Firsty eSIM Review: Completely Free eSIM Service, No Credit Card Required

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Do you crave the freedom and spontaneity of travel without rigid plans? Then you’ll love Firsty.

Let me explain.

With mobile data for travel, you’ve traditionally had 2 choices:

1) A set data allowance (eg. 3 GB) for a specific amount of time (eg. 2 weeks), and you have to carefully ration each megabyte to spread it evenly over the entire period, or risk exhausting your data, severing your connection to the rest of the world; or

2) Choose a more expensive “unlimited” plan for a specific amount of time (eg. 2 weeks), and you don’t have to worry about running out of data. But this can burn a hole in your pocket very quickly.

Each approach has pros and cons, and different types of travellers gravitate to one depending on their reliance on the internet and their travel budget.

Every traveller is unique, but most people fall into one of two camps:

1) Light users do occasional basic tasks like navigating maps, instant messaging, browsing a couple of restaurant reviews on TripAdvisor, and sending an email or two.

2) Heavy recreational users love to stream videos on TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube and Netflix. And heavy remote workers need to have online meetings, video calls, and file sharing, usually using 2 or more devices.

Now, there’s a new eSIM service that will appeal to both.

A completely free basic mobile data connection to do those simple tasks. Yes, free as in “free beer”. And upgraded plans with generous daily limits (of 512MB and 2GB) for mid-range and heavy users. 

The best part of all is that you can switch between these plans at any time and anywhere.

And there’s no cost to try it out. 

All you need is an eSIM-compatible smartphone, and an internet connection to download the app.


I thought so.

Who is Firsty? 

Firsty, an Amsterdam-based eSIM startup, launched in January 2024. Founded by former Adyen Technical Product Managers Vince Vissers and Gauthier Thierens, and backed by angel investors with experience in KPN, Uber, and N26, Firsty aims to put reliable global mobile data within easy reach of every traveller. 

Admittedly, they’re still very young (even in Internet years), but already making big waves in the industry. 

Their daily-centric approach to mobile data reminds me of a 90’s TV commercial for Vodafone featuring Michael Richards (aka Kramer, from Seinfeld). He is at a supermarket cash register and tries to purchase 1 egg, before being told he must get at least a half-dozen pack. Then he pulls out 1 slice of bread, saying, “I hope you’re a little more open-minded about the bread”. This seems comedic now, but in an age dominated by powerful telco providers, 30-second block phone call billing was the standard.

The communications industry has come a long way since then.

How Does The Firsty eSIM Work? 

Firsty is a bit different from your typical travel eSIM provider. 

Here’s the deal.

When you first download the app and sign up (it’s free), you’ll get 100MB of complementary “Firsty Fast” data to try the service and get a taste of what is possible.

The eSIM needs to be installed in your phone just once – instructions are provided, and it only takes about 60 seconds.

Once you’re connected to the Internet, the app will commence a 60-minute countdown. This is how much time is left before your free internet connection runs out, and you’ll need to watch a short advertisement to start a new 60-minute cycle. You can continue this cycle as many times as you wish to continue receiving free mobile data. Start and stop any time you wish. No pressure, no commitments.

The countdown runs in the background, and you use any mobile apps as you usually would, just on a speed-throttled connection.

To make life easier, a mobile notification pops up when your hour is finished, and a new ad needs to be watched.


This level of service is perfect for travellers who just need basic mobile data access to navigate maps, book a rideshare, or view a hotel reservation. When you step off the plane in a new country, those first few minutes, or hours, without a digital lifeline can be harrowing. With Firsty, this anxiety is a thing of the past.

And if you are ready for a faster connection, it’s easy to upgrade within the app with just a few taps. I’ll explain the pricing packages in the next section.

Firsty offers serious benefits for internet-loving travellers:

You only need 1 eSIM to cover the whole world – no switching eSIMs between countries/regions. Just install once, and use forever.

Over 120+ countries are supported at the time of publishing, and more countries are rolling out in the coming months. So, it’s very likely your next destination is covered.

Frequent travellers will love this – there’s no need to guess how much data you’ll use or carefully ration your data usage for weeks. The paid plans are simple, and calculated by the day. If you manage to completely exhaust your data (that’s an accomplishment!), then it will fall back to “free” speeds, and your faster speed will resume the next day. Or if you really can’t wait that long, short-term upgrades are available through the app to keep the internet juice flowin’. The important thing, is you’re never left feeling stranded. 

Anxiety eliminated.

Firsty delivers first-class data speeds – at least 4G, and up to 5G - depending on the region, local network provider, and network coverage. You get fewer loading spinners and more instant gratification (and cute cat videos).

