How to top up an unlimited data eSIM


By Heather

Travel & Tech Writer

Topping up an unlimited data eSIM
While travellers love the concept of an unlimited data eSIM, sometimes they accidentally buy new eSIMs (and have to install each one) instead of simply adding new data packages to an eSIM that’s already installed and working.

We understand that topping up an eSIM is a little tricky, until you get used to it. (Our developers are working on a feature right now, coming out in a future release of the aloSIM app, that’s going to make it much clearer to know whether you should get a brand-new eSIM or top up an existing eSIM with more data.)

We’ve seen some of our customers end up with close to a dozen different eSIMs for the same country, when instead they just needed one eSIM with multiple data packages.

So think about your first eSIM (digital SIM card) as a drinking glass. Once you have a glass of water on the go, you can refill it with fresh water anytime you want. It’s the same water each time, but you’re reusing the glass for the same type of drink. (If you got a new glass for each water refill, that would be fine … but you’d end up with a lot of glasses everywhere.) But this glass is only for water.

Now imagine a second eSIM as a coffee mug. Once you’ve poured a cup of coffee, you can keep refilling your coffee mug all day. You don’t need to bother with a fresh coffee mug each time, since it’s all for coffee. Both your drinking glass and your coffee mug are for liquids, and can be used over and over. Except, you won’t put coffee in your water glass, and you won’t pour water in your coffee mug.

Each cup can be used for a specific type of drink, over and over. Exactly like the way each eSIM can be used for a single country/region, over and over.
Understanding how to top up an eSIM can prevent you from collecting too many eSIMs

Your data package comes with an eSIM

When you buy your first data package with an eSIM provider, it includes an eSIM (digital SIM card) for that location.

It’s impossible to use an eSIM data package without an eSIM card, because the card is what you need to connect to supported networks. (If you’re a Millennial or older, think of the eSIM as the VCR and the data package as the VHS tape.) Luckily, each data purchase an come with a free eSIM if you need it.

Example: I buy a 1GB/7-day Mexico data package from aloSIM. After purchase, I see the Mexico eSIM card in “My eSIMs,” loaded with 1GB of data. I tap the Mexico eSIM card, select “Install Your eSIM,” and follow the instructions to install the eSIM on my phone. Now it’s on there, and I can use the 1GB data package I just purchased. Awesome!

Your data package has an expiration

Once you activate your data package, the clock starts ticking, and it will run out due to time or data allowance.

Example: I’m having a great time in Mexico, using my 1GB/7-day data package from aloSIM. If I use every bit of data by the third day of my trip, my data package will expire because I’ve used the whole gig. If I conserve my data and only use a little each day, it will last the full seven days of my trip and expire on the seven-day mark.

Your eSIM never expires, so you can make it an unlimited data eSIM

Don’t delete your eSIM. You can keep it on your phone, even after that first data package expires.

As long as your eSIM remains installed on your phone, you can add new data packages to it anytime (as long as you have a Wi-Fi or data connection to complete the purchase). You can top it up over and over, making it an unlimited data eSIM.

(Then you won’t have to install a new eSIM)

Since you already have an eSIM for this location, it’s much easier to top it up (instead of getting a brand-new eSIM).

It would be confusing (and unnecessary) to have multiple eSIMs installed for a specific country, when they’re all going to do the same job. So why not save time by adding data to an existing, installed eSIM instead? Then you can skip the eSIM installation process for all future purchases.

Think of it this way: You buy a new coffee maker and it comes with some coffee pods. Once those pods are all used up, you can buy more coffee pods for the machine. You don’t need to re-buy the whole coffee machine each time, just to get some new coffee, because then you have the hassle of making room for it and setting it up. Eventually, if you kept buying new coffee machines for the exact same type of coffee, your countertop would be very crowded and you might not be sure which machine to use.

Travelling somewhere new? You’ll need a new eSIM

Each eSIM is specific to one location. Sometimes an eSIM is programmed for one country — like Mexico, or Canada, or the United States — and other times, it’s programmed for a whole region of countries — like our Europe eSIM that works in 32 different countries.

It’s best to use one eSIM per location

While nothing’s stopping you from getting a new eSIM card each time … it gets confusing!

If you open your aloSIM app and tap “Store” every time you want to buy data, even if it’s for countries where you already have an eSIM installed on your phone, things are going to get very confusing. Trust us! Keep things streamlined and maintain a single eSIM for each location, and keep those eSIMs installed (and custom labeled) on your phone so they’re always there when you need them.

What if I delete an eSIM?

eSIMs can only be installed once, and they can’t be recovered once they’ve been deleted. So if you accidentally (or on purpose) delete an eSIM on your phone, there’s no going back. (Whoa, didn’t mean for that to sound so dramatic!)

If you delete an eSIM on your phone, you should also archive your eSIM card within the aloSIM app. (Otherwise, you’ll still see it in your app, and you might accidentally top it up … and that won’t work.)

Once you’ve archived the eSIM, it basically disappears from your life and you won’t need to see it ever again. Now you’re free to tap “Store” and buy a NEW eSIM for that location, so you can start fresh. Even though you’ve had an unlimited data eSIM for this location before, you need to start over and install this new eSIM so it’s loaded onto your phone.

Topping up an unlimited data eSIM

1. Have one (1) eSIM per location, to avoid confusion.

If you accidentally wind up with multiple eSIMs and you’re not sure which ones are worth keeping, we can help you check to see which eSIMs are installed on your phone and working correctly, so you can keep those and scrap the others.

2. Archive any eSIMs you are no longer using.

When you know which eSIMs you won’t be using anymore, we’ll show you how to archive those eSIMs within your aloSIM app so they’re not hanging around in there, confusing you. Archiving them simply moves them to another screen where you won’t have to look at them.

3. Label any eSIMs installed on your device.

Since your phone would have given your eSIMs generic names during installation, it’s much clearer if you give your eSIM a custom label. This will make it easy to see which country/region each eSIM supports, and you’ll always know which unlimited data eSIM to use for data in different countries.

Need more data for the same country?

It’s fastest and easiest to add data to the eSIM you’re already using, as long as it’s still installed on your phone (and hasn’t been deleted).

1. Go to “My eSIMs” in your aloSIM app

2. Select your eSIM and hit “Top Up eSIM”

3. Purchase a new data package for your existing eSIM

4. Follow the instructions to activate the new data package

5. Make sure your eSIM is toggled on, and selected as your data source


Need data for a new location?

Each eSIM can only be used for one country/region, so you’ll need a new eSIM if you’re going to be visiting a new location.

1. Visit the aloSIM store and purchase any data package (it will come with a new eSIM)

2. Follow the instructions to install your new eSIM for this new country/region

3. Follow the instructions to activate the new data package

4. Make sure your new eSIM is toggled on, and selected as your data source

Not sure whether you should get a brand-new eSIM card, or add more data to an existing eSIM card? Our team is available via live chat 24/7 or via email (