If you’re a digital nomad or a business traveler tired of lousy service from mobile hotspots, poor download speeds at WiFi cafes, and expensive plans from single-star providers, maybe it’s time to seek an alternative.
In this review, we’ll take a good hard look at Nomad’s eSIM for travel options to see if their worldwide data plans are (as Nomad claims) “the easiest way to get connected.”
- Prepaid eSIMs provide fast 4G LTE in over 100 countries
- Data plans with multiple options, including 30GB, 40GB, 50GB, and 100GB
- Bundled plans available for European countries, Asia Pacific, Oceania, and the Nordic regions
- SMS features available for US, UK, and Canada
- iOS and Android apps available for easy management
- SMS service is currently limited to US, UK, and Canada
- No unlimited or family plans
- Customer service is only available through online forms
Who is Nomad?
Nomad is a Santa Clara-based company providing international data plans and eSIMs for travelers via its easy-to-use website and mobile app.
With coverage in over 100 countries and a range of customizable short-term plans, Nomad offers local, regional, and global data roaming packages at the tap of a finger.
But are they the right eSIM data provider for you?
Let’s see if they’ve got the goods!
How does an eSim work? An embedded SIM (or eSIM)is a piece of circuitry soldered directly to your device’s motherboard. As a result, it can be reprogrammed remotely via a software download. The standard SIM card space is being revolutionized by eSIMs, allowing you to instantly switch between data plans across countries, regions, and borders without ever requiring a physical SIM card. With a couple of hundred million eSIM-compliant devices already in the market, eSIM growth is predicted to skyrocket in the next two years.
Nomad eSim packages: big data in 100+ countries.
- Affordable pricing in over 100 countries
- No long-term contract or hidden fees
- Quick activation in as little as 5 minutes
- Regional available for multiple countries.
- Flexible usage options
- Keep your primary SIM for calls and texts
- Prepaid SMS plans in Canada, the US, and the UK
- Use your phone as a hotspot
- Add more data to your active plan while traveling
How do I buy & activate a Nomad eSIM plan?
To buy and activate a Nomad plan follow these steps:
- Log onto the Nomad website, or use the app to browse for your preferred plan.
- Purchase and confirm your plan and your payment method.
- Install your eSIM by following the on-screen prompts and the guide that appears immediately after purchase. Or install your eSIM manually by following the details on the setup screens OR scan the QR code using another device.
- Label your eSIM, and select it as either your primary or secondary SIM.
- Activate your plan.
Nomad: the user experience
Using Nomad’s app and website demonstrates that the company has designed a user-friendly experience.
The service is intuitive and easy to navigate with a clean, simple design and a one and two-tap navigation structure that makes it feel simple and easy to use.
How well does it work?
In terms of performance, Nomads eSIMs usually guarantee a 4G LTE connection, and we found this to be true on the device we tested.
While the eSIM performed well, the speed was not exceptional. It maintained a steady 4G connection and handled general tasks such as email, social-media browsing, listening to music, and watching videos without issues.
Nomad eSim Packages
With its wide coverage, Nomad is able to meet most of your common travel data needs. With the exception of some destinations in Africa.
Nomad’s key product offerings include:
- Single Country plans (over100 options).
- Regional plans (Europe, Nordic, APAC, and Oceania).
- SMS plans (for the US, UK, and Canada).
Nomad: single country plans
The following is a list of countries for which Nomad offers a single-country plan in January 2023.
Argentina, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazi, Canada, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Faroe Islands, GFrench Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Matinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Surname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks & Caicos, United States, Uruguay.
Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Holy See, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of North Macedonia, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.
Armenia, Australia, Cambodia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mongolia, New Zealand, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Nomad: regional plans
- Europe: 8 plans to choose from with the opportunity to personalize between 7-30 day options and select the amount of data desired. The Europe plan also offers a 24 or 35-country option.
- Global: 3 plans to choose from. 7-30 day options and the flexibility to choose your data amount from the available list.
- APAC: 17 countries available. 7-30 day options. Select the data amount you need.
- Nordic: 3 plans available. Personalize the regional plan and choose between 7 -30 day options. Select your data amount.
- SEA-Oceania: 9 countries available. 7-30 day options. Select the amount of data desired.
💰 How much does it cost?