Firsty eSIM Pricing Plans

Firsty is a mobile-first company, and that makes a lot of sense, considering the nature of the product. The free mobile app has everything you need: setting up the eSIM, selecting plans, top-ups, and payments.

Do yourself a favour, and download it now, if you haven’t already – iOS, Android

Firsty prepaid eSIM plans are simple to understand and cover every type of traveller. There are 2 unique products – Firsty Free and Firsty Fast. There’s no lock-in arrangement, you can switch between these plans at any time:

Firsty Free:

  • Basic connection for all travellers.
  • Throttled 300kbps speed (sufficient for maps, email, IM, rideshare, etc).
  • Free use for 1 hour, and then watch a 30-second video ad to continue.
  • Available in 120 countries.

Firsty Fast Regular:

  • Ideal for most modern travellers.
  • Starting at €1 per day.
  • Data limit: 512MB per day (equivalent to 15GB per month).
  • Tethering is supported.
  • Use any mobile apps.

Firsty Fast Ultra:

  • Suited to heavy internet users and remote workers.
  • Starting at €2.50 per day.
  • Data limit: 2GB per day (equivalent to 60GB per month).
  • Tethering is supported.
  • Add-on 2GB: only €2 (valid for 1 day). 

Firsty Fast “days” can be used in multiple countries, and can be paused and used later (with no expiry). This means there’s no need to guess how much data you’ll use – just choose the number of days you’re travelling. Or start with 3 days to get a feel for it, and add on more as needed.

Note: Pauses take effect at the end of a 24-hour cycle - you must use at least one full day at a time. You can’t be sneaky and try to pause and un-pause the plan multiple times during the day to stretch it out.

Firsty’s refreshingly simple approach to mobile data puts the power back in your hands and better reflects the fluid nature of travel. Some days you might be heavily reliant on your mobile data in a big city – posting videos on social media. On other days you could be on a scuba trip or a mountain hike and just need the bare basic connection.

If you don’t use up all your Firsty Fast days on this trip, don’t worry! You can use them on your next international trip.

This means that you can save money by not paying for a fast connection every day on your trip if you don’t need it.

A wise man once said… a dollar saved is a dollar towards your next mojito.

Payments are simple too. All transactions are completed through the mobile app, and accepted payment methods include: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Bancontact, and Google Pay.

Note: There is no online ordering via the website at the moment; it’s all handled securely within the app. But as the company grows, it’s just a matter of time until this functionality is added.

Firsty Real World Experience & Speed Test

I used Firsty Free and Firsty Fast recently for a few days and both services delivered everything I was hoping for. 

The initial onboarding was as smooth as Barry White’s voice, and navigating around the app was intuitive.

After watching my first ad, I went online and tested Google Maps, which performed perfectly. I was actually surprised at how fast the maps loaded on Firsty Free’s throttled connection. It’s very usable.

Google Maps loaded fairly quickly

Once I activated Firsty Fast Ultra, the floodgates opened and data was flowing in. No noticeable buffering on streaming apps like Nextflix. Web pages loaded in a snap. Instagram reels opened instantly. You know when a mobile data connection is working well because it fades into the background, and you can focus on the content that matters most… instead of twisting and contorting your body to find a better network signal.

I know what frequent eSIM users are looking for… here’s the Speedtest results:

Firsty Fast – it sure is!
Firsty Free - I don’t think this test did the connection speed justice, it felt a lot faster than what these numbers show.

How To Activate an eSIM From Firsty

Getting started with Firsty is fairly easy. After you download the mobile app, create a Firsty account by either providing your email address or linking a Google account (preferred). The app will ask for location permission (which is needed to function correctly). Once in, instructions are provided to install the eSIM:

On my Android device, the eSIM was automatically installed, so these standard instructions were redundant. If your device doesn’t automatically install the eSIM, the manual method involves scanning a QR code and copying an activation code.

From there activate the eSIM (the steps depends on your type of phone):

Android: Settings > Connections (or “Network & Internet” on Pixel phones)

iPhone: Settings > Cellular (or “Mobile Data” on some devices)

Strangely, I got some Chinese characters in the eSIM name after installing, but that was easy to change – just tap the pencil icon in the top right.

Rename the eSIM name to something simple.

Return to the Firsty app and tap the purple “I’m all set” button.

That’s the hardest part done.

What I Like About Firsty 

Ultimate in flexibility. There are no complicated plans or need to ration data. If you decide to have a chill day at the hotel and rely on Wi-Fi, just pause your Firsty Fast plan and use it tomorrow. Nothing is wasted.

Pause your plan any time. It works in 24-hour increments, so a 3-day plan can be paused a maximum of 2 times.

