Shanghai eSIM from $0.80: Guide to Usage, Providers, Prices & More

Author's Profile Picture

by Bethy

Shanghai eSIM guide provides all you need to know about using an eSIM card in China (especially in Shanghai), including a comparison of the best options for 2024.

Having recently traveled to Shanghai, I understand the frustrations of dealing with internet censorship in China firsthand. However, with a China eSIM card, you can overcome these challenges and enjoy unlimited data plans.

Say goodbye to high roaming charges by ordering your eSIM card online and getting connected within minutes. Keep reading for updated prices and specifications for each eSIM card as of May 2024.

Shanghai 4G LTE VPN
  • CoverageChina
  • Package Option500MB/Day
  • Number of Days1 Day
  • PriceUSD 0.81
Shanghai 4G LTE VPN
  • CoverageChina
  • Package Option1GB/Day
  • Number of Days10 Days
  • PriceUSD 8.75
Shanghai 4G LTE VPN
  • CoverageChina
  • Package Option1GB/Day
  • Number of Days15 Days
  • PriceUSD 13.50

What is an eSIM exactly?

An eSIM, or digital SIM card, is built into your device without needing a physical card. You can activate it easily by scanning a QR code online, allowing you to access mobile data plans from different countries.

How Does a Shanghai eSIM Work in China?

A Shanghai eSIM operates like a regular SIM card but is all digital. You set it up using a QR code from your service provider, which lets you use the internet and make calls just like normal.

Shanghai eSIMs can have multiple phone numbers and networks at once, making them handy for travelers who want to save money and avoid changing phone numbers.

Most new smartphones, including the latest iPhones and Androids, now support Shanghai eSIMs. Shanghai eSIMs can be used in all cities in China.

Top Shanghai, China eSIM Providers

ProviderData PlanDurationPrice (USD)
Trip.com500MB/Day1 day$0.85
1GB/Day3 days$2.99
1GB/Day5 days$4.99
1GB/Day7 days$6.99
1GB/Day10 days$9.95
1GB/Day15 days$15.50
500MB/Day30 days$21.50
Airalo1GB7 days$5.00
2GB15 days$8.50
3GB30 days$11.50
10GB30 days$28.00
20GB30 days$49.00
SimOptions1GB7 days$7.90
3GB5 days$9.90
5GB7 days$14.90
10GB15 days$21.90
Nomad1GB7 days$4.00
3GB30 days$7.00
5GB30 days$10.00
20GB30 days$23.00 China eSIM

Package DetailsOptionStandard Price
500MB/Day, High Speed Data1 day$0.85
1GB/Day, High Speed Data3 days$2.99
5 days$4.99
7 days$6.99
10 days$9.95
15 days$15.50
500MB/Day, High Speed Data30 days$21.50's China eSIM presents so many of cheap and high-speed data plans, catering to travelers visiting China, particularly Shanghai. These plans cover major cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, etc. Carefully crafted to cater diverse travel needs, each plan maintains best pricing and service quality across China.

Opting for any of's China eSIM packages grants you access to a QR code swiftly, streamlining the setup process for quick connectivity within minutes—ideal for activation even amidst the hustle of airport arrivals. With durations spanning from one day to 30 days and data allowances ranging from 500MB to unlimited, ensures flexibility and affordability for every traveler. Prices start at a mere $0.93 for a one-day 500MB plan, extending up to $44.64 for a 30-day unlimited high speed data plan.

Operating on a robust 4G LTE network,'s eSIM ensures instant internet connectivity across China. With's China eSIM, you can confidently stay connected throughout their journey, enjoying fast and reliable internet access wherever they go in China.

