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How Does the eSIM in Your Apple Watch Work?

It’s been around for a while, but only a few providers in Switzerland offer it: The Watch SIM. To keep smartwatches like the Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch connected to the mobile network independently of your smartphone, you can share your cell phone subscription with your smartwatch via the app of the respective watch. This way, you can still be reached via the same phone number, even if you leave your smartphone at home. A very handy feature, but its technical side might need to be explained.

How Does Your Cell Phone Subscription End up on Your Smartwatch?

With a Watch SIM like the one from Digital Republic, you do not receive a new phone number and do not book a new plan. Instead, you share your existing plan with your smartwatch and thus also your phone number.

This works without a new SIM card or scanning an eSIM QR code. Almost as if by magic, your Apple Watch is connected to the mobile network at the push of a button. A built-in eSIM and antenna make it possible, but how does your SIM profile get onto the Watch’s chip?

When you activate the Watch SIM for your mobile subscription in your Digital Republic customer portal, the network operator generates a so-called multi-SIM for your existing SIM. This second (replica) SIM is linked to the same phone number and tariff as the (primary) SIM in your smartphone.

Now you start the app of your Watch and configure the mobile connection according to the steps that are displayed to you. During this process, your smartphone sends a request to the network operator asking whether a Multi SIM is available from the network operator for the SIM in the smartphone. Since you have previously activated the Watch SIM, such a SIM is available and is downloaded accordingly as an eSIM profile by your smartphone.

Your smartphone then transmits the eSIM profile wirelessly to your smartwatch via the Watch app. The smartwatch in turn installs the profile on its eSIM chip and dials into your provider’s network.

If all these steps are successful, you are connected to the mobile network via your cell phone plan and the smartwatch.

What About Other Smartwatches?

Besides the Apple Watch and the Samsung Galaxy Watch, there are many other smartwatches that can be operated “standalone”, i.e. without sharing a tariff. Examples include the Xplora Watches for children, which have their own SIM slot.

In such cases, you need a separate tariff for your smartwatch. Digital Republic recommends either Flat 1 or Flat 0.4, but you will have to get a new phone number for your watch and will not be able to use your usual cell phone number.

If you want to use an eSIM for a smartwatch (for example, for a Google Pixel Watch), you should check with your provider beforehand whether your smartwatch is supported. An eSIM always contains configuration information that is device-specific. Therefore, eSIMs from certain providers might not work on all smartwatches. For example, the Google Pixel Watch is not yet supported by Digital Republic.

Why Does the Watch SIM Cost Extra?

The fact that you pay an amount for the Watch SIM is primarily due to the operation of the multi-SIM. As soon as you use another SIM, even if it is on the same subscription and number as your main SIM, you use a new communication channel for a new device.

You pay for this service and the small additional network load with the rate for the Watch SIM. So it has nothing to do with your actual data plan, but rather with the digital “logistics” behind an additional SIM profile and an additional device.

The Cheapest Watch SIM Is Available at Digital Republic!

The prices for networking your Apple or Samsung Galaxy Watch vary slightly everywhere on the Swiss mobile market and range from CHF 4 to CHF 6.90 per month. Some providers may also charge an activation fee. It is therefore worth comparing the offers.

However, Digital Republic is definitely the cheapest option at the moment. Our Watch SIM costs you just CHF 4 per month and we do not charge any activation fees, minimum contract period or cancellation period. You can use the Watch SIM with any Digital Republic plan that has an activated voice option and simply activate it yourself with one click in your customer portal.

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