Telstra eSIM vs Optus eSIM: What’s the difference?

Digital SIM wars.

January 24, 2022
2 min read

Telstra and Optus are big rivals when it comes to all things telecommunications. The duo battle over the best phone plans. They war over the best NBN plans. And they also brawl over other forms of internet. So it should come as no surprise that when it comes to the newfangled eSIM craze, there are some differences between the duo (even if those differences aren’t as big as you might think).

Essential info
Info Box
What is an eSIM?

An eSIM is a digital replacement for a physical SIM card. Many newer-model smartphones are eSIM compatible, but you need an eSIM provider to use the function, which also frees up your physical SIM card for converting your phone into an ad hoc dual-SIM phone. In Australia, Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Gomo support eSIMs. Those signing up for an eSIM plan can choose from the same range of options than those using physical SIM cards.

Photograph of an elderly woman looknig longingly upon a photograph of her old SIM card

eSIM devices

Telstra vs Optus

Before you can even dive into an eSIM mobile plan, you’re going to need an eSIM-compatible handset. Telstra puts the responsibility back on you to ensure you have a device with an “eSIM symbol” to confirm its eSIM compatibility.

That’s not overly helpful, Telstra. Thankfully, Optus offers a list of eSIM-compatible devices to use as a guide:

Apple eSIM devices

  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone 11/11 Pro generation
  • iPhone SE
  • iPhone 12/12 Pro generation
  • iPhone 13/13 Pro generation
  • iPad Pro (2020)
  • iPad (8th and 9th gen)

Samsung eSIM devices

  • Samsung Galaxy Fold
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 5G generation
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 5G generation
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 5G generation

Google eSIM devices

  • Google Pixel 4/4 XL
  • Google Pixel 5

Though that list is helpful, it’s not an exhaustive breakdown of eSIM-compatible phones and other devices. The bottom line is you should check with Optus or Telstra before signing up if you’re interested in using an eSIM for your device.

eSIM plans

Telstra vs Optus

Remember that the main difference between an eSIM and a SIM card is one is digital and the other is physical, which means there aren’t any differences in the plans you can sign up for.

Below is a daily updating list of popular Telstra mobile plans that support eSIM:

And below is a list of popular Optus mobile plans that support eSIM:

eSIM setup

Telstra vs Optus

are thankfully straightforward. Here’s what you need to do to prep your eSIM-compatible handset for use with Telstra:

  1. Connect your eSIM-compatible handset to WiFi for configuration.
  2. Now use the camera on your device to scan the Telstra eSIM Card’s QR code. Follow the prompts to finalise configuration.
  3. For manual prep on an iOS device, head to Settings on your device. Go to Mobile and then ‘Add Mobile Plan’. Scan the Telstra eSIM Card’s QR code and follow the setup prompts.
  4. For manual prep on an Android device, head to Settings, then ‘Network & Internet’ and finally ‘Mobile Network’. On this page, scan the Telstra eSIM Card’s QR code and follow the configuration prompts.
  5. If your Telstra eSIM isn’t already activated, head to the Telstra activation page to start using mobile services.

And here are the steps to take with an eSIM-compatible device for use with Optus:

  1. Connect your eSIM-compatible handset to WiFi for configuration.
  2. Download and install the My Optus app. Log in with your account credentials, then select ‘More’ from the main menu. Go to ‘eSIM’ and ‘Set up my eSIM’.
  3. Follow the prompts, selecting ‘Download eSIM’ followed by ‘Confirm’ and ‘Add Mobile Plan’. Finally, tap ‘Continue’ to download your eSIM.
  4. Activate and deactivate flight mode on your eSIM-compatible device, or restart it to activate the Optus service.
  5. For a streamlined alternative, just scan the QR Optus code Optus provides and tap on the link that pops up.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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