Airalo China eSIM

Here are eSIM plans offered by Airalo for Shanghai China:

Data PlanDurationPrice (USD)
1 GB7 days$5.00
2 GB15 days$8.50
3 GB30 days$11.50
5 GB30 days$16.50
10 GB30 days$28.00
20 GB30 days$49.00

Airalo offers a variety of eSIM plans for China, with options ranging from 1GB for 7 days at $5 USD to 20GB for 30 days at $49 USD. While these plans may seem appealing, the data allocations provided are notably insufficient data for many users, especially considering the increasing demand for data-intensive activities such as video streaming and social media usage. For instance, managing with only 1GB for 7 days or 2GB for 15 days can be quite challenging for travelers who rely heavily on mobile data during their trips. Additionally, the costly pricing may not offer the best value for money, as the cost per gigabyte per day can be relatively high compared to other options in the market.

One notable drawback of Airalo's eSIM plans for China is the lack of flexibility in duration options. Unlike some competitors that offer a wider range of validity periods, such as one day, three days, or even shorter increments, Airalo restricts users to predefined durations of 7, 15, or 30 days. This limitation can be inconvenient for travelers with specific itinerary needs, as they may not always require data coverage for the exact duration offered by Airalo's plans.

Overall, while Airalo's eSIM plans for China offer competitive options with reasonable prices and reliable network coverage through China Unicom's 4G/LTE network, they may not be suitable for all travelers due to their very limited data, relatively high cost per gigabyte, and lack of flexibility in duration options.

SimOptions China eSIM

SimOptions is renowned for its reliable eSIM cards. Let's delve into SimOptions' eSIM plans for Shanghai, China:

Data PlanDurationPrice (USD)
1 GB7 days$7.90
3 GB5 days$9.90
5 GB7 days$14.90
10 GB15 days$21.90

SimOptions offers many data plans for China, with options ranging from 1GB to 20GB. Notably, the 5GB plan stands out at $14.90 USD. However, limitations exist, such as the short validity period of 7 to 15 days, which may not suit long-term travelers.

Additionally, while some plans provide ample data for regular usage, heavy data consumers may find them insufficient, especially considering the high cost per gigabyte. SimOptions does not disclose the specific mobile network operator used in China, nor do they indicate 5G readiness, potentially impacting data speeds.

Moreover, SimOptions Chinna eSIMs lack phone number provision and do not support call or SMS services, limiting their functionality. Despite these drawbacks, SimOptions' eSIM cards remain a viable option for travelers seeking convenient connectivity in China.

Nomad China eSIM

Here are the eSIM plans offered by Nomad for Shanghai, China:

Data PlanDurationPrice (USD)
1 GB7 days$4.00
3 GB30 days$7.00
5 GB30 days$10.00
10 GB30 days$13.00
15 GB30 days$21.00
20 GB30 days$23.00

Nomad's eSIM cards for China, provided by eSIM Go, are data-only and operate on the China Unicom network. Notably, they are 5G ready, providing compatibility with the latest network technology. Despite being relatively cheaper than options like Airalo and SimOptions, Nomad's plans are still more costly than alternatives such as's eSIM offerings. For example, managing with only 1GB of data for 7 days may prove challenging for many travelers. Nomad eSIM duration plans are also too limited only 7 days or 30 days.

Additionally, while Nomad's plans offer reasonable prices compared to some competitors, users should carefully consider their data usage needs and compare plans to ensure they select the most suitable option for their travel requirements. It's important to note that Nomad's eSIM cards must be installed within 30 days of purchase, and their validity begins upon the first network connection in China. Furthermore, these eSIMs do not support incoming or outgoing calls and SMS services.

Which Works Better in Shanghai, China? eSIM, SIM card, or Wi-Fi router

eSIMNo risk of loss or damage
Easy to set up
Can be used immediately upon arrival
Limited number of smartphones can be used
Phone number cannot be used
SIM cardNo need to charge
Not bulky
Many plans available
Setup required
Need pin
Requires SIM-free phone
Wi-Fi routerCan be used immediately upon arrival
Can be shared by multiple people
Can be connected to multiple devices
Worried about charge life
Difficulty in receiving and delivering

How to Use Shanghai, China eSIM?

