eSIM & SIM Card Options from Airalo & Andorra Telecom

eSIM & SIM Card Options from Airalo & Andorra Telecom

Caio Kondo

Written by: Caio Kondo

Bookings Director, Andorra Escapes

Jase Rodley

Reviewed by: Jase Rodley

Content Director, Andorra Escapes

Last updated: May 29, 2024

If you’re coming to visit us here in Andorra for a ski holiday, connectivity is probably the last thing on your mind.

“You have internet, right?”

Yes, we do. In fact, there’s a lot of free WiFi throughout the country. But of course, when you really need it, you can be sure that you’ll be just too far out of range.

For most people though, roaming costs within Andorra’s borders aren’t going to be cheap; data and calls are both expensive here. That said, there are solutions and workarounds.

In this article, we’ll walk you through both eSIM and SIM card options provided by Airalo and Andorra Telecom, so you can get connected as soon as you enter the country!

Understanding SIM and eSIMs

The traditional SIM card, a staple in mobile connectivity, has met a formidable challenger in the form of the eSIM. No more queuing at cellular shops and waiting hours before you can use your new number.

Even though eSIM technology at its core is the same as physical SIM cards, it’s executed differently. While traditional SIM cards require physical handling and swapping, the eSIM resides within your device, waiting to be activated digitally.

This represents a leap in convenience, especially for international travellers. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each below.

Physical SIM: Don’t Lose It!

Physical SIM cards have stood the test of time, consistently providing a dependable method for authenticating subscribers on mobile networks for decades. Despite their obvious advantages, they do have some quirks that many people don’t love. For instance:

Physical SIM card
  • Physical nature: Must be inserted into the device
  • Swap and change: Needs to be changed when switching carriers
  • Risk of loss or damage: Annoying retrieval process in case you lose the card

Despite the drawbacks of having to jump through hoops while switching networks and the risk of losing your SIM card, physical SIMs do have significant advantages in the following scenarios:

  • You’re accustomed to using a dumb phone while out on an adventure
  • You carry a burner Android for navigation or as a hotspot slave
  • You switch devices often
  • You tend to drop your phone and break the screen very often

If any of that sounds familiar, you’re going to need at least one physical SIM card.

eSIM: Old Dog, New Tricks

eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a welcome addition to every traveller’s tech horde. If your phone doesn’t support it and you travel a lot, consider switching. Staying connected in new countries is a lot easier with these; just download an app, sign up, and pay. You’re all set.

Beats having to find brick-and-mortar cellular shops and faffing around with that pesky SIM tray. If you’ve ever had to improvise or DIY a SIM ejector tool in the middle of nowhere you know the struggle.

It’s worth noting that most phones with eSIM tech also have a physical SIM slot. If, for any reason, you prefer to switch between eSIM and physical SIM cards, you can do so, unless you use an iPhone 14 or 15 that was originally purchased in the United States. Here are some of its top advantages:

  • Digital integration: Pre-installed in the device
  • On-the-go activation: Can be activated remotely with various carriers
  • Immediate activation: No need to wait for the carrier to activate your new sim

Andorra Telecom’s Options

Andorra Telecom HQ

Andorra Telecom steps into the future with its eSIM offerings, providing a seamless connectivity experience for those within its borders. They offer a prepaid option, meaning you can control your spending and top up your plan as and when needed.

It’s worth noting that these are only useful within Andorra. If you’re getting a transfer from Barcelona to Andorra, or a bus from Toulouse, you may be better off with Airalo’s plan.

Remember to clarify any doubts you might have regarding the eSIM activation process, pricing, and terms of service with Andorra Telecom before going ahead. Below you’ll find some of the basics you should be aware of.

Device Compatibility

First things first, before obtaining an Andorra Telecom eSIM, you’ve got to ensure that your phone supports eSIM technology in the first place. Once that’s done, you may contact Andorra Telecom to explore options. Generally, with this provider, you can expect:

  • Wide device support: Compatible with most eSIM-enabled devices
  • Easy switching: Effortless transition between plans or carriers

Obtaining an Andorra Telecom eSIM

Reach out to Andorra Telecom through their official website, customer service hotline, or visit one of their physical locations. Inquire about their eSIM plans and activation process; they will provide you with all the latest information.

