Samsung Galaxy S21 eSIM support on Verizon, AT&T, or T-Mobile

We may earn a commission if you make a purchase from the links on this page.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, and the case of the missing eSIM support
UPDATE: The Galaxy S21 series US carrier versions on Verizon and T-Mobile now have the eSIM capability unlocked via the Android 12 with One UI 4.0 update by Samsung.

When Samsung listed eSIM support as present in the Q&A section for its new Galaxy S21 series, some jumped the gun and on the S21 deals with the hope that at long last the eSIM abilities of Samsung's flagships phones will be unleashed in the US.

Unfortunately, just like with the S20 models before them, the S21 phones only support eSIM functionality in theory, it turned out, but it is not active on US carriers. Apple and Google managed to convince Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and the like, to allow the embedded SIM option for iPhones and Pixels on their networks, and it's been running strong for a while now. 

Samsung, however, doesn't have nearly the same clout with the main US carriers, it seems, and their reluctance to support eSIM plans translates into firmware-baked inactivation of the otherwise present hardware on the new phones.

Do the Galaxy S21, S21+, or S21 Ultra support eSIM on T-Mobile, Verizon, ot AT&T?

  • Verizon: Dual SIM with an eSIM is now supported on the Samsung Galaxy S21 series.
  • T-Mobile: Galaxy S21 models are compatible with the T-Mobile eSIM solution.
  • AT&T: only iPhone XS and up, or Pixel 4 and up.

Despite Samsung's statement that "you can use an electronic SIM, known as eSIM, with Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G," which is still listed in the Q&A section at the bottom of the S21 Ultra's feature page, the actual user-facing capability is not there. Neither is the dual-SIM functionality, by the way, despite the S21 series having a tray reader that on theory should support two SIM cards being used at once.
US carriers have long balked at the fact that an "eSIM allows you to activate a mobile network plan right on your phone, so you can switch data plans or add an overseas phone number without the physical Nano SIM," as described by Samsung. They were subject to a probe by the DOJ on exactly that same eSIM matter not long ago, and the issues should have been resolved by now.

Not so fast, it turns out, and, if you are buying the Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra with the idea that you can scan a QR code and add an eSIM plan to your phone, you have to get non-US models, as this video manual of eSIM support from Samsung Germany implies.

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless