New York City invigorates the imagination and saturates the senses.
Iconic landmarks, bright neon lights, delicious food from all corners of the globe, and world-class shopping opportunities.
For visitors, New York generously offers a dizzying range of activities. From strolling through the expansive Central Park in the morning to being entertained by legendary Broadway shows in the evening, New York has something for everyone.
And don’t worry if this is your first time in New York. Armed with a smartphone, a speedy Internet connection, and an adventurous spirit, you can make New York your personal fairytale playground.
But wait a minute.
What if you don't have a mobile Internet connection yet?
Don't worry. I've got you covered. I've compared dozens of options to find the best New York eSIM with unlimited data.
How Does an eSIM Work?
The marvel of modern technology never ceases to amaze! An eSIM (Embedded Subscriber Identity Module) is an exciting technology revolutionizing how we connect our phones to mobile networks.
As the name suggests, an eSIM is an embedded chip within a smartphone that eliminates the need for external physical hardware (think of that fingernail-sized plastic white and gold card). eSIM technology allows users to access network providers, with the capability of switching between subscription plans quickly or using multiple subscriptions at once – goodbye SIM-switching headaches!
Currently, most flagship smartphone models are compatible with eSIM and a growing number of mid-range phones are adding support.
Tip: If you’re not sure if your smartphone supports eSIM, check out this comprehensive list of models.
eSIMs themselves remain invisible, permanently stored inside your device. But the impact they are having on the technology landscape cannot be understated.
Benefits of a New York eSIM
When it comes to mobile data plans in the United States, all major carriers provide support across the entire country (with some exceptions for overseas territories). But for the sake of this article, I'm focusing on tips for visitors to New York.
Here are 6 benefits to choosing an eSIM over a traditional SIM.
1. Easily switch providers without the hassle of removing or adding a physical SIM card - change gears in seconds!
2. Cut your costs and get the flexibility you need. Enjoy shorter periods of coverage such as 1 week, 2 weeks, or a month – without having to commit to an annual or multi-month plan that could cost far more than necessary.
3. Don't let unexpected bills ruin your vacation. Prepaid eSIM data plans give you the power to be in charge of how much you spend and avoid roaming data bill shock when you get home.
4. Keep your data safe while traveling. You no longer have to worry about using public wifi networks when out and about. Avoid the risk of hackers getting into your device with a personal 4G/5G Internet connection.
5. Don't miss out on important messages - keep your existing WhatsApp number and continue normal usage of other favourite IM apps like Telegram, iMessage, or Facebook Messenger.
6. Say goodbye to dropped or misplaced SIM cards forever! Skilfully navigate your switch with ease... all it takes is a few taps.
How to Calculate Your Expected Data Use
Many prepaid data plans limit your usage. So it's important to understand how much data you intend to use.
Measurements are commonly in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB) - for the uninitiated, 1024MB = 1GB.
The amount used by different tasks and apps varies greatly. For example, 1GB will allow you to browse the web for 44 hours or watch 5 hours of streaming TV.
Here's a breakdown of common activities and apps, and approximately how many MB they use over 1 hour:
- Pokémon Go: 3 MB
- Google Maps: 5 MB
- Spotify (normal quality): 40 MB
- Web browsing (Safari, Chrome): 60 MB
- Podcasts: 60 MB
- Facebook: 80 MB
- Watching Youtube (standard definition): 300 MB
- Instagram: 720 MB
- TikTok: 840 MB
If you'd like to learn a little more about data usage, try this free calculator.
Where possible, it's better to choose eSIM plans with unlimited data allowance. You don't need the added stress of checking your usage daily, or worrying about running out of data while navigating an unfamiliar city.
Your peace of mind is too important.
Comparing Prepaid New York eSIM Data Plans
The United States only has 3 major nationwide mobile providers: Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
AT&T takes the title for the widest 4G LTE network in New York City and New York state, so that would be the first choice for tourists. However, it's not so simple. Purchasing an eSIM from AT&T as a foreigner is exceptionally challenging. They have a reputation for not-so-good customer support. And purchasing an eSIM from outside the country, without a US phone number, is simply impossible.
So what can you do?
The best solution is to find a travel-friendly international eSIM provider that leverages the AT&T network, but provides its own customer support. That's a win-win!
Holafly is one eSIM provider that uses the AT&T Network in the United States. You can purchase securely online, from any country, and the delivery is instant. Activation only takes a few seconds, so I recommend activating the day before you depart for New York (note: an Internet connection is required to activate your eSIM).
The other big benefit from Holafly is unlimited data. There's no need to check your usage on a regular basis. There are other competing providers who offer slightly lower prices, but they don't include unlimited data, or use one of the less reliable networks. Holafly is the easy choice in New York.
Here are their pricing plans:
- 5 days: $19
- 10 days: $34
- 15 days: $47
- 20 days: $54
- 30 days: $64
(Longer plans are available – 60 & 90 days)
Get started today: Buy an eSIM for New York from Holafly and save 5% with our exclusive code "TRAVELWITHBENDER".
Mobile Data Coverage in New York
Before you step on a flight, you’d probably like to know what the mobile reception is like in New York.
Here are 2 AT&T 4G/LTE coverage maps of New York state and New York City. You can see that all urban areas are well covered, with the only exceptions to the sea of orange being the remote wilderness of Adirondack Park (the largest park in the lower 48 states) and Catskill Mountains. Realistically, you’re unlikely to go that far out of civilisation.
New York City's subway system is the only place you might find dead zones, but a project is already underway to push mobile reception across the entire train network.
So it's safe to say that wherever you go on your trip in New York, you should have fast, stable 4G reception.
The Bottom Line
When traveling to New York, having an unlimited data plan is key. Whether you're using your phone to navigate the city or just want to stay connected with friends and family back home, not having to worry about running out of data is a huge relief.
I've done the hard work comparing various providers on reliability, speed, user experience, and customer support, and Holafly comes out on top.
Now all you need is your sense of adventure… and start packing your suitcase.
DISCOUNT: Save 5% on Holafly's eSIMs with our exclusive code "TRAVELWITHBENDER".