Nomad promises “near local pricing” with no contract, hidden fees, or unexpected roaming charges, and it generally delivers on that by aligning itself with local providers.
For example, the plan we tested in the UK used the network O2.
Nomad offers the following data tiers: 1GB, 3GB, 5GB, 10GB, 20GB, and 50GB. It should be noted that large data amounts—20GB and 50GB are not available on all plans, and 50GB can only be selected for a few specific countries.
It’s also important to note that plan pricing varies significantly by country, region, and destination. Some are more expensive than others.
A 7-day plan with 1GB of data costs $5 USD in India but $20 USD if you’re visiting Argentina.
A 30-day regional plan with 10GB of data is $24 USD but increases to $50 for the same data in Asia.
How to manage your plan:
Once your plan is activated, it will show in the “Manage” tab in the app about 15-20 minutes after purchase. Here you can also view the remaining time on your plan and see how much data you’ve consumed.
Does Nomad offer deals or discounts?
Yes, at the time of writing, Nomad offers a 10% discount on selected purchases and a range of discounts on some regional plans.
Check the website for up-to-date information. You may also find coupon discounts as promotions on various discount sites.
How do I top up my eSIM?
Topping up is a straightforward process if you’re using the Nomad app, but it’s not currently supported on the website. To top up your plan, follow these steps:
- Go to the “My eSIM” page.
- Select the eSIM you want to add data to.
- Click on “Add more data.”
It’s important to note that Nomad recommends you do this BEFORE your eSIM runs out, as once it expires, you will not be able to add more data to it and will need to purchase a new plan.
📱 What devices are supported?
eSIMs are a relatively new addition to the smartphone space, but there are already many eSim-compatible devices, including newer Apple, Samsung, Google, and Huawei devices. Check if your device is available by referring to the list of devices provided by Nomad here.
Will I have a mobile number at my destination?
No, Nomad does not currently offer a plan with the ability to make and receive phone calls. Instead, they recommend using data-based services such as What’s App, Facetime, and Facebook Messenger.
However, you can purchase an SMS plan for the USA, Canada, and the UK.
Nomad SMS plans
When you purchase an SMS plan, you’re assigned a virtual phone number when you purchase an SMS plan which will be valid until the plan expires.
Please note that this virtual number will be recycled automatically after ten days, which means your remaining balance and message history will be deleted.
You can purchase an add-on if you require more texts while your plan is still active. Your phone number will remain the same and be active until the new expiry date is reached.
- Remember that sending and receiving SMS messages will count towards the consumption of your SMS package.
- Virtual numbers can send/receive texts to/from any phone number in the same country as the plan that was purchased.
- Using a virtual number to register for services such as banking, which require SMS authentication, is not guaranteed to work and depends on the apps and services in question.
What is Nomad customer support like?
I reached out to Nomad using an online support form, asking for more information to assist in writing this review, and received a series of helpful responses.
However, I can’t help but feel that this experience would be improved by employing a dedicated chat team or a well-trained AI chatbot!
My experience may not reflect how Nomad handles technical issues. I’m in no way saying this was horrible customer service. But it’s a tad disappointing when placed against their general excellence.
I can’t imagine how frustrating it would be to wait for a reply in the middle of an unknown country.
Nomad has 72 reviews on the App Store and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, indicating a very high level of customer satisfaction. Here’s a sample:
Have used this in Mexico and now the USA. Really really easy to add/set up! Good rates too.
Used Nomad for a trip to SE Asia (Singapore/Thailand/Vietnam), and it worked flawlessly the whole time. It was one of the only eSIM providers that included these countries in a regional pack. So could easily travel without having to think about it.
It worked, but not always.
The concept was great, and the installation and setup were fine. However, I had to connect to WiFI to activate the service (while traveling from the UK to Mexico), which meant no service upon landing.
After that, it worked well 80% of the time. I felt it was slightly worse than ‘normal’ roaming via my carrier, but it was much cheaper.
In conclusion, Nomad is a great option for those looking for an eSIM solution that offers giant data plans at competitive prices. With multiple country plans, a wide range of data options, a simple buying experience, and a simple activation process, it’s easy to see why customers have given it high ratings on the App Store.
Limitations remain, among them the absence of chat support (which might cause customer issues), unlimited data packages, and the lack of options for African nations. Overall, Nomad provides a high-quality, reliable, and cost-effective way to stay connected while traveling.