How to get a Three eSIM and activate it

17 May 2024

How to get a Three eSIM and activate it

Contents list

  1. How do I get a Three eSIM?
  2. Which devices support eSIMs on Three?
  3. How do I set up an eSIM on my phone?
  4. Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The eSIM is the next generation of SIM card, and Three is one of a number of networks that offers them.

Unlike a conventional SIM card, eSIMs (also known as embedded SIMs) aren’t removable – instead, they’re built into your device, and if you change network you simply change the data written on them, rather than replacing the card.

This is a potentially faster and slicker process, and eSIMs also take up less space, allow you to store multiple numbers on your device, and are harder to lose than normal SIM cards, so there are lots of good reasons to get one. So if you’d like to get a Three eSIM, here’s how to do it.

How do I get a Three eSIM?

All Three Your Way customers are eligible for eSIMs. That means customers who signed up for a Pay Monthly phone, tablet, or SIM Only plan since the 30th of January 2023. These plans will be called either Lite, Value, or Complete (though were previously known as Standard, Plus, or Premium). If in doubt, you can find out what plan type you have by checking on your Three account online, under the ‘Plan’ heading.

You can also get an eSIM on Pay As You Go, but you’ll have to call Three or visit one of the network’s stores to do so.

You also need a device that supports eSIMs of course. For everyone other than Pay As You Go customers, the process then is as follows:

Step 1.

Sign up for a Three Your Way plan if you haven’t already – making sure the device you choose supports eSIM. You can request an eSIM during checkout if buying a device that supports one. For SIM Only, you’ll initially get a removable SIM card (there is an eSIM toggle during checkout but in our tests this is greyed out at the time of writing).

SIM Only Deals

Triple SIM

Micro SIM card
3GB Data
Unlimited Mins
Unlimited Texts
£5.00 a month
12 month contract
£5.00 a month
Exclusive deal

Triple SIM

Micro SIM card
8GB Data
Unlimited Mins
Unlimited Texts
£7.00 a month
12 month contract
£7.00 a month

Triple SIM

Micro SIM card
30GB Data
Unlimited Mins
Unlimited Texts
£8.00 a month
12 month contract
£8.00 a month

Step 2.

If you have a removable SIM card, contact Three to request a switch to an eSIM by calling 333 from your Three phone or 0333 338 1001 from any other phone. You can also do this in a Three retail store.

Step 3.

Scan the eSIM QR code you receive and type in the confirmation code that Three gave you. Your eSIM should then activate instantly, but in some cases it can take up to seven hours.

Which devices support eSIMs on Three?

Three directs customers to its device support pages to check whether a given device works with eSIM or not. However, if you’re buying a device direct from Three then you’ll also have the option to select an eSIM during checkout if the device is compatible.

In general, if a phone has an eSIM it will likely work with Three’s eSIM service. Phones with an eSIM include the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max, along with many older iPhones.

You can also get an eSIM with the Samsung Galaxy S24, Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S24 UltraSamsung Galaxy Z Fold 5Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5Google Pixel 8Google Pixel 8 ProSony Xperia 1 VSony Xperia 10 V, and numerous other handsets. eSIMs work with select tablets and smartwatches too.

For more information on which devices work with eSIM, check out our main eSIM guide.

How do I set up an eSIM on my phone?

Three will send you two emails with all the details you need for your eSIM, including a QR code in one and a confirmation code in the other.

First, head to your device’s settings screen and scan the QR code. The exact part of the settings menu you need to be in will vary depending on your handset and software, but on iPhone you will likely have to got to ‘Mobile Service’ then ‘Add eSIM,’ followed by ‘Use QR Code’.

On Pixel head to ‘Network and Internet’ > ‘Mobile Network’ > ‘Download a SIM Instead,’ and on other Android devices it will be something along the lines of ‘Connections’ > ‘SIM Card Manager’ > ‘Add Mobile Plan’ > ‘Scan Carrier QR Code’.

Then type in the confirmation code that Three sent you, and your eSIM will activate. Usually it will activate instantly, but it can take up to seven hours.

You’ll find more detailed instructions for setting up an eSIM on different brands of phone on Three’s eSIM support page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Three plans support eSIM?

All of Three’s Your Way Plans support eSIM, as long as you also have a compatible device. Pay As You Go plans also support eSIM, and Three is working to bring support for eSIM to all of its plans.

Will activating a Three eSIM lock my phone to Three?

No, Three doesn’t lock phones and using an eSIM won’t change that.

How do I transfer an eSIM to a new phone?

To transfer an eSIM to a new phone, just get in touch with Three (either in store or by calling 333 from your Three phone or 0333 338 1001 from another phone). You’ll be given a new eSIM QR code to scan on your new phone, in the same way as you set your eSIM up the first time.

Can I switch from a physical SIM to an eSIM or vice versa?

Yes, as long as you’re on a Three Your Way plan or Pay As You Go. Just ask Three to switch you, either by calling 333 from your Three phone or 0333 338 1001 from another phone, or by heading in to a Three retail store.

If you’re not sure whether you’re on a Three Your Way plan, check under the ‘Plan’ heading on your Three account – if you have a Three Your Way plan it will be labelled as Lite, Value, or Complete, (or possibly Standard, Plus, or Premium if you’ve had the plan for a while).

Do I need to buy my phone from Three to use a Three eSIM with it?

No, any phone with an eSIM should work with Three’s eSIM. But if in doubt, check directly with Three about the device you have, or take a look at Three’s device support pages.

Can eSIMs be used abroad?

Yes, eSIMs work just like normal SIM cards so they can be used abroad too. But just like normal SIM cards you’ll be subject to the roaming terms of your network.

Can I access 5G with an eSIM?

Yes, if your device is 5G compatible then you’ll still get 5G if using an eSIM.

Which other networks offer eSIMs?

As well as Three, you can also get eSIMs on EE, O2Vodafone, Lyca Mobile, Giffgaff, Honest Mobile, iD Mobile, ParentShield, Sky Mobile, Spusu, and Tesco Mobile.

What happens if I erase my eSIM?

If you erase your eSIM then you’ll need to contact Three for a new QR code to reactivate it. You can do this by calling 333 from your Three phone, 0333 338 1001 from another phone, or by heading to a Three store. Then just set up your eSIM again, in the same way as you did originally.

James Rogerson
About James Rogerson

Editorial Manager

James has been writing for us for over 10 years. Currently, he is Editorial Manager for our group of companies ( 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk) and sub-editor at TechRadar. He specialises in smartphones, mobile networks/ technology, tablets, and wearables.

In the past, James has also written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media, Smart TV Radar, and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV. He has a film studies degree from the University of Kent, Canterbury, and has over a decade’s worth of professional writing experience.

View more posts by James Rogerson >

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