One tap to pause.

One eSIM covering all countries. No need to install eSIM profiles on your phone for every new country, saving precious time.

Easy-to-use mobile app. The user interface is intuitive and elegant. Topping up and switching your plan requires just a few taps. What else could you want?

Hotspot support. Share your mobile data connection with your laptop, tablet or travel buddy’s device.

View data usage easily. Tap “Profile” in the app to see your current day’s data usage.

Easy upgrades. If you happen to run out of data, there’s no need to panic - an upgrade is just a few taps away.

Get 2GB extra data for the day.

Fast, friendly customer support. Support via email and 24/7 live chat within the Firsty app. 80% of support queries are solved using an AI bot, and when you need to chat with a human, they’re available around the clock. The maximum response time is 4 minutes. Currently 80+ languages are supported so you can communicate easier. Over 90% of customers who rate the support they’ve received are positive.

Live chat within the app.

What Could Be Better

Firsty is still a young app, and the service is evolving and growing month after month. In between the time I started writing this article and completing it, several important features were released – so I had to re-write parts of it to be current. I’m expecting more exciting features and additional country support from the Firsty team in the coming months. 

120+ countries covered. This is impressive growth considering the age of the service, but it’s still a little behind the more established players. In saying that, they cover most of the popular destinations, so there’s a very good chance you’ll be able to use Firsty where you’re going. Check out the current list of supported countries. New countries are rolling out all the time, so this section might be out of date soon after publishing.

Lack of network transparency. The partner network in each country isn’t displayed on the Firsty website or mobile app, so there’s no way to easily tell which roaming mobile network you’ll use ahead of time. If this matters to you, you can always try asking customer support in live chat.

Data only. No phone number is included in the data plan, but to be honest, I can’t remember the last time I used a “regular” phone number while travelling, so this point barely deserves a mention.

Tips to Make the Most of Your Firsty eSIM

Need Wi-Fi to start. You must have a stable Wi-Fi connection to download and install the eSIM initially. 

Buy now, use later. There’s no pressure to use all your Firsty Fast credit straight away. Spread them out and even save them for your next overseas trip. The credits don’t expire!

Top up quickly when your free data runs out. Comparing the experience of Firsty Free users on Reddit, it seems the app automatically allocates a little extra data (about 15MB) at the end of the hour, to allow you to stream the video ad and reactivate the connection. If you don’t watch the video, the connection still works for up to 3 hours (you can’t do much with 15MB), but when that runs out, you may need a Wi-Fi connection to reactivate. It’s like driving a car until the tank is completely empty instead of refilling when the red indicator is at “E”. Short version: Refill your 60 minutes, if you need it, BEFORE running out. 

Don’t waste your data. Be careful about doing a Speedtest on a paid Firsty Fast plan. This uses about 60MB of data, and on the “Firsty Fast Regular” that’s over 10% of your daily quota.

Used up almost 60MB after doing a Speedtest.

Download offline maps in Google Maps using your accommodation Wi-Fi connection before activating Firsty Free. I do this before every trip anyway, so if, worst-case scenario, I have no mobile data, I can still navigate around a new city. An offline map will put less strain on a basic data connection since some of the important information is already stored on your phone, speeding up map loading times.

Install the Firsty app today (iOS, Android). It’s free, and you can put it to use without any complicated setup. No payment card is required and there is no risk. Don’t wait until you reeeeeeally need it. This is the only part of the process where planning ahead pays. Other than that, you’re welcome to fly by the seat of your pants. 

Share your data. Bytebot is a brand-new feature in the Firsty app that allows you to share your data with your travel buddies. They just need the Firsty app too. It’s a genius concept! To use this feature, you need 2 days of “Ultra” paid up, and then an extra “Bytebot” menu item will appear at the bottom of the app. Save your accrued free “bytes” and use them whenever your daily paid data expires. Can’t say no to free fast mobile data!

Bonus: The first 5 people who click my personal Bytebot link (or use the QR code below) will receive some free MB from me. Sharing is caring.

The Bottom Line

In a world where connectivity can make or break your trip, Firsty stands out as a disrupter, putting flexible and affordable prepaid eSIM data plans within reach of every traveller.

Whether you’re navigating new cities on the Firsty Free plan, or staying in the loop with work on Firsty Fast, you can rest assured you’re never left stranded without an Internet connection.

You are in the driver’s seat, switching data plans effortlessly whenever your travel plans change.

But I must warn you… once you’ve tasted this level of spontaneity, convenience, freedom and flexibility, it will be painful to accept anything less.

I’m hooked. Thanks, Firsty.

Price: €1/day (and FREE too!)

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