You may need to provide personal information and documentation to Andorra Telecom to activate your eSIM. This could include your identification documents, contact details, and possibly proof of address. You can do this in one of the following ways:

  • Online activation: Available for setup before or upon arrival.
  • In-store support: Assistance in-person for travellers needing extra help.

Data Plans and Pricing

Next up is choosing your data plan. You probably have a rough idea of how many gigs of mobile data you need daily and how your usage pattern might change while on vacation.

Depending on those factors you can choose a data plan that best serves your usage scenario. The following benefits can be expected:

  • Flexible options: Plans start at €9 per month, with 1GB of data.
  • Transparent costs: Clear pricing without hidden fees.

Once you’ve chosen your plan and provided the necessary information, Andorra Telecom will activate your eSIM. This process may involve scanning a QR code provided by Andorra Telecom or through an activation link sent to you via email or SMS.

Using an Airalo eSIM in Andorra

Airalo mobile application

Although Andorra Telecom is the national telecommunications provider of Andorra, Airalo is what most tourists seem to prefer owing to its partnership with multiple telecommunications providers worldwide.

Airalo offers a compelling alternative with its eSIM solutions tailored for the global traveller venturing into Andorra. Its distinct edge lies in its expansive reach; unlike Andorra Telecom, which offers coverage limited to the country, Airalo’s “Eurolink” package delivers data services across 39 European countries.

Airalo’s Edge

With Airalo, users can purchase and activate eSIM plans through their website or mobile app, providing a streamlined experience.

The flexibility of using the same number in multiple European countries combined with tailored plans makes Airlao a strong contender. This is especially true for people who travel across the continent frequently and don’t wish to switch providers often. Our favourite features include:

  • Instant access: Purchase and activate your eSIM in minutes.
  • User-friendly platform: Simple interface for managing your plans.

Plans and Value

While Andorra Telecom offers eSIM plans tailored specifically for use within the country, Airalo provides a broader range of plans, including options for international travellers, with different data allowances, validity periods, and pricing structures. Features include:

  • Customised plans: Plans start from only $5 for 7 days, up to $185 for 180 days. Use this link to get a discount on your first eSIM from Airalo.
  • Competitive pricing: A similar 30-day plan from Andorra Telecom is $13 and will give you 3GB of data.

Support and Accessibility

Andorra Telecom offers customer support services tailored to its local market, including in-person assistance at physical locations, which may appeal to a certain type of customer.

Airlao, on the other hand, provides customer support through its online channels, including email and live chat support, catering to a global audience of travellers. Expect:

  • 24/7 customer service: Assistance whenever you need it.
  • Broad compatibility: Works with a wide array of smartphones and tablets.

Andorra’s SIM Card Situation: FAQs

Snapchat app in landscape mode on an iPhone 7

Getting connected here in Andorra often raises several questions for travellers. We’ve tried to answer some of the more common questions from your fellow travellers.

How Do I Get a Prepaid SIM Card for Andorra?

Prepaid SIM cards can be purchased either online or upon your arrival in Andorra. For expedience and ease, it is advisable to order one before your travels, ensuring immediate internet access once you land.

If that isn’t possible, drop by their shop in Andorra la Vella, and check out the Salvador Dalí clock while you do!

Which Is the Better SIM Card Provider?

Android phone app drawer

The optimal SIM card provider for you depends on a blend of factors, including cost, data allowance, and network reliability.

Andorra Telecom will be the most reliable while you’re within the country, though you’ll pay a tiny premium for that. Comparatively, Airalo is a winner if your current SIM card doesn’t provide cheap roaming data for Spain or France.

Airport WiFi can be unreliable in both countries and often your bus to Andorra will lose connectivity. If you need data outside of Andorra as well, Airalo is an obvious choice.

SIM vs eSIM: Which Is Right for Andorra?

The choice between a SIM and an eSIM in Andorra depends largely on your device’s capabilities and your connectivity requirements.

eSIMs offer a digital convenience that is hard to surpass, particularly for those with compatible devices, while traditional SIM cards provide the familiarity and physical control some users prefer.

Staying Connected in the Pyrenees

A hiker looking for network

The decision between an Andorra Telecom SIM card or an Airalo eSIM will depend on personal needs, device compatibility, and the nature of your visit.

The good news is that both providers offer an amazing solution to keep you connected in Andorra, whether you’re hiking in the mountains off-piste in search of fresh powder.