Google Fi MVNO

Last month, Google started letting new MVNO subscribers with iPhones set-up cellular service over eSIM. Google Fi is now starting to roll out eSIM support to existing members using iOS devices.

Similar to the experience offered on Pixel devices, existing Fi subscribers with iPhones can replace their physical nano-SIM card with a downloadable eSIM. This capability is tied to version 2.5 of the Google Fi companion app, which rolled out yesterday. The release notes mention how “You can now activate Fi via eSIM on select iPhone devices.”

Officially, this functionality has not yet rolled out, but several users have got it working by first uninstalling the Fi app. After reinstalling and signing in, they’re prompted about switching to eSIM and freeing up the phone’s physical slot.

If you want to keep your SIM slot free so you can use dual-SIM technology, download your SIM instead.

Users are then sent to where they visit Settings > Cellular > Add Cellular Plans on their iPhone to scan a QR code. Other steps in the process deal with setting up data and MMS.

Besides freeing up the physical slot for dual SIM use cases when abroad, this will simplify the process of setting up new phones in the future.

The official help document still notes how “iOS eSIM activation only works for new users who sign up for Google Fi.” Since last month, the site has been updated to add the 2020 iPhone SE to the list of iOS devices that support eSIM: iPhone XR, XS, XS Max, and 11 series. Once officially rolled out, the process will hopefully be simplified to not require deleting/reinstalling the Fi app.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: