Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in hand

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • US owners of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra can now use eSIM.
  • They must, however, be running the One UI 4.0 beta.
  • Carrier activation requires scanning a QR code.

US owners of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra can now take advantage of eSIM support, though only if they’re signed up to get Samsung beta updates.

The option rolled out alongside the first beta of One UI 4.0 for the US and Europe, says Android Central. eSIM lets people activate phone service without a physical SIM card, which can be especially convenient when traveling internationally. Samsung’s approach does require scanning a carrier QR code, which may block some prepaid plans.

See also: What is eSIM, who’s got it, and why should you care?

eSIM has been mentioned in the official Galaxy S21 FAQ for some time. It’s not clear why Samsung has been slow to adopt it, and indeed Google’s Pixel phones have had eSIM since 2017.

One likely factor is cost — while eSIM support is relatively cheap to implement, it still adds to a phone’s bill of materials, and most phone buyers can get away with a conventional SIM card. In fact the first SIM cards date back to 1991, meaning the technology is cheap and ubiquitous.