When the Galaxy S20 leaks and rumors first started last year, it had seemed like Samsung would be making only 5G-enabled variants of its new flagship. That was until we learned that LTE variants were in development for some markets, and that’s what happened: Samsung launched the non-5G Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra in many countries, while customers in other countries only have the option of buying the 5G variants.
I live in India, where 5G networks are still a distant dream, so I was perfectly fine with Samsung launching only the LTE variants of the Galaxy S20 series here. Well, that was until I learned that every Galaxy S20, whether it’s the LTE or the 5G variant, comes with an eSIM (embedded SIM) along with two physical SIM slots. And that in some markets, such as Germany, the eSIM and the two physical slots are available for use.
That isn’t the case for the LTE variants except in select markets – they come with their eSIM option hidden in most countries. And it’s a bummer in my opinion.
Every Galaxy S20 has an eSIM, but not everyone can use it
First off, the eSIM is a very convenient alternative to a physical SIM card. More importantly, with an eSIM, your phone can be connected to two different carriers and have a microSD card inside for storage expansion. This is impossible when the eSIM isn’t available, because one of the two slots on the physical tray is a hybrid slot that can either accommodate a SIM card or a microSD card.
That’s been true for every Galaxy flagship with dual SIM support, but it doesn’t have to be the case for the Galaxy S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra. But, for some reason, Samsung is keeping the eSIM option disabled on the LTE variants and also on the 5G variants in some countries, and that’s an artificial limitation that the company could easily remove with a software update.
You could argue that physical SIM cards are still much more common and accessible, but since every dual SIM iPhone has an eSIM, every carrier worth its salt already lets you convert your physical SIM into an eSIM. And with Samsung selling so many devices each year, the company could help make the eSIM even more mainstream by adopting it on more of its smartphones, or at least by enabling it for all on devices that already have one inside.