.

The eSIM from Red Bull MOBILE is very easy to use, but if you have questions or experience technical issues you can reach us by email or our 24 hour chat support, directly on our website. We’re here to help.

When you’ve used up 80% of your data, we’ll let you know — so you won’t get stuck without any data. You’ll get another notification once your data has finally run out.

Using eSIM with the Red Bull MOBILE Data App for roaming offers several advantages compared to traditional physical SIM cards. Data roaming has become much easier, more efficient and cost-effective with the use of eSIM. 

Download the app and activate your eSIM before you start your trip and have instant internet connection the moment you arrive at your destination. This way you can send and post pictures of your amazing trip instantly and make phone calls via WhatsApp, Google Voice, Facebook Messenger and other apps. 


Get the Red Bull MOBILE Data App now

and be the first to experience the most convenient way of staying connected while traveling.