How to Use Shanghai, China eSIM?

Check Device eSIM compatibility

Please check if your phone can be used with eSIM before purchasing an eSIM product. Check eSIM Compatibility.

How to Download:

  1. Open the eSIM activation email.
  2. Find and display the eSIM activation QR code in the email.
  3. On your mobile phone, go to Settings.
  4. For iOS devices, open Cellular; for Android devices, open SIM Card Management.
  5. Click to add a Cellular Plan (iOS) or SIM Card (Android).
  6. Agree to download the Cellular Plan (iOS) or SIM Card (Android).
  7. Use your mobile phone to scan the QR code to download.

How to Use Internet

  1. After the download is successful, close the primary card if you already have one.
  2. Enable the Cellular Plan (iOS) or SIM Card (Android).
  3. Look for the LTE logo displayed in the upper right corner to confirm successful activation.
  4. Turn on roaming to connect to the network and surf the internet normally.
  5. If there's no network after enabling, turn on airplane mode, then turn it off, or restart the phone.

How to Close

  1. Open Cellular (iOS) or SIM Card Management (Android).
  2. Click to turn off the Cellular Plan (iOS) or SIM Card (Android). (The steps of enabling and disabling are the same.)

If you encounter any problems during use, please email us at for consulting service.

Which Phones Support eSIM?

Please check if your phone can be used with eSIM before purchasing an eSIM product.

Which Phones Support Shanghai eSIM?

3 Benefits of Shanghai, China eSIM

3 benefits of using China eSIM

1. Can be used immediately upon arrival in China

One of the major benefits of eSIM is that you can smoothly access the internet from the moment you land at the airport when visiting China. With conventional SIM cards, you needed time to purchase them at the airport shop or receive the SIM card you ordered in advance. However, by downloading eSIM in advance, you can connect to the network as soon as you get off the plane.

This allows you to efficiently proceed with your travel, such as arranging taxis or guiding you to your hotel.

2. No risk of loss or damage

Conventional SIM cards are very small and require careful handling. Especially when replacing them during your trip, the risk of loss or damage increases. On the other hand, eSIM does not have a physical shape, so there is no need to worry about loss or damage. There is no need to go through the trouble of opening the SIM tray with a small pin or worry about accidentally dropping the SIM card.

3. Dual SIM is possible

By utilizing eSIM, you can use dual SIM. Dual SIM allows you to use two networks on one smartphone. This allows you to smoothly switch network environments when moving from Japan to overseas or from overseas to Japan. By having dual SIM, you don't have to go through the hassle of contracting the internet environment every time you visit multiple countries.

3 Disadvantages of Shanghai, China eSIM

3 disadvantages of using China eSIM

1. Limited device compatibility

To use eSIM, you need a smartphone or tablet that supports eSIM. Newer models are becoming compatible with eSIM, but older models or some mid to low-priced devices cannot use eSIM. This means that you will need to check whether your current device can use eSIM or not, which can be a hassle. If you need to purchase a new device to use eSIM, you also need to consider the associated costs.

2. Cannot be used on multiple devices

Conventional SIM cards can be easily switched between devices. Therefore, you can use one SIM on multiple devices. However, since eSIM is built into the device, it is difficult to easily move it between multiple devices. Therefore, those who use multiple devices during their trip to China may find it inconvenient.

3. Cannot use phone numbers

In eSIM data communication plans, a unique phone number may not be provided or additional charges may be required. This may be inconvenient in situations where a local phone number is required, such as making restaurant reservations or contacting hotels. Conventional SIM cards often come with a phone number in addition to data communication, so this is an important point to consider when considering using eSIM.

Related International eSIM Guide

Disclaimer: This article has been provided by an individual contributor or third party platform. If there is any discrepancy regarding the copyright, please contact us directly and we will delete the content immediately.