Pakistan is probably not the most popular travel destination in Asia, but it still has a lot to offer.
Especially when it is a relatively affordable country for travel.
What you should not do, in many cases, is roam internationally in Pakistan.
International roaming can be expensive, which is why using local and travel eSIMs is recommended to save money.
And if you get a travel eSIM, you do not have to deal with the SIM card registration bureaucracy and skip the queues in Pakistan.
How much will a local or travel eSIM for Pakistan cost you?
You can get an eSIM for Pakistan for as little as 8.50 USD, with 1 GB of data for 7 days, up to 44 USD, with 6 GB for 15 days, from Jazz Pakistan, Ufone Pakistan, Airalo (Sheesh) & Holafly.
Those are some generous data allowances, right?
In this guide, I will go over the eSIM options offered by the Pakistani mobile operators (Jazz Pakistan and Ufone Pakistan), Airalo & Holafly. Let's do this.
Original publication: 13th of September 2022. Last updated: 27th of January 2023.
Table of Contents
eSIMs offered by the Pakistani Mobile Operators
To get the best service available, in terms of reception and speeds, you want to go with the local mobile operators directly instead of with a travel eSIM.
That is because you will have a higher priority on the network in case of network congestion.
However, that does not mean travel eSIMs will always be slow.
In fact, some mobile operators throttle (prepaid) on select plans or all plans for “optimization” reasons (read: we cannot be bothered to invest in our network).
Anyway, which Pakistani mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers?
Currently, Jazz Pakistan and Ufone Pakistan offer eSIMs to prepaid customers.
You also have several other options for getting an eSIM for your trip to Pakistan: You can choose travel eSIMs from Airalo (with Sheesh) & Holafly.
Not only can you set up these eSIMs before arriving in Pakistan and activate them upon landing, but you can also avoid Pakistan's SIM card registration scheme, which is mandatory for anyone using Pakistani SIM cards and eSIMs.
While mobile data is already affordable in Pakistan, getting a travel eSIM will not break the bank – not at all.
Plus, I have plenty of experience with Airalo & Holafly, and I can assure you they work well – and other Phone Travel Wiz readers also had pleasant experiences with them.
So let's see what these travel eSIM providers have to offer in Pakistan, right?
Airalo eSIMs for Pakistan (Sheesh)
If I could only get a travel eSIM during my trip because I do not have the time or opportunity to buy a local SIM card or eSIM, then I would always get an eSIM from Airalo.
Airalo has eSIMs for around 190 countries, offers eSIMs at the lowest prices (on average compared to the competition) & has good service.
Airalo usually partners with the local mobile operator with the best coverage, the fastest speeds, or both.
And if it needs to partner up with multiple mobile operators, it does so, allowing you to have the best reception at all times.
Anyway, you can get a Sheesh eSIM for as low as 8.50 USD, with 1 GB of data, up to 17 USD, with 3 GB of data.
Those prices and data allowances are not too bad, right?
Especially knowing that the Sheesh eSIM uses the Telenor Pakistan network.
The following two Pakistani Sheesh eSIM options are available:
- Pakistan/Sheesh 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 8.50 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Pakistan/Sheesh 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 17 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
What do I mean by most popular?
All Phone Travel Readers get the 1 GB Sheesh eSIM.
Which surprises me because 1 GB is basically nothing (you know I got multiple 3 GB eSIMs 😏)
The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.
- Check out my Airalo eSIM reviews
Overall, the Sheesh eSIM gives you fantastic value for your money.
Airalo Sheesh eSIM Pros
Are there any other reasons why you should get the Sheesh eSIM for your trip? For sure:
- You can activate your Sheesh eSIM as soon as you land in Pakistan
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to Telenor Pakistan network
- Sheesh eSIMs are affordable (especially compared to roaming) and have generous data allowances
- You do not have to worry about SIM card registration with the Sheesh eSIM, saving you time
- Out of data? You can simply top up online on the Airalo website and not worry about language barriers when dealing with local agents
There are many other small pros, but these are the major ones.
It would be disingenuous not to mention some cons, so here we go.
Airalo Sheesh eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get the Sheesh eSIM?
- The Pakistani mobile operators, including Telenor Pakistan itself, have much more generous data allowances
- While you get access to Telenor Pakistan's network, your speeds will not be as fast as going with Telenor Pakistan itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Sheesh eSIM (yet)
- You cannot call or text with the Sheesh eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Airalo Sheesh eSIM Overall Thoughts
Honestly, the Sheesh eSIM is fantastic.
The plans offered with Sheesh eSIMs are generous and affordable.
You get fast speeds and access to Telenor Pakistan network, without standing in queues or dealing with SIM card registration bureaucracy.
And everything, purchasing and topping up, can be done online on the Airalo website or Airalo app (downloading the app is recommended).
Unfortunately, you cannot call or text with the Sheesh eSIM, as it is a data-only eSIM.
But if you do wish to make actual calls, so not through apps like Whatsapp, consider a Jazz Pakistan and Ufone Pakistan eSIM or a Pakistani SIM card (but you will have to deal with the SIM card registration laws).
Holafly eSIMs for Pakistan
The other eSIM provider I recommend is Holafly.
I knew they existed when they offered travel SIM cards for the Spanish market only.
Then they pivoted to the global market, still offering travel SIM cards.
Eventually, they started offering travel eSIMs for the Spanish market only again before going global.
There are many travel eSIM providers nowadays – new ones pop up every week like mushrooms, so I did not bat an eye.
Until they did something revolutionary.
In 2022, Holafly started offering unlimited data plans for its eSIMs.
