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How to move PAYG eSIM from old iPhone to new iPhone

5: Helper

I obtained an eSIM for my Vodafone PAYG line in 2020, which I have been using on my iPhone SE 2020 with no problems since then. I have just received my new iPhone 15 Pro, to which I would like to transfer my eSIM.

When I try to transfer my multiple eSIMs from my old to my new iPhone, it says "Transfer not supported" against my Vodafone eSIM, even though transferring of other carriers' eSIMs is supported.

I phoned Vodafone to ask how to transfer my eSIM, but they told me that they no longer issue eSIMs to PAYG customers. I'm not asking for a new eSIM, just to keep my existing service as is. They were really unhelpful, and even said that I must be confused, and that I must have either a physical SIM or a monthly contract, neither of which is true, which they ought to see on their system.

I don't have physical SIM slot available on my iPhone, so if Vodafone won't let me keep my service on an eSIM, then I will port away to Three, who have  . How can I transfer my Vodafone PAYG eSIM to my new iPhone?

And why has Vodafone stopped issuing new eSIMs to PAYG customers? Why degrade the service in this way?

[MOD EDIT: This post has been edited to remove inappropriate content please see Community Guidelines]


Community Manager
Community Manager

I'm sorry to hear you've not been able to transfer your eSIM @NFH. As the agent on the phone advised, this isn't something we offer our PAYG customers. You should be able to pop a physical SIM into a UK iPhone 15 Pro Max using the SIM slot on the left hand side of the handset, as the SIM tray is still a feature on all but US versions of the handset.

@MarkThanks for your reply, but it doesn't solve the issue at all. As I hope you know, iPhones have only one physical SIM slot. This is already used by an existing physical SIM, as it was on my iPhone SE 2020. I need to continue as before, with the existing physical SIM in the physical SIM slot and my existing Vodafone PAYG eSIM.

Three questions:

  1. Why is it not possible to transfer an existing PAYG eSIM to a new iPhone?
  2. Why has Vodafone ceased issuing eSIMs to PAYG customers, despite having issued them in the past?
  3. What solution does Vodafone offer to existing PAYG eSIM customers who acquire a new iPhone?

16: Advanced member
16: Advanced member

Vodafone never officially offered or supported eSIM on their PAY GO service. Users were able to obtain one through a loophole in their system though. So, either request a replacement SIM or PAC out to a provider that offers eSIM's on PAY GO.

Vodafone overtly offered eSIM to PAYG customers in the settings section of their account on the web site. This was no loophole, as it didn't require any elaborate action, just the same action as a pay-monthly contract customer. Vodafone might not have marketed eSIM on PAYG, but that's a different question. I don't think that "officially" has any meaning in this context.

Community Manager
Community Manager

I'm sorry the answer provided doesn't resolve your issue @NFH. As we don't offer an eSIM service to our PAYG customers, you wouldn't be able to transfer the one you're currently using to your new phone.
We've never offered an eSIM service to our Pay as you go customers and this is advised when you try to switch to an eSIM service via our website.
As I've already advised, all UK iPhones have a SIM tray, so our customers will be able to continue to connect to our network via a physical SIM.

If there's anything else we can help with, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Please explain how to move one PAYG physical SIM and one PAYG eSIM to a new iPhone, given that no iPhone (except in China) can take more than one physical SIM.

And how do you reconcile your comment "We've never offered an eSIM service to our Pay as you go customers" with the fact that I have an eSIM on PAYG?

Community Manager
Community Manager

If your physical SIM is connected to one of our Pay Monthly plans, you'll be able to move that number to an eSIM, and then use the slot to hold a physical SIM for your PAYG number. We wouldn't be able to switch your PAYG number to an eSIM, as we advised, this isn't a service we offer.

If you'd like help moving your other number to an eSIM, or would like us to request a physical SIM so you can transfer your PAYG number over, pop us a private message through one of our social channels.

5: Helper

I followed the multiple identical instructions on Vodafone's web site for transferring an eSIM to various iPhones:

"Make sure that both your new and your old phone are connected to a Wi-Fi network. Delete your eSIM on your old phone: you'll find the function in the phone settings. Subsequently, you will receive an email message on your registered email address with your current QR code. Open the attached file. For consumers, the file is password protected using your date of birth in DDMMYYYY format. For business customers, the file is password protected using the postcode."

Although Vodafone doesn't give these instructions specifically for transferring an eSIM to the iPhone 15 series, I assumed that there would be no difference, particularly as the above step is carried out on the existing iPhone, not on the new iPhone.

I immediately received an e-mail containing a new QR code for an eSIM for my Vodafone PAYG line, which I successfully installed on my iPhone 15 Pro. So I'm up and running again.

It's a shame that nobody in Vodafone customer services or in these forums could give me these simple instructions. Instead Vodafone customer services and others above told me that I can't transfer my existing PAYG eSIM to a new iPhone with the reason that Vodafone has stopped offering new eSIMs to PAYG customers. This was bad and wrong advice.

1: Seeker

Bit of a slow response you have probably fixed your issue by now. 

It seems to be an undocumented feature but you can get a new esim from Vodafone by simply deleting your current esim from your current phone so long as you have a registered email on your account. As soon as you delete the esim a new QRcode will automagically arrive in your email.

This is what arrivesThis is what arrives