And these unlimited data eSIMs can be used in various Asian countries, almost all European Union member states (except for Liechtenstein) & a few other countries, like Canada and the United States.
Unfortunately, unlimited data eSIMs are not available in Pakistan… yet.
I say yet because Holafly's goal is to offer unlimited data plans for every country it covers: 100+ countries.
And I can tell you that I get positive emails multiple times a week from Phone Travel Wiz readers that have used the unlimited data plans in East- and Southeast Asia, Europe & North America; they love these eSIMs.
For now, you have only one Holafly Pakistan eSIM (which uses the Telenor Pakistan (as well) and Jazz Pakistan networks – Jazz Pakistan is the mobile operator with the best network and fastest speeds, by the way):
- Pakistan 6 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 44 USD/47 EUR/34 GBP/67 AUD/59 CAD
Not much choice, as you can see.
As I recently started my collaboration with Holafly, you can get 5% off each purchase whenever you use code PHONETRAVELWIZ – awesome, right?
- Check out my Holafly reviews
Of course, there are some pros and cons with going with Holafly, so let's go over them.
Holafly Pakistan eSIM Pros
So, why should you get the Holafly Pakistan eSIM? Well, because of the following:
- Holafly Pakistan eSIMs are affordable compared to roaming
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to Jazz Pakistan's network – the best in Pakistan
- Unlike going with Jazz Pakistan directly, you do not have to worry about SIM card registration because it is unnecessary
- You can activate your Holafly Pakistan eSIM as soon as you land in Pakistan
- The Holafly Pakistan eSIM offers the most data
But it is not all good news with Holafly though – there are some disadvantages.
Holafly Pakistan eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get a Holafly Pakistan eSIM?
- You cannot call or text with the Holafly Pakistan eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
- Pakistani mobile operators, including Holafly Pakistan, have much more generous data allowances
- While you get full (4G/LTE) access to Jazz Pakistan's network, your speeds may not be as fast as going with Pakistan directly because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- You cannot top up your Holafly Pakistan eSIM – you would have to buy another eSIM if you need more data
- There is no 5G NR access with the Holafly Pakistan eSIM (yet)
Holafly Pakistan eSIM Overall Thoughts
While you have only one option for the Holafly Pakistan eSIM, it is the most generous eSIM (in terms of data) in this guide.
And the price for the Holafly Pakistan eSIM is low compared to expensive Pay As You Go roaming rates for Pakistan.
But it still is not cheap.
Best eSIMs for in Asia (not just Pakistan)
Unfortunately, you cannot use your Airalo Sheesh or Holafly Pakistan eSIMs in any country than Pakistan.
There are some eSIMs out there that allow you to use your allowance in several East Asian and Southeast Asian countries.
Sadly, Pakistan is not one of them, but I still want to introduce them to you because they will be much cheaper than buying multiple eSIMs, or SIM cards for that matter, per country.
I highly recommend these Asia/APAC eSIMs if you plan to visit multiple East- and Southeast Asian countries to save money!
Airalo recently heavily improved its Asia eSIM, which used to offer a meager 4 GB of high-speed data before allowing for unlimited data at snail speeds, following the popular Eurolink eSIM for 39 European countries.
The Eurolink eSIM is the most popular eSIM for Phone Travel readers, and I have no doubt that the Asialink eSIM will be popular too.
Just like in Europe, many readers tend to visit multiple Asian countries, so they would rather have a travel eSIM covering multiple countries than just one (like Pakistan).
The Asialink eSIM can be used in the following 14 countries:
- Hong Kong
- Singapore 1
- South Korea
1 currently, newly bought Asialink eSIMs cannot be used in Singapore. Airalo is working on re-including Singapore in its Asialink offering
Below is an overview of how much each Asialink eSIM costs:
- Asia/Asialink 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 5 USD
- Asia/Asialink 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 37 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Asia/Asialink 50 GB eSIM for 90 days, costing 100 USD
- Asia/Asialink 100 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 185 USD
Holafly & Nomad eSIMs for Pakistan
Because of Airalo's previous Asia eSIM, I used to recommend Nomad's APAC eSIMs instead (to be used in 8 countries).
This eSIM can be used in Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore & Thailand (1 GB/7 days/15 USD – 20 GB/30 days/69 USD).
As you can see, this eSIM cannot be used in Pakistan, so it would be useless here but useful in the aforementioned countries.
The Holafly Asia eSIM has only one variant: 8 GB for 30 days, costing 47 USD/49 EUR/34 GBP.
This eSIM can be used in Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand & Vietnam.
Basically, the same countries as the Airalo Asialink eSIM with just fewer options (1 variant (8 GB) vs. 6 variants (1 GB/3 GB/5 GB/10 GB/50 GB/100 GB) and much more expensive.
So yeah, the Asialink eSIM is superior, I would say.
Remember, the Airalo links above will automatically offer you the best deals.
Overview of the Best eSIMs for Pakistan (Airalo vs. Holafly)
In this guide, I went over various eSIMs for Pakistan: Airalo (Sheesh) & Holafly.
Below is an overview of my recommendation order:
- Airalo's Pakistan Sheesh eSIM (best value for money)
- Airalo's Asia Asialink eSIM (best value for money when also visiting other East- and Southeast Asian countries)
- Holafly Pakistan eSIM (generous data plans at premium prices)
- Holafly Asia eSIM (to be used in 13 countries)
Remember to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for Holafly eSIMs – a code is not necessary for Airalo eSIM purchases.
Buying a SIM Card in Pakistan
Want to just use a SIM card but not your current one because roaming will be criminally expensive?
Consider getting a Pakistani SIM card instead – local SIM cards are the cheapest way to stay connected abroad.
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